How to Care for Baby Chicks

By Brittany Prock

New baby chicks make their appearance every spring. These chickens are cared for by the mother chicken until they are grown and capable of surviving on their own. Once grown, these chickens will be used as a source of food from their eggs or meat. Raising and caring for baby chicks on your own is a time consuming, yet enjoyable process.

Avoid handling the baby chicks. Baby chicks bone structure is very fragile during the early stages of development. Excessive movement may cause damage to the chick's bones or joints.

Use care when it is necessary to move them for their safety by gently nudging the chick into the palm of your hand and placing the opposite hand on top of it. Hold the chick tight enough to prevent it from wiggling out of your hand. Do not hold it so tight that it causes injury.

Locate a box, cage or aquarium that is appropriate in size to house the chicks. The box should have openings that provide ventilation for the chick's air supply. Place a small amount of straw in the box to make it comfortable.

Hook up a heating lamp over the box or cage, as chicks require the heat in their environment to be 90 degrees. Use a heating pad if you do not have access to a lamp. Place a thermometer inside the box and monitor the temperature often.

Feed your chicks feed that is formulated specifically for baby chicks. Purchase this type of feed from your local farm supply store. You may substitute other food such as instant oatmeal. Keep fresh, clean water with the chicks at all times. Place the water in a very shallow, heavy tray that will not allow the chick to overturn or become submerged.