Raising Baby Chicks – Top 5 Chicken Supplies

You just couldn’t resist buying baby chicks, could ya?

Well, good news! I can’t blame ya- not one bit! We order baby chicks multiple times a year- twice for meat (Spring and Fall) and once for eggs (Spring). We like to have a mixed flock of various breeds of chickens and ducks. That way we can reap all the benefits of backyard poultry keeping :). You know-  the benefits of having gray, black, green, brown, pink, and white eggs. Yep. Those benefits. ;).

So needless to say- we are constantly raising baby chicks on the homestead- so naturally we are experts, right? Right. And totally kidding.

We are far from experts.

If this is your first time buying and raising baby chicks then you may be wondering what chicken supplies you need, in order to raise these baby chicks into your beautiful backyard flock {or your meat flock}. Whatever the case and reason may be- you obviously need chicken supplies. We are far from being raising baby chick experts, but I remember the very first time we purchased baby chicks. It felt amazing knowing that I was going to be able to supply my family with truly cage-free pastured eggs- right from our little farm– otherwise known as our backyard. But, after purchasing the chicks for the first time, I needed to know what chicken supplies I needed to raise those baby chicks. So, I did what any respectable girl would do and turned to google.

And so it began.  I started feeling very overwhelmed reading all the chicken supplies that various google search results said that I needed. I seriously began to think that maybe I had  made a mistake. That raising baby chicks into chickens was going to be a complicated process that involved lots of money and many supplies. I guess you can say that it felt like becoming a parent for the first time. You know- when you absolutely HAVE to have every.single.item on that baby registry list {scoff scoff- not like I did that}. 😉 Okay. I did do that. But only for the first. I knew better by the time I had my second and third kiddos. And that’s how it was with our chickens.

Top 5 Chicken Supplies for Raising Baby Chicks

1. Housing (Brooder/Coop)

Babys chicks will need something to live in. There really are a plethora of options out there for this supply- such as: a rubbermaid tote, a plastic kid pool with cardboard (click here to see it-costs under $10 to make), or a pay-alot-of-money type brooder. I prefer a cheaper option since the chicks will only be in the brooder for 2-6 weeks (depending on breed).

What’s awesome about the brooder is that you still have a few weeks to get the coop built (or bought)- if you haven’t done it yet! When we order our baby chicks in the Spring we always use a brooder and keep them in the house the first couple weeks because it is cold outside in March! However, when we order our Fall meat chickens we just put them straight into the coop because it is still on the warmer side outside. Whatever option you decide on will be fine- just make sure you have a brooder/coop for them!

2. Bedding

Your baby chicks will need some bedding in their brooder/coop. Again, there are many different options that you can use. We have used straw, hay, grass clippings, and pine shavings. All have worked well for us. Some people say not to use one or the other, but honestly we haven’t had a problem with any of them. I say find what is the cheapest and use that!

I am sure we will stick with straw because it is so cheap in these parts. You can find straw, hay, and pine shavings at your local feed store, Tractor Supply, or even Ace Hardware. A bag of pine shavings covers roughly 8 cubic feet and is around $5 (make sure you get the flake and not the fine). That big ol’ bale of straw in the picture above was $4.50- and that will cover about a bajillion square feet- so obviously we go with the straw. ;).

3. Heat Lamps

Baby chicks like to stay warm and they need a heat lamp to do this until their feathers grow in. You will need to purchase a heat lamp with a clamp on it. They also make two different size lamps- we prefer the 10.5 inch lamp over the 8.5 inch. You will also need a heat bulb to use in the heat lamp. They sell red and white bulbs- but the best for baby chicks is a red bulb. Why? Because it is “darker” and lets the chicks get some rest and also keeps them from pecking at each other.

As with anything that heat ups, you must use caution with heat lamps. They can get very hot, so use caution if they will be used in your home around small children or animals.

We Buy/Have:

4. Waterer/Feeder

Baby chicks are NOT clean animals. Heck- grown chickens aren’t either ;). They need a waterer and a feeder. There are many types and sizes available.

You will want to make sure the food and water isn’t just “open” inside the brooder. The baby chicks can drown in open water and they will poop in the food (and water). We usually start with bigger waterers and feeders instead of buying smaller ones because the chickens will outgrow the small ones- why pay for something twice, y’all? Don’t do it! We have and it was a waste of money.

We Buy/Have:

Food and Water

Baby chicks will need a special kind of food to start out with. It is usually called ‘chick starter’. Chick starter comes in two types: medicated and non-medicated. We always choose the non-medicated because we choose to raise our chicks/chickens ‘au-naturel.’

There are many brands of chicken feed out there. Most of the commercial feeds are chalk full of GMOs and other type of make-me-want-to-cry things. I’ll admit it though, when we started out, we used commercial feed. We try to buy local homemade feed that farmers make in our area, but it isn’t always available. If you are looking for an organic-corn and soy free chicken feed Scratch and Peck Feeds is a great option. Water is obviously a necessity for baby chicks.

When our chicks arrive (we have them shipped)- I make them a double batch of my Homemade Pedialyte to put into their waterers. It’s cheap, easy, and it provides the baby chicks with electrolytes that they desperately need if they were shipped to you in the mail. That’s it folks!

Enjoy raising baby chicks!

-Jen

Heads up: while I always try to do my research for my articles, these are for entertainment purposes only. If you are reading this for the purpose of making major financial or life decisions, please consult a professional before doing so. By reading and using my website, you are agreeing to my terms and conditions. Thanks y’all!

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