Tag Archives: housing baby chicks

Raising Chicks My Way

April has pros and cons for raising chicks. A big pro is having the pullets start laying in the fall and continuing through the winter. A big con is the weather.

This year my chicks were to arrive on a Wednesday. It was a nice warm spring day. Perfect for settling new chicks in.

The chicks were delayed. The weather turned cold. They arrived huddled in the box trying to keep warm. Their new quarters weren’t warm enough. Keeping them warm is critical to raising chicks.

cage for raising chicks
This cage is a bit small for 22 chicks. However it is easy to surround with cardboard and keep warm when the temperature drops. The chicks can’t get stranded somewhere and get a good start for the first three days. The brown pullets are speckled Sussex. The black pullets are barred rock.

Changing to a larger light bulb solved the warmth problem. I do use a heat lamp so the heat is directed downward. I do not use a heat bulb. Instead I have an array of wattages from 60 to 100 to 150.

When cold weather moves in, the largest bulb goes in. When the temperatures go up, the size of the bulb can go down. The chick house is remodeled against predators, but temperature fluctuations move in.

It’s hard to keep all the chicks together for the first day or two. So I move an old wire cage into the chick house. This has three advantages.

First is keeping the chicks together and under the light. Surrounding the cage with cardboard contains the heat when temperatures really drop. Draping blankets over it will keep chicks warm through frosts.

chicks move into chick house
The temperature soared to eighty. The chicks were too hot in the cage. The temperature was due to drop in two days. The solution was to let the chicks out into the chick house. I set the water and food out and left the door open. A few ventured out. Soon all were out and the cage was removed.

Second is giving an extra protection from black snakes. I have learned that these creatures can fit into crevices I don’t even see.

Third is ease of cleaning. I put down layers of newspaper in three sheet groups. Each day I can roll up a layer leaving the chicks with a clean floor with a minimum of trauma for them. clean quarters is important for raising chicks.

This year the temperatures decided to soar when the chicks were a few days old. The cage was getting cramped and couldn’t be kept cool enough. So the chicks moved out into the chick house proper.

raising chicks in the chick house
The chicks love being out in the whole house. They are still too young to fly. Grass clippings are fun to scatter, maybe sample. And the chicks can move into or out of the warmth as they choose.

The chicks are delighted with all the room. I haven’t changed to a smaller bulb as cooler weather is coming in. Instead the top of the double door and a window are open. Small bugs fly in to amuse the chicks.

This may be a makeshift arrangement, but it works for me and the chicks. And that is all that matters.