Read tips and instructions for how to set up a brooder (baby chicken house) before bringing the chicks home and make sure to have the basic supplies on hand. They need some pretty intensive care in the beginning. I recommend these sources:
- Do not bother building the chicken stairs in/out of the brooder. They will not use them, they will only poop on them.
- Do not bother giving the chicks tiny furniture. They will not use it appropriately, they will only poop on it.
- Do not bother trying to potty train the chickens using a small plastic toilet from a dollhouse. You guessed it, they will not use it, they will only poop on it. Hey wait!
I love books, so here are my book recommendations:
Free guide from the My Pet Chicken website- also a good source for supplies, coops and chickens. https://www.mypetchicken.com/backyard-chickens/chicken-care/guide-toc.aspx
Backyard Chicken Website with a ton of great information. http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-raise-baby-chicks-the-first-60-days-of-raising-baby-chickens
There are so many more--raising chickens is becoming so much more common that there are just a lot of sources out there. These have just been the ones that I have used and liked.
In addition to all of the information that you read in your source of choice, here are 3 more personal suggestions on the art of raising baby chicks.
A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Chickens by Melissa Caughey. Excellent for kids! Helpful for adults too.
Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow. Thorough, lots of details about chicken keeping in general.
- Start with a large box so you do not have to build the chickens new homes every few days when they grow and learn to fly. Start big, they will grow into it.
- Buy 2 chicken waterers and 2 food dispensers. They are cheap and after washing one out and letting it air dry, you can use the second one right away. The chicks poop so often on everything that you will need to do this quite often.
- Place the chicken brooder far away from anything that has small crevices or is difficult to clean in general.
- Pick up and hold the chicks as often as possible, talk to them and as soon as they will accept treats (dried mealworms are a favorite!), give them treats so they know you are the special Head Chicken.
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