Keeping Your Chicks

Your chicks are approx ten days old. They are unsexed so there is a 50% chance they will be either a hen or a rooster.

They may be carried home from the kindy in any kind of empty box. Make sure there are air holes if no opening is present already.

At this stage the chicks will have begun developing feathers on their tail and wings but they will still need heat for warmth to keep them alive. A box with a light globe is a good heat source. Alternatively you could also use a hot water bottle and/or rags for warmth in the box. The box needs to be indoors, (a garage is fine) but it must be warm and away from any drafts. Always ensure your set up is safe and won't become a fire hazard if you are using light globes.

If the chicks 'peep' a lot during the night it means they are cold, so you will need to increase the bulb wattage or check the room temperature. You may need to move the chicks to a warmer room.

The chicks will huddle and sleep together for company as well as warmth.

The floor of your box can be covered with newspaper, wood shavings, sawdust or sand. The wood shavings absorb the droppings better but are more costly. They can be purchased from a pet shop.

As the chicks develop and their feathers grow, the heat from the light globe becomes less important. It is recommended that you use the globe for up to 6 weeks depending on the temperature and seasonal conditions in your area.

At approximately 6-8 weeks, providing feathers are covering all of their body, the pullets can be moved to an outdoor chicken enclosure with an outdoor perch for them to roost on at night.

The chicken food is called 'chicken crumble' and can be purchased at most pet shops. This will be the chick's main diet. A variety of scraps can be chopped up to supplement their diet. Green vegetables should be offered in small amounts so as not to cause a diarrhoea effect.

A self-feeding bowl purchased from a pet shop is ideal for the chicks' water and feed.

For further information on chick rearing and poultry keeping in your backyard consult your local library or bookshop.

It should be pointed out that very soon (within 3-4 weeks) your chicks will be quite large and may not be so cute. There is a 50/50 chance that your chick will be a rooster and noisy at that. Chicks R Us can't emphasise enough that chicks are living creatures and if they go home they will need special care and treatment for their survival.

Sexing Chicks
There is no difference in the visual appearances between the male and female chicken.
Sexing chicks is a specialist profession.
The genitals are internal.
* Both sexes appear the same until the differing traits become apparent. You will not know for about 4 weeks until the chick moves into the next stage of development being a 'pullet' if it is a rooster or a hen.

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to Point of Lay Hens.
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call 02 962 02 555

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