Follow these care guide recommendations to keep your chicks happy and healthy!

First Steps - Heating & Bedding

  1. When taking your chicks home, give them access to warm (room temperature) water as soon as possible. Gently dip their beaks in the water, so they know what it is and where it is. We recommend adding Chick E-lixir™to drinking water daily. It is a natural approach to keeping chicks healthy by supporting developing immune systems and promoting bone growth. Chick E-lixir™ contains a unique blend of organic oregano essential oil, prebiotics, calcium, vitamins D & E, and electrolytes. 
  2. Chicks should have a brooding area at least 105º for the first hour and lower the temperature to 95º over the next few hours. You can lower the temperature by lifting the heat lamp. Chicks should be in a brooding area that has a surface temperature of 90-95º for the first week. Lower the temperature by five degrees per week until you reach 70º. Temperatures may need to be slightly higher for bantam or polish chicks.
  3. Chicks should have at least a ½ square foot of space per chick to move away from the heating lamps if necessary. 
  4. Block corners of the brooder with cardboard to make wider angles that are harder for chicks to pile on top of each other to prevent smothering. 
  5. If chicks appear weak or lethargic upon arrival, mix about two tablespoons of sugar into one quart of warm water and give to the chicks. After 16 hours, switch to regular water. 
  6. To help chicks start eating, put chick feed on a small flat surface, like a container lid, so they can easily find the feed. This helps deter them from eating the bedding. We recommend using Nutrena NatureWise Starter/Grower.
  7. Use larger wood shavings as bedding on the floor of the brooding area. Do not use sawdust, sand, cedar chips or shavings, or newspaper. We recommend applying Coop Recooperate over the wood shavings. Coop Recooperate is the safe and natural way to care for your coop. Organic eucalyptus and lemongrass essential oils along with diatomaceous earth reduce odor and moisture and help improve the quality of your compost.

Food & Water

  1. Give chicks a starter/grower feed until they lay their first egg, then switch to an egg layer feed. We recommend Nutrena NatureWise Chick Starter/Grower and NatureWise Layer Pellets that contain essential oils, prebiotics, and probiotics. 
  2. Use an easily accessible one-foot trough feeder or round feeder and a one gallon waterer for every 25 chicks. 
  3. Chicks need continuous access to water and feed. If you have broilers, refer to our Chicks Homepage for special feeding instructions to avoid ascites or water belly.

Health Tips

  1. Chicks will use their beaks to groom or peck themselves. Occasionally pecking amongst chicks will become a problem if the brooding area is too hot or crowded. We suggest using a red heat lamp to reduce brightness and the tendency to peck at each other. 
  2. Occasionally, the rear end of a chick will get manure stuck to it “pasting up”. If you see this happen, very gently wash the “paste” off with a cloth and warm water. Pasting should last no more than a few days and can be caused by stress from shipping. 



Baby chicks need to be protected from drafts but still have adequate ventilation. This can be in the form of our Hen Pen Pop-Up Brooder, a cardboard box with holes for ventilation, a large plastic storage bin, an unused bathtub, or even a kiddie pool!

Heat Lamp Bulb

Baby chicks need to be kept pretty hot - think sauna! After placing your chicks in your brooder, pay close attention to their behavior. If they're crowded together directly under or adjacent to the heat source, lower the heat source or add another. If your chicks seem to be avoiding the heat source, they're too hot! Move the heat source farther away from them. Happy chicks will explore all around the brooder.

Pine Shavings

Baby chicks are big poopers, so make sure to line the floor of their housing unit with absorbent material. The best, we think, is to spread pine shavings about 1" thick. *Do not use cedar shavings which can cause respiratory issues in your chicks.


Baby chicks have special needs regarding water. Dishes can make it easy for chicks to drown, and they'll certainly do naughty things like walk in it, spill it, kick their bedding materials into it, and poop in it - meaning you'll have to change it constantly. For the best results, we recommend you use a specially-designed chick waterer.


Chicks will jump in and kick the feed all over the place, poop in it, and worst-case scenario: they'll tip it over and trap a baby underneath (this has happened!). Chick feeders that are designed intentionally for small chicks are highly recommended.


The thermometer is essential to manage the temperature of the brooder for the chicks. This should be placed at the base of the brooder and monitored daily.

Starter/Grower Feed

Give chicks a starter grower feed until they lay their first egg, then switch to a layer feed. These feeds contain the correct nutrients for the chicks at their given ages.

Chick Grit

Adding chick grit to chicks’ diets helps them break down the food in the crop and gizzard to help them readily digest the food and absorb the nutrients needed for them to live a healthy life. This can be sprinkled on top of their feed or in a separate container but should not take the place of starter/grower feed.

Vitamins, Probiotics & Electrolytes

We recommend adding vitamins, electrolytes, and probiotics to drinking water daily. It is a natural approach to keeping chicks healthy by supporting developing immune systems and promoting bone growth.