If you have decided to start raising baby chickens, there is a short list of supplies you will need to get started.
An incubator is an artificial method for hatching eggs without a hen. You can read more about how to incubate chicken eggs HERE. Once the eggs hatch, you will also need the following items until they are ready to go outside into a coop (about 8 weeks old):
A brooder is an enclosure to house your chicks. It should be placed in a draft-free area. Farm supply stores sell specialized brooders, but you can also easily make one out of a large tub or box. If you decide to make a brooder for your baby chicks, make sure that it provides enough space for about 1 square foot per chick. They only need about half that space in the first few weeks, so you can always start small and add on later.
3. Heat Lamp
Baby chicks will die if they get too cold. It is very important to keep them warm, and if your brooder doesn’t have a heat source, you will need a 250- watt heat lamp with a metal safety guard. We recommend a red bulb because they are not as bright, and allow the chicks to sleep better.
Be sure to place the heat lamp away from anything flammable. Situate the heat lamp on one side of the brooder so that the chicks can escape the heat if need be. You may need to adjust the height of the lamp depending on the chicks’ behavior. If they are huddled on top of one another directly under the lamp, that means they are too cold and you should lower the lamp. For the first week, the area under the lamp should be 95°F, then decrease that by 5° every week until they are ready to be moved outside.
A basic style waterer is all your chicks will need for the first few weeks and they are very inexpensive at your local feed store. It should have a small trough that the baby chicks can drink from without falling in. We recommend raising the waterer slightly so it is not floor level. (You can place it on top of a small piece of wood) This will help keep bedding and feces out of the water. Clean the waterer daily to keep the chicks disease-free.
5. Food & Feeder
Feeding your chicks is easy with the long chick-sized feeders. They are designed with openings for the chicks to peck through without allowing them to get into the feed walk through it and defecate in it. After several weeks, you can change to a tube-style feeder.
As for their food, you should purchase chick-starter feed at your local farm store. Be sure to follow the feeding recommendations from the chick-starter feed manufacturer.
Just like hens, baby chicks need bedding on the floor beneath them. Bedding soaks up droppings, water, and helps chicks get stable footing. We recommend pine shavings for baby chicks. You may put some newspaper underneath the bedding to make it easy to roll up and dispose of once it is soiled. However, do not start chicks out on newspaper only because it is too slippery for them and they can develop a leg deformation.
List of supplies needed before hatching chicken eggs
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