We know how egg-citing (and overwhelming) it can be to get new baby chicks for the first time. Here’s a basic starter list to set you up for success. (And don’t forget to share your photos with us on our Facebook and Instagram pages!)

  •  Brooder Container

Some examples are a dog cage, a Rubbermaid bin, a puppy playpen or a cardboard box. Just remember that they grow quickly so whatever brooder you decide make sure that it is easy to clean and that the chicks have plenty of room to move around as they grow!

  • Food and Water Containers

You can find these at your local feed + supply stores or online.  Pro tip #1: Make sure to dip all of the chicks’ beaks in the water so they know where their water source is. Pro tip #2: Put marbles or rocks in your water container to prevent possible chick drowning. Pro tip #3: Use some sort of platform to place the water and food containers on to avoid less pine shavings in them or Rent-A-Coop (a local Maryland company) also has chick food and water containers that help to prevent less mess.

  • Chick Starter

For the first 16-18 weeks of their lives, you will want to feed chick starter. There are different brands and types of chick starter. Whether you feed medicated or non-medicated chick starter may be a personal choice but it is important to know the facts. Medicated feed contains Amprolium in it to help give chicks a boost to their immune systems against coccidiosis. It should not be used, however, if your chicks have been vaccinated for coccidiosis. This is also a separate vaccine from the Marek’s vaccination. Here’s an article from The Chicken Chick that further talks about chicken feed and what to feed at certain ages.

  • Heat Lamp or Heat Plate

If you choose to use a heat lamp, make sure that you have a thermometer to check the heat settings in the brooder. For heat plates, there are several options to choose from but the important thing to remember is that they use radiant heat. Pro tip: If your heat plate is adjustable, lower the back part of the heat plate down so that the heat plate is set at a slight angle. 

  •  Litter – Pine Shavings

If your chicks were delivered through the mail, you may want to initially place them on paper towels. If you purchased your chicks locally, they have most likely been acclimated to pine shavings at that point so pine shavings can be placed in the brooder. Do NOT use cedar shavings as they are toxic to chickens!

Here’s a few additional videos and links that we think you will find helpful:

The Ultimate Chick Brooder:

Coccidiosis: What Backyard Chicken Keepers Should Know:

Non-Medicated vs. Medicated Chick Starter Feed:

Caring for Baby Chicks: What to Do Once They Arrive:

Getting Started with Your New Chicks:

Premier 1 Supplies Brooder Starter Kits and Panels:

Rent-A-Coop Chick Supplies:

 Brinsea Ecoglow Safety Brooder :

Portable Puppy Play Pen:

Rent-A-Coop Anti-Roost Heat Plate Cover:

My Favorite Chicken Chick Brooder Heating Plate & Anti-Roost Cone Set:

 Training Roost: