Waterers and Feeders
Your baby chicks will need water right away as soon as you've put them in their new home. Observe them carefully and make sure that they find where the waterer is. You can teach your baby chicks to drink from the waterer by gently dipping their beaks in the water.
It is not recommended to use just any water container for your baby chicks. For best results, health reasons and safety, it is best to use a chick waterer. Using an open container like a dish or bowl would just invite the chicks to wade in the water which can be a cause of drowning. They will certainly enjoy playing in it, making it dirty which means you need to change it constantly during the day.
For one reason or another, chickens love to roost when they're resting. One way to prevent them from playing with their waterer and feeder is to provide roosting poles about 5 inches off the ground to prevent them from roosting on the waterer and the feeder.
The most common question of newbies is how much food they should give their birds. The answer: as much as they want! Give your chickens 24/7 access to all the food they can eat since they can regulate themselves unlike other pets.
Buying chicken feed is pretty straightforward. Feed suppliers manufacture special baby chicks feed complete with everything they need. If you have had your baby chicks vaccinated against Coccidiosis, they you have to give them un-medicated feed. If not, or if they have only been vaccinated for Marek's Disease, medicated feed is the surest way to keep them healthy during the first few months.
You can also give your baby chicks food scraps, worms, bugs including small amounts of vegetable and dairy.
Since chickens don't have teeth they need something else to help them grind the food they eat for easier digestion. They need tiny pebbles which they store in their crop to grind their food. You need to give your baby chicks sand, parakeet or canary gravel which is available from your local pet store. You can either provide this in a different bowl or mix it with their feed.
If you use a 12" high carton or box to house your baby chicks in, make sure to cover it with netting to prevent young chicks from flying out of their box. One week old chicks can literally fly out of the coop if the box is only a foot high; you can either use a 24" high box or drape netting on top to prevent from flying out.
Discover the numerous advantages of raising chickens in your backyard and learn how to build a chicken coop for your feathered friends by visiting my website.
Bill Keene is a former poultry farm and author of of the guide “Building A Chicken Coop" and website http://www.buildingachickencoop.com