Tips for New Chick Owners

Bringing your chicks home
  • Have a brooder, a first home, for your baby chicks that is warm, draft free and has about 1/2 to 1 square foot of space per chick.
  • Prepare your brooder with 3-4 inches of bedding that is absorbent and odor free. Tip: pine wood shavings or chopped straw work best.
  • Use a heat lamp to keep temperatures between 92-95 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep heat lamps securely fastened to prevent them from falling and lighting the bedding on fire.
Caring for your chicks
  • Clean, fresh water should be provided daily, away from the heat lamp. Tip: use a shallow waterer.
  • Fresh chick starter feed that protects against coccidiosis should be provided near the water.
  • Decrease the temperature 5 F each week until it reaches a minimum of 55 F.
  • Change and refresh your chicks’ bedding daily. Tip: dedicate one pair of shoes for this task.
  • Remind visitors that your chicks are VERY fragile!
Cleanliness
Always wash your hands before and after you interact with your chicks! Salmonella, a bacteria that can make people sick, can spread from your baby chicks to you, so don’t kiss them or touch them to your face.
Get involved
  • Michigan State University (MSU) Extension has many hands-on opportunities for youth (5-19 yrs. old) to learn more about poultry through 4-H.
  • Contact your local MSU Extension office to find out about programs in your area. Visit 4h.msue.msu.edu to explore opportunities, msue.anr.msu.edu/county to find your county office or call 888-678-3464.
  • Sign-up for the MSU Extension Poultry Newsletter to get poultry-related news and events delivered right to your inbox. To subscribe, text “MSUE” to 22828 or visit msue.msu.edu and click on “Newsletter Sign-Up.” 
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