We had heard that our local feed store had some Ameraucana chicks, which we have been looking for (because of their blue/green eggs and cute fuzzy cheeks), so we immediately went to pick up six more chicks. We came home with 4 Ameraucanas and 2 White Leghorns. Sadly, one of our Ameraucana chicks died yesterday. The girlies handled it very well and we quickly buried it in our backyard. "M" said, "I'm sad Mommy, but it's okay. The chick will grow big in heaven with Jesus". Love the sweet, innocent, simple faith of a 3 year old!
Wanting to get some chicks? Well, we are new to chicks our self so I am definitely no expert on the matter, but here are some things we have found you need to get started:
This can be as simple as a large, plastic Rubbermaid container. You will also probably want some sort of chicken netting to cover the container with. We have found that even at a very young age our chicks and jump up pretty high!
We are using a 250-watt infrared bulb. The chicks will let you know with their behavior if they are too hot (won't go inside the light circle, spread their wings, pant) or too cold (loud chirping, laying in a pile on top of each other). Generally you start with the temperature at 95 degrees for the first week, and lower it approximately 5 degrees each week by moving the light up about 2 inches per week. Since we are keeping our chicks in the garage right now where the surrounding temperature in variable, we need to lift the light higher during the day and lower it at night.
We are using cardboard and pine shavings because that is what they were on at the feed store, but you can simply use burlap sacking or newspaper. You need to keep your floor covering very dry, so expect to change it a few times a day.
*Feeder and Chick Starter
The feed store where you purchase your chicks will be able to tell you what they have been feeding the chicks and make recommendations for you.
*Waterer and Clean Water
You do not need one quite as large as ours when they are so little, but eventually you will. Our chicks make a mess of their water (kicking in the loose litter), and I need to change it several times a day. I never fill the waterer more than a quarter full, as it would just be a waste of water.
It is not difficult to care for the chicks, but they do require lots of time and attention. I check on them 6 or so times a day to make sure they have clean food and water, a dry floor, and good temperature.
A great website I have found for more information is Backyard Chickens.
Have fun and enjoy the many teachable moments!