Preparing for Baby Chicks

A Detailed Check List of Everything You’ll Need

Before you bring home your baby chicks prepare an area to keep them. Maybe a garage, shed, or anyplace where the chicks are protected from inclement weather or drafts.

Many chicken keepers of a small flock may even keep chicks in the house for the first week or so.

The Basics

• A Brooder
This is simply a container worthy of containing the chicks for the first 4-6 weeks. The sides should be about 12 to 15 inches high, the taller the brooder is, the less likely you’re going to have a problem with chicks escaping when they become more active. Brooder Ideas

• Thermometer
This is important to monitor the temperature in the brooder. Any outdoor type that is easy to read is sufficient.

• Brooder Lamp (and something dependable to hang it from)
The hanging type will allow you better control of temperature. You’ll want the ease of lowering or raising the lamp for more or less heat. Most feed stores carry both brooder lamp and bulb. Although the bulb color of choice by chicken keepers is a controversial one, I prefer, and recommend the RED bulb.

• Feeder & Drinker
Choose both that are made for chicks, they are designed not only for their convenience, but safety too.

• Bedding
Shavings are usually the bedding of choice after a week or two.
Shredded paper is suitable too!

• Feed
Most commonly called Chick Starter feed. They’re going to be on this food for the next 5-6 months or their point of lay, so don’t be afraid to buy a 50lb bag. It won’t be the last bag you buy!

The Extras to Make caring for your Chicks Easier…

• Paper Towels
Many chicken keepers like to use paper towels for the bottom of the brooder the first week or two.  I don’t, and all is fine… your choice.

• Trash Can (2)
A convenient way to make cleaning less of a chore. Keep it handy by the brooder.
It’s nice to keep your feed in one too, bagged feed can be a big mess to clean up if it falls over. Metal trash cans are best for feed.

• Bucket
To dump out the drinker waste, rather than refilling the whole waterer ten times a day.

• Extra brooder bulb in case one fails.

• Small brooder (a box is ok) set-up in case you have to isolate or doctor a chick.


It’s a little work but there is reward…

What’s Going on at TBN Ranch

Sunday, Phoenix is expected to reach triple digits. It won’t be long and we’ll creep up to 105, 110, and by June, 115. As the temperatures rise, keeping chickens becomes a real challenge.

I’ve already started to prepare, but this time I will be tested even further with my older semi-retired flock. Not only are they compromised by their age, but they are all way too plump fat. This past winter was colder than usual and all my birds had a very late molt. So their naked butts didn’t freeze, I gave them scratch feeds and oats on top of their normal ration of layer pellets. Now they are huge.

Brooder Box

I found a gold mine a the grocery store that only a chicken keeper would understand. Certainly the produce manager didn’t, but although reluctant, he was accommodating. Ever see those huge octagon watermelon bins? Well my first thought was definitely not on watermelons, all I saw was a perfect brooder! The manager said they were supposed to be recycled and not to be given away. But when I explained what it was for, and that it was my birthday, he said ok! Happy Birthday to me!

The watermelon box is in the garage where it is being transformed to the ultimate brooder. If it’s sturdy enough to hold 50 watermelons, it certainly will accommodate baby chicks for years to come. I even have some left over ceramic tile for the floor, I feel like a kid at Christmas! When I have it done and moved to the feed shed I will take pictures.

Prickly Pear

I planted 70 sunflowers as a shade source for my birds, unfortunately the farm bunnies have eaten all but 10. Guess as a cactus gardener it slipped my mind that protecting the seedlings was crucial to their survival. Duh. But my Prickly Pear cactus are stunning! –>

I still haven’t bought a new chicken coop, but I do have a plan. Come Fall I would like to move all my chickens to one place… from three. Keeping in mind that I’m a complete novice to having a vegetable garden, I’d still like to give it a whirl. The most convenient spot for that is where my fancy polish hens are… so the ladies are moving.

As far as the new coop, I do have my eye on one. It was featured in a previous post, you can see it HERE. I don’t mean to offend the builder, but it looks like a fish cleaning house.. and that’s probably exactly why I like it! The real selling point on this coop is that it’s local built, no shipping! Building this structure means all my birds will be in a shady area just steps away from the barn. Then, I’ll be growing vegetables in the Spring? Don’t worry…  Google.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!