Caring for and handling the chicks correctly are one and the same. The little chicks will be extremely fragile at this stage and shouldn’t be handled a whole lot. If they seem dirty, don’t give them a bath, as this will kill them at this underdeveloped stage. If you must handle them, then ensure that they are held firmly, but gently. In order to do this, you should slip your hand under the tummy of the chick and cover the chick with the other hand, almost as trying to hold a handful of water between your palms.
Just like other farm animals and pets, chicks need water. You would need to give them fresh clean water. It must be kept in their bowl at all times. Check it from time to time to make sure that the water is clean and there is enough of it for the chicks to drink. A low bowl can be found at any farm or pet shop and should be pretty heavy duty so that it doesn’t topple over.
Chick starter feed is available at all pet shops and shops selling supplies for chicken and poultry. If you don’t have chick starter feed, then you could feed them instant oatmeal, flaked infant cereal, whole grain cereals etc. All of these can be put in a blender and then churned. Don’t grind the ingredients to a powder or paste. Let them remain grainy. This chicken feed for the baby chickens should have some grain part. Leave the food with them at all times so that they can get their little tummies full. They will stop eating once they are full.
Clean out their box at least once a day and make sure they are warm and rested at all times. Remember that the feeder and the feed should be in place before you get the little chicks. If you haven’t prepared, then you will have to get things organized really fast.
For food, you can go to the nearest feed shop. Some pet shops will also have food for little chicks. Get the chick starter feed to begin with. The quantity will depend on the number of chicks that you have. A five-pound bag should be fine in the beginning. You will also need grit and separate bowls for the food and water.
A warming box is also a necessity for your baby chicks. You can buy these boxes online or in stores, but can also build them yourself. An old sturdy wooden box or a card box will do fine. Hang a bulb with a wire mesh around it to keep the chicks warm. Have some holes on the top of the sides of the box to allow them to breathe.
The warming box should also be lined with dry leaves, sawdust or shredded paper. This provides the chickens with coziness and also keeps them safe. The little chicks love to play around in this environment as well.
The feeder and the water container should be placed on a cement block and should stay on a firm surface. Otherwise they will get knocked over by the scurrying chicks. Special-made containers with tops can be bought from the pet store.
If you have lots of dry leaves, then you should keep adding them as they become compact. The dry leaves can absorb all of the chick poop and you won’t have to empty out the box as often. Throw the grit in regularly and all of the chicks will be able to find it quite easily.