How To Care For Day-Old Chicks: The Best Practise

It is important to give your chicks the best care, particularly during the first 10 days of brooding. The level of care and hygiene during this period will tell the survival rate of the young chicks. Day-old chicks need a high level of attention to ensure their survival after hatching.

With several years of experience in poultry rearing, I have come up with this guide to assist chicken keepers and enthusiasts in achieving great experience when raising chickens from a day old.

day-old chicks

What To Do Immediately After Receiving Your Chicks

Your chicks are very weak during delivery and need something to revive their energy. Farmers usually make the mistake of giving the chicks feed. This is wrong. It is recommended you give the chicks glucose in drinking water, then, starter feed can follow. The glucose will not only boost the energy level of the chicks, but it will also increase their appetite of the chicks, thereby increasing their intake level.

Also, it is advisable to transport the chicks during the cooler part of the day to avert the danger of heat stress. Transportation, on its own, is a stress-inducing exercise, now imagine transportation during the hotter part of the day, it would weaken the chicks and cause lots of mortality before reaching the final destination.

The following practices are termed as the best practices for chicks to attain good growth and development:


Chicken Feed must be available always for day-old chicks to consume. Starter feed is recommended during the brooding stage, it contains high protein and other essential nutrients required for good growth, and skeletal and muscular development.

Water is very essential just like feed. Clean and fresh water must be available always. Water is the cheapest way to avert the menace of heat stress.

Day-old chicks can last for 36 to 48 hours without food. Usually, the chicks make use of the nutrients remaining in their retained yolk sac during this time. If you are taking the day-old chicks to a far distance, be sure to work within the time frame to avoid mortality due to hunger.

Related: Chicken Feeding Guide: For Broilers And Layers

Temperature and Ventilation Control

Day-old chicks are highly susceptible to low temperatures and drafts, so it’s important to maintain a suitable environment for them. Chicks can be kept at 70-74 degrees Fahrenheit (21-23 degrees Celsius) in the first week, then gradually increased to 85-88 degrees (30-32 degrees Celsius) as they grow. A thermometer should be placed in the brooder area so you can monitor the temperature.

The chicks will need plenty of ventilation to avoid overheating and suffocation. Open up all doors and windows, but keep them locked shut at night or when there isn’t anyone around to check on the chicks. You can also use a fan on low speed if you have one available.

Chicks need to be kept dry, so keep them away from drafts and direct sunlight. A heat lamp should not be used to heat your brooder; this could cause heat stress which could lead to death.

Vaccination and Medication

For chicks to survive, there are routine vaccinations and medication that must be given at certain periods. Chicks need to receive their first vaccination within 24 hours of hatching so they do not contract infectious diseases from other chickens already present on their farm or homestead before they are old enough to be vaccinated themselves.

Chickens are susceptible to many diseases. Chicks need vaccines to prevent diseases like Newcastle Diseases, Infection Bursal Disease, Fowl pox disease amongst others. Vaccination will help protect them from some common poultry diseases such as Marek’s disease or Newcastle disease. Follow this vaccination schedule to protect chicks against various diseases.

Chicks need medications to treat diseases and maintain a quality life. Diseases like coccidiosis, chronic respiratory diseases, and other bacterial infections need antibiotics for treatment. Only antibiotics for poultry should be given to chicks and adhere strictly to the administration instructions.

Chicken dewormers expel intestinal parasites like roundworm and hookworm that interfere with the absorption and utilization of nutrients. When using chicken dewormers like ivermectin, ensure you observe the withdrawal period; it varies with the type of dewormer used. Read the label for the number of withdrawal days.

Also, multivitamins and mineral supplements are part of the chicken medication schedule for better growth. These supplements nourish the birds with minerals and vitamins to complete the chicken’s diet. Multivitamins and minerals are commonly added to the chicken water for easy intake.

Related: 10 Recommended Herbs For Chicken’s Healthy Growth

Litter Management

The litter or bedding you use will depend on how many birds are in your brooding area. You will need enough litter for each chick to have its own space, but make sure that there is enough space between each spot so that they don’t get their feathers dirty when they move around.

The purpose of using litter in a poultry house is to keep the house dry and allow the birds to exhibit their innate behaviors like sand bathing. Primarily, any litter material or bedding must be able to absorb moisture. The most common type of litter material used for poultry birds is wood shavings.

The cleanliness of the litter material is a prerequisite to the survival of the birds. Ensure you replace the litter material every 10 days. This helps prevent ammonia build-up and illness or death among the birds over time as well as make cleaning much easier on yourself.

Related: Best Bedding Material To Use For Chickens

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