Choosing a Breed
Raising Chicks
Raising Chicks

Chick Crumble

Chick Feeder with Anti Waste Grid







































Raising Chicks - A Basic Guide


Whilst in the egg and just before hatching the chick will retract what is left of the yolk into their body, so for the first 24 hours chicks do not need food as they will have a reserve of food inside their body.  After 24 hours the best food for chicks is chick crumb which they can be fed up to approx 4 – 5 weeks, at this stage you can mix crumble or layers/growers pellets into the food to eventually wean them onto pellets.

Food Containers

Small chicks from 2 – 10 days can have a small non slip plate or dish that they can climb on/in to. When you first introduce the dish, tap on the dish to encourage them to feed.  Then From 7 – 10 days it is advisable to get a chick feeder, one that has an anti waste grid as chicks love to get into their food container and flick their food out resulting in lots of waste.  If you buy a small feeder you may need to replace it with a bigger one around 5 months as they reach their full adult size.


Small chicks from 1 – 10 days can have a chick drinker or a very small dish with clean stones or marbles in to prevent them falling in and drowning. Ffrom 1 - 10 days old its best to add luke warm water as cold water can reduce the temperature of the chicks quickly. Always ensure that chick have fresh clean water every day.  To prevent water from getting dirty too quickly you can place the water dish/drinker on a platform which can be made out of a small box or box lid, make sure it is something they can easily climb onto that is not slippy. Anti slip matting is very useful with chicks.


Small Chicks need heat from 1 day to approx 8 weeks (depending on the breed and weather).  From day 1 to day 7 they will need to be kept in a brooder at a temperature of 35°C / 95°F.  Then each week the temperature should be reduced by 5°F for the first 5 weeks then by 10 degrees (twice a week) till they are completely off heat, this can be achieved by raising/moving the light/heat source or increasing ventilation. If the weather is particularly cold (freezing) you may need to keep the chicks on low heat till they are upto 5 months.


Chickens and chicks like to do a lot of pooping wherever they go.  Absorbent bedding is always a good idea, this can be wood shavings or shredded straw.  Avoid using things like newspaper that can get slippy and quickly get wet and messy.   It is very important not to let your chicks slip as they can do the splits and permanently damage their legs and hips which often results in death as they cannot walk or feed.  Again anti slip matting is very useful with chicks. Chicks grow fast and as they grow they produce lots of dust, also they love to scratch around in the bedding material which spreads the dust even further.  Often it’s a good idea to keep them in a shed, garage or basement especially if you or your family suffer from respiratory problems.

Pen / Going outdoors

Chicks are best not to go outside until they are completely weaned off heat, when they have grown all their own feathers and when the weather is not too cold for them.  Chicks can get cold much quicker than fully grown chickens.  When you do let them outside ensure there are no tiny holes where they could escape, you would be suprised how they can fit through such a small hole. They should be able to go inside if they want to, so if their coop is separate from their run it’s a good idea to have some sort of housing that they can go into to hide from predators, feel safe, get warm, keep dry, etc… Often in the first couple of weeks chicks are able to easily get outside but often don't understand how to get back inside, particularly if your housing is raised and they have to climb a ramp, so you may need to teach them how to get back in by placing them on the ramp and encouraging them in etc. Its best to do this at dusk, when it is going dark as this is the natural time for them to go indoors to roost. Don't worry if it takes a while, they will eventually get the hang of it.


If you buy your chicks from a reputable breeder they should be parasite free and provided you don’t put them outside till they are almost fully grownthey will usually stay that way.  For that reason I don’t recommend worming until the chicks are fully grown chickens. (see worming a chicken for more information.)


Chicks can get ill too.  If your chicks display unusual behaviour e.g. laying on their back, panting, bleeding from their bottom or generally looking ill, its always best to get it/them looked at by a vet as small chicks will die very quickly.  Small chicks are vulnerable to the cold, bacterial infection or from poor hygiene etc.  Most conditions can be treated successfully with medication some of which can be bought online. (See chicken illnesses for more information.)

Mites & Lice

Chicks and Chickens can easily become very ill from mites or lice and even die.  Mites generally live in the chicken coop in the wood or in the environment and only go onto the bird at night to feed.  Lice live on the bird all the time and lay their eggs on the bird which look like white dandruff stuck to the feathers.  With both lice and mites prevention is important because once the chicks/chickens have them they are very difficult to get rid of.  Be very careful with toxic products and chicks as they can become poisoned.  Its always best to use natural products such as diatomaceous earth, till they are almost fully grown. Sprinkle a small amount onto their bedding each time you clean them out, this is not necessary if you keep them in the house and can result in more dust.


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If you have any questions about raising chicks please email me and I will do my best to help. Contact us


  Disclaimer: All Chipper Chickens information provided on this website is to be used as a guide only.  For the best advice and treatment, especially with illness, we always recommend that you contact your local veterinarian as soon as possible. Chipper Chickens accepts no liability for the care and safety of any animal, property etc.