Raising chickens is all the rage lately, and for good reason! Chickens are a great livestock for beginners and experienced homesteaders, and they can be raised in a variety of locations.
Even if you have just a small flock, it can be very rewarding to raise your own baby chicks. While you can purchase hatching eggs or adult birds, many people choose to raise their own baby chicks indoors. This allows you to have more breed options and can help your birds be extra friendly. Here are five tips to help you raise baby chicks indoors.
Get everything set up before you get your birds.
Whether you are getting mail order chicks, or bringing them home from the feed store, it's a good idea to have your brooder set up ahead of time. This allows your brooder to get warm enough, and gives you time to adjust the height of your heat lamp before your baby birds are depending on that heat. You can also get your feeders and waterers set up ahead of time so your baby chicks can settle in quickly.
Start with healthy stock.
When you buy your chicks, pick out the most active and healthy looking birds. Don't pick the small ones in the bunch, or the quietest ones. When my sister and I were kids and picking out fish, she always went for the "cute little one" that she felt sorry for. Needless to say, hers usually died rather quickly. The same principle applies to chickens too. Start with good stock right from the beginning. If you are buying from a hatchery, make sure they have good reviews and customer recommendations.
Keep your chicks nearby.
Brooder heat lamps can (and have!) caused fires, killing the birds and destroying property. By keeping your brooder in an easy to monitor location you can help protect your property and animals. Plus, if it's easy to get to your chicks you will be able to catch any potential health issues before they get serious. It's a good idea to check for things such as pasty butt, and it's a lot easier if you keep them close to you!
Keep the brooder clean.
It's not the most fun part of raising animals, but keeping them clean will prevent a lot of health issues. Chicks can die easily from diseases carried in their droppings, so it's best to clean their brooder frequently. Plus, they can quickly become very smelly! It's especially important to keep their feeders and waterers clean so that they aren't ingesting their own droppings.
Provide some entertainment.
Chicks can get bored and when they get bigger can start pecking at each other. This can cause bigger problems and even lead to cannibalism. Make sure to provide your chicks with enough space as they grow. You can also add weeds with a bit of dirt attached to the roots to give them something to peck and scratch at. Branches are popular too, once they start learning how to hop onto things and roost.
With a little attention to detail, you can have a happy and healthy flock of chickens that you raised yourself! For more on raising chicks and other health issues to watch for, read "New to Raising Chicks? Give Them the Best Care."What is your best tip for successfully raising baby chicks indoors?
Photo by Pixabay/congerdesign