Caring for Young Chicks

Feb 01, 2023

Marissa Eekhoff
Feed Sales Intern

The kids want to raise chicks, what now?

Let’s start with the basics and then dive into the details! There are three main essentials for baby chicks: keep them warm, ensure they have clean water, and start them on a strong feed. It’s important to have the brooder (where you will keep the chicks) set up before you get them home. This will allow them to be put into a good environment from the start. Some basic things you will need to think about would include a draft-free space, a heat lamp, absorbent bedding, good lighting, feeders, and waters. Let’s dig a little deeper!

Water is the most important nutrient for any growing animal and is necessary to help keep your chicks healthy. Providing them with room-temperature water will encourage them to drink. You should have two, one-quart waters for every 25 chicks in your brooder. When your chicks first arrive, place the waters in the brooder for several hours before you offer any feed.  Make sure to keep the waters out from directly under the heat lamps.
Heat Lamps
Heat lamps are essential for keeping your chicks warm. They should be placed in the center of the brooder and should be roughly 20 inches above the bedding. When your chicks first arrive, the temperature under the heat lamp should be 95 degrees. As each week passes you should decrease the heat by 5 degrees.
You should start your chicks on a complete starter feed with at least 18% protein. This is important for supporting their early growth. Purina has four great options, each with have different benefits. They are listed below. You should offer four linear inches of feeder space for each chick. Low-lying feeders are a great option, and egg cartons work perfectly for this.

Chick Feeds carried by Key

The bedding provided for your chicks should be absorbent. Wood shavings roughly three to four inches deep work well and keep the brooder dry and odor free.
For the first week you have your new chicks, it is good to provide 18-22 hours of light. After the first week, you can reduce the light to 16 hours throughout the rest of the growing period.

Chick Days at Key Cooperative

Now that you know how to care for new chicks, you’re all set to place an order! If you would like to avoid the hassle of ordering on your own, you can order chicks through Key Cooperative during Chick Days! We’ll coordinate with Hoover’s Hatchery and let you know when your chicks have arrived.
If you pre-order between February 15 and March 5, 2023, you’ll receive $15.00 off a 50 lb. bag of Purina Chick Starter. You’ll also be entered in a drawing to win a chick-themed gift basket! Pre-ordered chicks will be available for pick up in early April. When you pick up your birds, chick starter supplies including waters, feeders, shavings, heat lamps and feed will be available for purchase. If you have questions about Chick Days, please contact Ceara Smothers or Kelcie Bohning. 

To order, please contact Ceara Smothers (641-260-6179) or Kelcie Bohning  (515-232-6515). 


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