Chickens,  Pet Care

Must Haves For Baby Chick Set Up

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Spring is coming, and so is baby chick season! I’m going to share what I used last year because I feel like I had good results.

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This was my set up when we got our 12 baby chicks. We had 8 regular size chickens and 4 silkies. Which are of the bantam breeds. I love it. I found it easy to work with and they had enough room to grow until they could be moved outside.

1. Pen

I ordered a soft sided dog play pen. I’m going to link the exact one I used. The size was 52 x 52 x 32. I loved this! I kept them inside on carpet without any real mess. I did put a sheet of plastic under and over extending around the pen bottom for extra carpet safety. This may not be the best set up for a drafty garage.

Click here to get your own

What I love about this pen is it doesn’t let the chicks get over heated ( that’s a risk in plastic tubs), Plenty of fresh air, it has a top, and it’s easy to clean. Watch out for other pens because they don’t all have a bottom that zips off. On this one I could take the chicks out, knock all the bedding to the center, unzip it, fold it up like a taco, and pour it into a trash bag… super easy. Then, when they started getting big enough to jump out, I just zip up the top part. It was easy to run the incubator cord through the top or even through one door. It has a zip up side door on each side.

2. Incubator

These plate heaters take my fire fears away. When I was a kid we did the old light bulb/ heat lamp style. They were scary. I still remember my dad and I visiting the feed store one day. They had troughs with baby chicks and ducks. We weren’t far from them when my dad smelt something burning. He soon discovered the heat lamp had fallen in their trough and was burning their bedding. He quickly dumped their water dish on it and no baby animals were harmed.

That all said, fire is a real fear. I enjoyed having this heat plate incubator. All it really took was watching the chicks some, to know how high to have it. If they never leave from under it, it’s probably too high. If they slept on the out skirts of it, and didn’t go under it too much, probably too low. They have instructions recommending what height based on the chicks age. The one I had was for 1 to 25 chicks. We were well in our limits of enough space.

Click here for the incubator I used.

3. Waters and Feeders

Really the little plastic chick feeders and waters are fine. Make sure your water has the little rim. Chicks can fall in water and drown. I’ve heard of people putting rocks in even the rim waterers. I guess they heard chicks can still drown in them. I never personally have witnessed that, but never say never. Use your best judgement. I personally, like metal and glass to plastic.

Make sure your feeders and waters are the right size for the amount of chicks you have. When in doubt, add more. I always trying to keep two sources of water. Elevate your water off the ground with a brick, I personally, used upside down dinner plates. One way they will get stuff in there, so clean a few times a day.

For food, I really recommend Scratch and Peak, I bought a chick starter kit and followed my chicks along with their products as they grew. I feel like they really provide them with what they need.

4. Bedding and other odds and ins.

Pine shavings are fine for bedding. Make sure its the bigger flakes, so they’re not as likely to eat it when pecking around for food. Your local farm store or pet store would probably be best, but here’s a link if you want to get it online.

This should cover you for your must haves. You can add a few things. Maybe a little shallow bin or cat box, you can put dust/dirt in for dust baths. I used little mini cake dishes to give them treats and grass in. You might want to add some little chick perches.

Baby chicks are so much fun. I love having the experience with my daughter. I really hope this can make the processes easier for someone starting out. This is the set up I’ll continue to use for baby chicks. I just collapse my little soft pet pen and I’m waiting for when we’ll be ready to do it again.