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Day Old Chicks

Raising Chicks with a Mother Hen

After hatching, keep mother hen and chicks in a protected coop and run for 1 or 2 weeks to protect the chicks from cold wet conditions and from predators including other hens. The hen will keep them warm all this time, by nestling over them. She will cluck gently to them, calling them for warmth or food, or to keep them safe when she senses danger.

Newborn chicks have an internal yolk sac that provides their food needs for up to 72 hours. After they hatch you can offer them special chick starter feed, i.e. tiny crumbles of a high protein mix. The hens will need their own feed too of course. If the hens are stealing the chicks’ feed, it can be provided in a screened-off area of the coop that only the chicks can access.

Chicks and hens should have a good supply of fresh easily accessible drinking water at all times, but take care to use only shallow straight-sided dishes, because the chicks can drown very easily.

The chicks are normally left with their mother until they are about 6-8 weeks old, but they can be taken away from about 3 weeks as long as they are kept safe and warm. From 6 weeks of age, the chicks should be fed growers’ meal that has slightly less protein than starter meal.

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White Bantam
It is important that any hen raising chicks has a clean dry quiet sheltered spot for her nest.
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Sawdust, wood shavings, straw and dry leaves make good litter.
Sawdust, wood shavings, straw and dry leaves make good litter.
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Black Rock with Hybrid Bantam Chicks
Black Rock with Hybrid Bantam Chicks
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Chicks under Heatlamp
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