Happy Valentine's Day, a made-up holiday to celebrate the honeys that you should care about year-round. So what better day to talk about caring for baby chickens?
Instead of true baby chicks, we got 3-4 week old pullets. It's something of a trade-off:
-they are bigger and less fragile -they are bigger and less adorable
-they don't take as long to start laying -they're awkward, pre-pubescent chickens
-they can be "sexed" (so no unlawful roosters) -they cost a bit more
The dark birds are Blue Wyandottes, and the others are mystery chickens. Hopefully, all of them are hens.
Pictured is all that you need to get your pullets home: a box with airholes and a bit of straw. At this age, they can snuggle together pretty well to maintain their body heat, but once you get them home you'll need a brooding lamp too.
You can order one online or maybe even three like my sister-in-law. She bought a heat lamp for Abe's Christmas gift last year, and the first one was completely mangled when it arrived. With good customer service, it was replaced quickly enough - but when the replacement arrived, her husband picked up the box, thought it was empty, and burned it behind the house.
We kept our pullets in our carport storage room overnight, and moved them out to the chicken coop the next day. They have their own exclusive area (for Very Important Pullets) separated from the other hens, because chickens are famous for bullying. VIP's need protection! See?
For only being a month or so old, they're pretty easy to care for. They need a feeder, a waterer (Abe is the feeder and waterer at our farm - but we also use this and this) and clean bedding.