THE WAY TO HOLD BABY CHICKS
Baby chicks are very delicate and fragile just make sure not to hold and handle them too much. This rule should apply to all of your family members, no matter how big or small. Children, especially, should be taught to handle the chicks extremely carefully. Also, check with your local government, if you are allowed to keep chickens in the backyard. Some cities will only allow hens, as they are less noisy than roosters and don’t make much noise.
Once you are all prepped, go to a good hatchery and buy your chicks. Due to winter travel issues, you won’t get your chicks until the spring. Most of the online hatcheries will only accept orders for 25-50 chickens at one time. But some of the hatcheries may ship as little as 3 chicks at a time. You have to do a proper research on the breed and the food requirements before you get the little chicks.
When the chicks arrive, they will be very stressed out. Try to touch them as little as possible in the first two days, they will be very physically vulnerable. Since they are extremely thirsty when they arrive, it’s important that the waterer is easily accessible inside their coop. The water temperature has to be maintained. You may have to dip the chicks’ beaks and teach them to drink water. Ensure that you don’t drench their feathers since they can get chilled very easily. Also, elevating the waterer on a slab will prevent the chicks from getting wet.
After the initial days are over, you can handle the chicks and socialize with them. Allow them to hop over your hand and introduce all the family members to the new chickens. Talk to them and caress their feathers. In this way, they will get used to you. The new chicks need to be indoors for the first few weeks before going outside.
They need a warming box or a coop that will be big enough for them when they grow. The coop should have lots of space for them to move around and be able to protect them from predators. When the chicks are really small, don’t allow house pets such as dogs to be near them as they can sometimes get too boisterous and injure or kill the chickens without meaning them harm.
The coop must be lined with paper towels, wood shavings, dry leaves or grass, but never use Styrofoam.
The heat lamp should be purchased with a red bulb, as the light it produces is less stressful. In the first week the temperature should be 90 degree F. During the second week, it should be 80 degree F and in the third week—70-75 degree F. this will give the little chicks a chance to self regulate their body temperature. Place a thermometer, so you can be sure that the chicks are getting adequate warmth. Don’t let the chickens stay in an area where there is a direct draft, as this will harm them.