Chickens are amazing, sweet and loving creatures who can be a wonderful companion to both children and adults. However, when adopting chickens, taking care of them properly is essential to keep them active and healthy.
To raise healthy chicks, ensure that you keep them in a clean dry place that will protect them from extreme temperatures and have a lamp to warm up the place. If you have a big chicken house, separate the chicks from their mothers to prevent them from being trampled or pecked by other chickens. If you are raising numerous chicks, it is recommended that you have a separate house for them. However, if you have few, they can be put in a small box that can be placed in a separate room or a garage. No matter what place you choose to keep your chicks, ensure that the space chosen keeps you chicks protected from other birds and animals.
However, if you cannot provide your chicks with a special house, use a sturdy box to keep them. Always use wood shaving or layers of newspaper on the floor of the box before laying the chicks in them. Additionally, to maintain cleanliness and prevent your chicks from getting any disease, change the wood shaving or remove the top sheets of the newspaper every day.
Another essential requirement for raising chicks is a heat lamp. Hang a 60 Watt bulb that is raised about 18 inches from the chicks near the corner of the box. If the lamp is hung lower, wrap the lamp with a piece of cloth to control temperature. A excellent way to find out if the temperature is suitable is when the chicks assemble beneath the lamp when they roost. If the temperature is strong for the chicks, they will tend to disperse inside the box and move away from the lamp.
In addition, always remember to adjust the height of the heat lamp two inches higher every week to keep the chicks away from the heat. After a fortnight, although the chicks may still require extra heat, it is advisable that you reduce the burning time of the lamp especially if the temperature is hot and humid outside.
When chicks begin to outgrow the box, it is essential that you provide them additional accommodation and have a lamp within the space. This will allow them to cuddle together to receive some heat during cold times or at times when they need it. However, the lamp can also be turned off to get them accustomed to a normal temperature outside.
Providing your chicks with clean drinking water is another essential requirement for raising healthy chicks. However, since chicks usually tend to topple the water pan by scratching or stepping inside it, drop some stones inside the ballast to prevent the wood shavings or newspaper from getting wet. Change water and food in the hopper on a routine basis and keep is clean from the droppings.
Additionally, add mineral and vitamins in the water during the first week. This will increase their resistance power to disease, helping them stay healthy. For food, feed the chicks with crumbs added to the starter mash.