Chick Care FAQ

Chick Care 101:

Care for newborn chicks:

Set up a brooding area. When raising just a few chicks (30 or less) use a large box with walls at least 18-inches high and place the box in a safe area away from drafts and household pets. Use a screen or a towel to cover the box. For larger numbers, a plastic tub or metal stock tank can used in an enclosed, draft free outbuilding. Chicks need one-half square foot of space for the first two weeks. They grow fast and after two weeks, increase to one square foot per bird.

Keep chicks warm!

Chicks need to be kept in a warm place until they are fully feathered. The temperature at the bottom of the brooding area should be 95-100 degrees for the first two weeks and then reduced 5 degrees each week until chicks are a month old. Use a brooder lamp (we recommend a red bulb) clipped over one side of the brooding area so the chicks can choose whether to be under the light or not. If chicks are crowded together directly under the heat source, then they are cold. If they are around the edges of the brooding area, then they are too hot. Adjust the height of the lamp accordingly and give them enough room to move in and out of the light to regulate their body temperatures.

Bedding for baby chicks:

Provide bedding to catch and absorb chick droppings and change this daily. Line the floor of the box with sheets of newspaper and then cover it with pine shavings. Once soiled, then just roll up the paper, pine shavings and all, and throw it away. If using newspaper, make sure to cover with bedding such as 2-3" of pine shavings, chopped straw, oat hulls or ground cobs (not finely ground), so the surface won't be too slippery for the chicks. Without firm footing their legs will not develop correctly, making them spraddle-legged.

Food and water for baby chicks:

Set out water and chick starter feed in separate containers. (I use Starter Game Bird Feed with 30% Protein and grind it up with a coffee grinder) Keep food and water clean and free of droppings. If chicks are not drinking, dip the chicks' beaks in the water to get them started. Never let the chicks go without water or feed. Once your chicks grow into hens and start laying eggs, you can switch to a Layer feed. 

Picking problems in baby chicks:

Birds between the ages of one and three weeks old, chicks may start picking around the tail stub, wing bow or neck areas. If this happens, make sure there is good ventilation and they have cool areas to retreat if the heat and light become too much. Make sure your chicks have plenty of space to move around.

Safe handling of chicks:

**How to keep chicks cool in the summer heat**

Deep Shade:

Shade is literally the most important thing to battle the heat.  Deep shade means multiple layers upon layers of full shade.  For example, I have a large canopy over my coop and run area, bushes and trees under that, and a layer of cool dirt under the bushes with automated watering system that floods the plants and keeps the earth cool.  This is my chickens favorite place to stay cool during the summer.

Misting Fan:  

In Arizona it is a good investment to have a misting system on a hot day.  I keep my chick brooder under covered patio with the misters on most of the day and it provides air circulation and brings the temp down by several degrees.  


I have an old school sprinkler that I hook up to the hose an turn on 2-3 times a day for 10 minutes. Hens and chicks love to run through the sprinklers and it will soak the ground and cool the area for a short time.  Again I do this several times a day during our hottest months (July and August).

Foot Baths:

Place several small shallow pans of water (I use plastiic plant drainage liners for planter pots) all around the coop and run in shaded areas and fill with cool water from the hose each morning.  If it gets really hot I place some ice or an ice pack in the water to give them extra cool water. 

Cold Treats:

Chilled or frozen Watermelon or fruit from the fridge can be an excellent treat to cool down your chicks on a hot day!   

Cool Bath:

If you see a hen or chick in distress, seems slow, lethargic, wilted comb, bring them inside to cool down and place them in a shallow bath with cool water up to their neck (never fully submerge the chicks face or beak in water as they can get respitory infections easily).  Or you can do this outdoors and with a bucket of cool hose water and create an assembly line to give all of your hens a nice refreshing dunk in the water!  This should immediatly cool down their body temp.  Keep any hens that look to have heat exhaustion indoors with lots of fresh cool water until they are recovered. 

Power Water:

Every once in a while I like to put Chick Electrolytes that you can buy online from most feed stores in their water (or) you can make a homemade version with 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar and 1/4 cup honey in about 1 gallon of water.  This will give them an extra boost to battle the heat and helps keep immunity strong. 


Give your chicks lots of extra protein during the summer, they burn a lot of energy trying to withstand the heat and keep cool. Replenish that with a high protein feed (I use Game Bird feed with 30% protein) and give them extra treats during the summer like dried Grub Flies and Meal Worms, scrambled or hard boiled egg, full fat yogurt.