Canberra Backyard Poultry


This is for raising chicks without a broody hen i.e. under a heat lamp.  If they are under a broody hen you won’t need to do anything much except provide food and water, the mama hen will just take care of them.

Chicks need warmth, ideally at 30-35 degrees for one week, getting cooler (by 5 degrees) every week until they no longer need extra warmth at 6-8 weeks once they are fully feathered.  In colder weather they may need heat for longer.  Chicks will move towards the heat lamp if they are too cold and away from the heat if  they are too hot.

Ensure food and water are always available.  Chicks will need a small shallow container for water – they can drown if the water is too deep.  They will need chick food called chick starter.  This should be given freely until roughly 6-8 weeks of age.  They will then need chick or pullet grower, given freely until 16-18 weeks, and only then should they be given layer pellets and be integrated into the existing flock.

Things to look out for

Cocciodosis: slumped or unnaturally sleepy chicks, not moving much, only pecking at food rather than eating- the chick will need medication.  See also: Common Diseases and Management.

Loud chirping: this indicates the chicks are unhappy.  Check the temperature, food and water.


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