Shortly after moving into our house I knew that I wanted, no needed chickens. So I ordered my girls in December with an April delivery date and I just could not wait! Weeks prior to their arrival I went to the local feed store and stocked up on all the supplies that I would need. You can find my complete list of must haves here. There is so much excitement around getting your first flock that you think of all the ups and not the downs of getting baby chickens.
So when the girls arrived I had their living quarters all set up and ready to go in the basement. I find that in the very beginning it was just easier to place them in a cardboard box with some newspaper layed down-easy to clean, no muss no fuss. In no time at all though you’ll find that orginal box just won’t do anymore. After awhile, even with newspaper, it just gets plain nasty and then there’s that fact that the baby chicks have grown significantly. I used an old pack and play until the day that they moved outside. Trust me the day they move out doesn’t come soon enough!
Their Hot and Their Cold
One issue I always seemed to have was trying to get the temperature just right. At first it was too warm and then after adjusting the brooder lamp an hour later I’d find that it was too cold. I used a digitial thermostat that I kept directly under the light so I’d have an accurate reading on the warmest part of the brooder. I was always checking the temp in the brooder because I was also raising keets with the chicks and they seem to be more sensitive to the temperatures.
Please make sure that you are willing and able to give the much needed attention to the baby chicks. Especially in the beginning you HAVE to check on them multiple times a day. There is water and feed to tend to, bedding to change and lets not forget you must check their vent holes to make sure they aren’t getting blocked by dried up poop. I had this one bantam baby chick that everyday for the first two weeks I had to run her butt under warm water and gently use a paper towel to get the dried feces off of it.
The sad truth is no matter how much you clean the baby chickens just dirty everything up in no time. It’s just something you have to accept. I felt like I was always cleaning out their brooder, especially when they grew. After a few weeks of age I stopped using the newspaper and put pine shavings down and tried to scoop the poop with a kitty litter scooper which seemed to help. So when thinking of where the baby chickens will live inside, pick a place where your ok with a little mess.
Prior to ever getting chickens I’ve read just about everything about them so I’d be better prepared just in case the unexpected happen to me. Plus when you do anticipated things to happen, when they do it’s not such a big deal because your prepared. I believe that if you really want chickens don’t let the little things get in the way of getting them.