Complete Guide To Raising Your Chicks!
PSA: For a comprehensive bundle to start, checkout our chick starting bundle which includes food, bedding and supplements! Just about what you need to raise them well for the first few months!
Raising healthy chicks requires proper planning and care. If you're thinking of getting your first chicks, or have already adopted some, these tips can help you provide the best possible care for your feathered friends.
Do your due diligence on finding out the suitable breed, especially for your own housing type and space you can provide.
Choose the right breed for your needs and living space. Consider whether you want a layer breed for eggs or an ornamental breed for aesthetics. Also, consider whether you and your neighbors can handle the noise of a rooster, and have a plan in place for excess roosters (e.g., slaughtering or giving them away) You can mitigate sound with the right cover, coop and crow collars.
Do you want to get a layer breed for eggs, or ornamental breed more for looks and cuteness?
Layer breeds weigh anywhere from 2-6KG, while most ornamental breeds weigh about a KG or less (Silkies, Polish, Cochins, Seramas, Sebrights and normal bantams are some of the commonly available breeds in Singapore)
Have the necessary time and resources to care for your chicks. This includes providing a clean and safe living environment, as well as a balanced diet and access to clean water.
Some people also prefer incubating eggs and not just adopting a chick, you can get a branded quality incubator from Asby.com.sg or Amazon UK or a Chinese made one from Taobao/Ezbuy/Aliexpress (Do note quality and hatchrate differs along with pricing!)
Supermarket eggs are NOT viable. Unless you've incredible luck cos usually commercial farms do not have roosters with the hens.
Adopt at least two chicks, as they are social creatures and will be less stressed with a companion.
Adoption Tip: Get 2 or more chicks. Chickens are social creatures, especially chicks, and will cry plenty aside from being stressed. Trust us.. the noise can be pretty loud for a small chick and throughout the night, not really bearable!
Keep chicks indoors for the first two months to protect them from the elements and harmful bacteria. Use a flat, slip-resistant surface for the chicks to stand on to prevent splayed legs, and provide heat as needed (especially for the first few days).
Housing: Here's our guide to the various ways you can house your chicks and chickens as they grow older.
We use both toyogo/ikea tubs and bunny cages. (Product Links in housing guide!)
Most importantly - the base MUST be flat, for young chicks.
Key Tip: Keep them indoors for the first 2 months ideally.
- Reduces exposure to weather
- Reduces exposure to bacteria, especially when their immune system have not been strengthened.
Bedding: You can use kitchen paper, especially for the first week, and transitioning to wood shavings or newspaper or pee pads. Changing bedding depends on type, space and bioload of the chicks. Can be anywhere from daily to weekly.
Bathing/Hygiene: Bathing is a NO NO for young chicks, leaving them vulnerable and catch a cold. If they do get wet, do dry them gently with towels and hairdryer. Bathing is more suitable for chickens 3 months and onwards, you can follow our bathing guide here.
Usually more necessary for the first 3 days. If you're adopting a chick, do try to get them at least 5-7 days old. Responsible breeders won't let them go too young when they have not stabilized. Quail chicks which are smaller tend to require more heat for a longer period.
You can use Heat Lamps (Red light or Ceremic bulbs usually meant for Reptiles, 50W or under) or chick brooders which are safer (less fire risk) from Asby.com.sg or Amazon (UK one has 3 pin plugs). Do adjust distance as necessary, so you do not end up cooking your chicks!
Lukewarm feeling with back of your hand would be a good gauge.
Provide a constant 24/7 source of food and water, using small dishes or bowls and keeping them away from the bedding to prevent contamination. As the chicks grow, upgrade to feeder and waterer systems to make feeding and watering easier.
You can use small jars/dishes or little bowls from Daiso.
As they grow older, you can get various feeder/waterers from Shopee/Lazada or Taobao.
You can also add marbles or tie rubberbands around the small water bowl, to prevent the chick from playing with the water or getting wet/falling in.
For food, do check out the various chick feeds we have here from Versele Laga.
Medicated Feed is an option we carry, for those more cautious. The Show Chick Crumbles is medicated and high protein of 23%. Optimal for beauty, growth and health.
We have multiple chick food products here, which all works great in raising your chicks.
Adding Black Soldier Fly powder to about 10% of diet is a great way to boost protein intake, and beautify their plumage. This has helped with silkies feathers to make them extra fluffy i feel.
For water, plain water will do. You can optionally add Multivitamins or Electrolytes to supplement their nutrition.
- Bonding: Spending plenty of time with them along with feeding treats tends to do the trick. However, time spent with holding them shouldn't be too long for younger chicks as it can be stressful. As they grow older, spending more time is great.
Sexing and Sexing Methods: Depending on breed, chicks might be difficult to sex. Some breeds can be guessed more easily from 2 months, while others are notoriously difficult to sex such as silkies, where even 4-5 months might not be obvious.
Traits such as crowing/comb/ aggressive chest bumping are some ways to tell if it's a rooster.
DNA Sexing which costs $25-30, is the only accurate method. Takes a couple of weeks for results. Please do not unethically sex your chicks and sell them as unsexed after you know their gender.
Other traditional methods can include Vent Sexing, Pendulum Sexing, Behavioural sexing. All which can't be said to be accurate, although Vent Sexing if done right by an expert can be accurate.
Patience is usually the more affordable option. It's a fun journey to raise and guess their sexes!
- As the chicks mature, provide a larger living space and consider getting a coop or chicken run for added protection.
By following these tips, you can give your chicks the best start in life and raise healthy, happy chickens.