4 Ways to Raise Chicks

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4 Ways to Raise Chicks
4 Ways to Raise Chicks
Anonim

Breeding chicks is a very rewarding experience as we see birds go from fluffy feather balls to majestic and fertile chickens (or roosters). Plus, they make excellent pets - although they do take a bit of work. If you are interested in the subject, read this article and learn how to use the correct techniques and methods to take care of these animals.

Steps

Method 1 of 4: What to Consider Before You Begin

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Step 1. Find out if you are able to raise chicks

While raising these pets is rewarding, it's not something a person can decide to do without any preparation. First of all, you need to think hard about why you want to take care of these animals - as well as whether you have the time, money and space needed.

  • In terms of expenses, chicks are cheaper than most other animals. The downside is that they need a lot of feed and can incur more veterinary expenses (if they have any health problems). Finally, you'll also have to invest in a brooder or chicken coop if it's your first time.
  • Taking care of chicks doesn't take as much time, but you'll have to feed them and water them every day, clean the brooder or chicken coop frequently (including faeces) and collect eggs from the animals that start to produce. Also, someone will always have to be around to take care of them in case you become unavailable. Finally, buy or build nests in boxes to make your life easier when it comes to catching the eggs that the hens lay.
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Step 2. Find out if there are any legal restrictions on raising chicks and hens in your area

It sounds silly, but some places (condominiums or neighborhoods, for example) have specific limitations and rules related to raising chicks, roosters and hens. This happens because of a number of factors, such as the noise they make (especially at night and late in the morning).

Even if your area does not prohibit the raising of chicks, roosters and hens, find out if there are any limitations in terms of the number of animals per property where you live

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Step 3. Buy at least three to six chicks

Chickens are very sociable animals and enjoy company. So start by buying anywhere from three to six chicks - and be prepared for one or two of them to be attacked by predators or have serious health problems.

Each hen usually lays five or six eggs a week, which would be about two dozen for a chicken coop with four animals

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Step 4. Choose the breed of chicks

You should choose the breed of chicks according to characteristics such as temperament, egg production (including size and color), climate adaptability, aesthetic value, meat quality and the like.

  • Choose a laying breed, such as australorp or leghorn, if you want to produce a lot of eggs.
  • Breeds like orpington, wyandotte and plymouth rock are also layers and have quality meat, but they produce better eggs than breeds like cornish (which are bred more for the meat itself).
  • Search more about chicken breeds on the internet. There are several common and recommended options for those just starting out, like the ones mentioned above. Just be careful not to buy animals of different breeds that don't get along.
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Step 5. Decide where you are going to buy the chicks

Any agricultural product store sells young chicks, many with a little more than one day old. You can also order animals online, but you'll probably need to buy a larger quantity to justify shipping (and even reduce the number of losses during transport). Choose the best option for your case according to your intentions and preferences.

  • Buy chicks in spring. It is more difficult to take care of them in the coldest times or when the weather is unstable and extreme, such as autumn, summer and winter.
  • If you want to start with just three or four chicks, head to local farmer stores and see what they have to offer or talk to professional farmers and breeders.
  • If possible, make it clear that you only want females. Male chicks get noisy and aggressive when they grow up, which is not recommended for the inexperienced. In addition, hens lay eggs with better quality when they are alone.
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Step 6. Organize the space and necessary equipment beforehand

The first structure the chicks need is a brooder, which can be kept indoors and is used to protect themselves. When they are a little older and ready to be out and about, they will need a chicken coop that is also safe and well built. In more adult stages, many roosters and hens begin to "attack" each other's feathers, drawing blood - and, in extreme cases, leading to death. To prevent this from happening, you can buy a chicken coop that has a red light and helps to distract the animals.

Don't worry: adult chickens don't need all that farm or farm space. It is even more common to see people raising these animals in houses in the city. Anyway, it is still recommended that you have a green space at home for them to stay loose

Method 2 of 4: Taking care of chicks less than two months old

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Step 1. Prepare a brooder with an internal lamp

The first structure where chicks live is the brooder. You can buy the material at any agricultural product store, use cardboard or plastic boxes or even improvise with cages for other animals, such as rabbits (if this step in the process won't take long).

  • Place the brooder indoors, in a place where there is no wind. Chicks cannot be cold at this stage of life.
  • The size of the brooder is not that important as long as the chicks are not huddled together and there is space for the feeder and drinker. Also, the walls should be high enough to prevent the animals from jumping out when they are a little bigger.
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Step 2. Use the right material as fodder

You need to line the bottom of the brooder with a layer of some clean, hygienic material such as sawdust or tree bark. You can even use sheets of newspaper, but they are not recommended because the ink can end up leaking and staining the paws of the animals. Also, change the forage every other day or whenever it gets wet. And be careful not to use anything that is harmful to the chicks, such as certain types of plants that cause allergies and even pneumonia.

It is imperative to raise chicks in a clean, well-kept environment as they are exposed to many possible health problems when not given proper attention

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Step 3. Monitor the brooder temperature frequently

Buy a lamp with a reflector that heats the brooder and chicks. Regular 100-watt light bulbs work too, but most people prefer heat lamps. Also put a thermometer in the brooder and see if it stays between 32 and 38 °C the first week (even if this value drops slightly in the following weeks).

  • The temperature even affects the behavior of the chicks: if they become breathless or isolated in the corners of the brooder, the lamp is too hot; if they're bunched up under it, it's too cold.
  • If you need to change the temperature, adjust the lamp distance or even change the accessory a few times.
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Step 4. Give the chicks plenty of feed and water

You can purchase special chick food while the animals are in the early stages of life. It is sold in two versions, medicated and non-medicated, and is made to support their development. The medicated version is enough to feed the animals. Also, always make sure there is fresh, clean water in the brooder at all times and change the liquid once or twice a day to avoid contamination.

  • You can buy a drinking fountain or even improvise some kind of clean water dispenser for the chicks all the time. Any deeper object will do as long as there is no risk of it getting dirty with faeces.
  • The same goes for the feed, as chicks tend to "spread" the product and make a mess. Again, use a feeder or improvise with any deeper object (and preferably galvanized steel).
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Step 5. Play with the chicks

Chicks are curious creatures! You and they need to spend time together until you cultivate a trusting relationship. In a way, these animals are similar to dogs: they love to jump, run, play and so on. Take them out into the yard after a week or two and explore the grass and corners of the house for shorter periods (provided the weather is warmer). Just keep an eye out for cats and other predators!

  • The ration is more than enough for the chicks, but you can give them a few snacks from time to time. After a week or two, start giving worms or backyard insects. Just do not give fruits and vegetables, as they create the risk of causing diarrhea (which, in turn, can lead to death). Finally, clean the animals' cloaca area with a napkin and warm water to prevent stool remains from building up scabs and causing infections.
  • You can install a lower perch on the brooder after about a month. The chicks will start jumping and even sleeping in it. Just don't put it right below the hot lamp.
  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap after touching the chicks.
  • Pay close attention if the chicks are near older roosters and hens. They are fragile!

Method 3 of 4: Taking Care of Chicks Over Two Months Old

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Step 1. Transfer the chicks to an outside chicken house

When the chicks are about two months old, transfer them all to a hen house that is outside the house - as long as it's not too cold a time of year. For this, you can buy the ready-made structure or build one at home. It serves to shelter animals from gusts of wind and predators, in addition to protecting them from extreme heat and cold. Take several factors into consideration when choosing a chicken coop:

  • locomotion space: The hen house must have enough space for the chicks (and later the roosters and hens) to explore at will. In terms of size, a 1.2 x 2.4 m structure is more than enough for between three and five animals.
  • high perch: You can even build or install open perches, but the most ideal is to install a raised structure that is protected. Like most other birds, chickens like to roost and even sleep on high points by instinct. Think of something 5 cm thick and 20 to 25 cm long for each animal.
  • nests in boxes: every chicken coop needs to have protected nests. They don't have to be so spacious: something 30 x 30 x 30 cm will do. Install one box for each pair of chickens and line the structure with straw or wood husks.
  • Cleaning: Clean the henhouse every four months, but change the forage in the nests every week and a half.
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Step 2. Protect chicks from predators

One of the main functions of the chicken coop is to protect the chicks from predators. Don't be foolish, as any cat or dog that manages to get close will devour your animals. Install a strong wire mesh with no more than 2.5 cm holes around the entire frame. Take a look at it every now and then and see if everything is intact or if it needs to be repaired.

The wire mesh should be buried in the earth for about 15 cm, as many predators are able to dig under the chicken coop

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Step 3. Change the feed and give the chicks snacks

When the chicks are two months old, you can exchange their ration for another special type, made for older chickens. From then on, it's also worth giving snacks with what's left of your kitchen and garden plants (as long as there are no pesticides in them).

  • You can also place a bowl of coarser sand in the chicken coop. As chickens (of any age) do not have teeth, they use the substance to digest what they eat.
  • You can also give the chickens an oyster shell supplement to meet their calcium needs. Thus, they will produce more resistant eggs.
  • Use a quality feeder, in addition to cleaning the structure and making sure the feed is not dry or moldy often.
  • Give the chicks and hens plenty of fresh, clean water. You can buy bigger drinking fountains and they even heat the water so you don't have to put more of the liquid in them so often.
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Step 4. Interact with chicks, hens and roosters

Chickens love to interact with people. So, give your animals names, pet the feathers and talk to them! Depending on the case, you can even teach them how to respond to your calls. This also depends a little on the breed, but above all on the level of attention the chickens receive.

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Step 5. Understand when chickens start laying eggs

Younger female chickens, known as pullets, start laying eggs between 20 and 24 weeks of age. At this stage, they lay five or six eggs a week.

  • Hens lay eggs for most of the year, as long as they have access to plenty of light and the temperature is not extreme. You may have to collect eggs once or even twice a day. The larger the animal, the greater the production.
  • Although many chickens lay eggs throughout their lives (anywhere between eight and ten years), production drops slightly after three or five years.

Method 4 of 4: Reasons to Raise Chicks and Hens

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Step 1. Chickens lay fresh eggs

The main advantage of raising chickens is that you have a constant production of eggs, which are fresher and more flavorful than those sold in supermarkets - because you can, for example, control what the animals eat.

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Step 2. Chickens generate compost

Chickens are excellent producers of fertilizer not only through faeces, but also from leftover feed, plants, insects and the like.

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Step 3. Chickens help control insects and other pests

Chicks and chickens eat almost every insect that passes by, as well as rats, small fish and even snakes. In addition, they scratch and nibble on plants and help to control the presence of weeds.

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Step 4. Chickens are very fun animals

Tracking the entire development of the animal, from the chick's fluffy stage to adulthood, is a very fun process. And did you know that each animal has its own personality? Not to mention that some breeds are as beautiful as other birds considered more interesting!

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Step 5. Chickens generate food

Chickens don't just produce eggs: they produce meat (how new!). You can, for example, use the younger animals to produce more eggs and the older ones to turn into chicken, broth and the like. It sounds cruel, but that's how things work in the agricultural world. In the case of roosters, you can eat their meat within five or six months.

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Step 6. Chickens make excellent pets

As stated above, they are sociable and make beautiful pets, especially for those who hatch them on their own. You can even teach the chick to climb into your lap, eat feed from your hand, cluck when someone comes home, and so on.

Tips

  • If you notice faeces remains trapped in the chick's sewer, wipe the area with a warm napkin or disposable handkerchief. This can even save the lives of the animals, as it protects their digestive tracts.
  • As a last resort, you can give your chicks oats to eat.
  • Feed your older animals with feed and other products. The options go far beyond crushed corn: some chicks like yogurt, bread crumbs and so on! Just don't give up the ration altogether.
  • Start raising chicks in spring, which is the warmest season of the year.

Notices

  • Do not put a young chick in a chicken coop with more developed animals until it grows and cackles like the others. Otherwise, adults they go attack the poor guy.
  • Install a heat lamp inside the brooder so the chicks don't freeze to death. Her temperature replaces the physical contact the puppy would have with its mother.

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