How to Raise a Chicken
Raising chickens is an up and coming past time these days for many people. Some want to get back to a more natural lifestyle, some see the good sense in gathering ones own eggs, and others just know what a great pet a chicken can make.
If you are starting with a day old chick, the yolk sack will keep him going for the first 3 days of his life. This gives him time to learn to eat and drink. You will need to provide him with a warm, small enclosure. A 10 gallon aquarium works well as a brooder for 1-5 chicks at first.
If you give them too much space they won’t be able to find their food and water. They need to be kept at 95-99 degrees for the first week of life. You can gradually decrease the temperature 5 degrees at a time each week until you get down to 75 degrees at about 4-5 weeks old.
Many people use a light bulb for heat but an infrared heat lamp works best. They will need warmth and protection from chills until they get fully feathered at about 6 weeks old. Use a good thermometer to check the temperature of the bedding directly beneath the heat source.
Supplies for new chicks:
Heat lamp or bulb
Newspaper for the brooder floor
Baby chick sized water vessel
Chick starter feed and feeder
Use the Pedialyte (water with electrolytes) for the first few days instead of water. This will help stabilize the babies, especially if they have traveled from a hatchery, and will decrease your chick loss. If you have ordered baby chicks from a hatchery and they were shipped to you, the first thing you must do is hydrate them.
It is a lot of fun to watch your little puff ball turn into a real chicken. This makes a great family project and an excellent science project for early learners, too.