Generally, whenever people talk about taking care of a pet, they refer to dogs or cats. However, it might come as a surprise that many people also keep hen or baby chicks as pets. Yes, you read it right! Many suburban homes are opting for pet chickens. They are low maintenance, don’t make noise, and add a country living vibe to the house.
However, just like other pet animals, you need to take proper care of them, especially if you are raising baby chicks. As they are away from their mother, you need to put in extra efforts to ensure their wellbeing and health.
That being said, let’s take a look at how you can do it.
Chicks generally need a brooder; it will keep them close to the heat source. Fortunately, you can create one in your backyard very easily. For the initial months of a baby chick, you can use cardboard boxes. For litter, you can use paper towels or shredded newspapers. In addition to this, you need to keep them warm (until they are fully feathered).
For the first two weeks, the brooder’s temperature should be around 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. After that, start reducing the temperature by 5 degrees each week. You can also use the brooder lamp to check whether they need more temperature or not. After two or three months, you can take the pullets to the chicken coop.
Note: When chicks start to develop feathers, you need to regularly check the brooder’s temperature to ensure that it is not too hot. Also, keep a bowl of water nearby.
Baby chicks require high-protein food in their initial weeks. You can give them chopped green vegetables, earthworms, and hard-boiled eggs (chopped). Don’t forget about the water. Keep a shallow bowl of water. To teach them how to drink water, gently push them towards the water. Make sure they are eating a balanced and nutritious diet.
Once the chicks enter adulthood, i.e., to become pullets, you need to change their diet. There are several snacks for chickens made with nutrient-rich grubs, plants, and minerals. These snacks will ensure that the pullets are nourished and have strong feathers. Moreover, a healthy and balanced diet will provide an energetic flock and healthy eggshells.
- Handling Tips
There are a few things that you need to take care of while handling your pet.
- You must wash your hands thoroughly after touching them or the brooder. In case you don’t have soap and water, you should use sanitizer. Also, avoid touching your face before washing your hands.
- Regularly clean all the equipment and material you use to raise them, especially brooder and food and water containers.
- Do not let them enter the house, especially the kitchen and bathroom.
- If you have kids younger than 5 years, you shouldn’t let them touch the poultry without supervision. Also, ensure that they wash their hands afterward.
Wrapping it up!
Whatever your reason for raising baby chicks may be, one thing is sure that they will make great pets. All you need to provide them is warmth and food, and they will teach you about sustainable living.