When the chicks are little that have very simple needs.
- Safe place
- And some tlc if you want to handle them when they are bigger
I personally prefer my boxes that we built. Solid bottom and sides and a wood top we made with chicken wire in the center for ventilation. I also use pine chips for the bedding; Now you don't have to use pine chips but for me I find it to be the cleanest. You can use straw, sand, pine chips, news paper what ever works for you. I do use news paper when hatching but when you buy them from the store you don't have to because they normally put the baby birds in pine chips already so they are used to it. Just keep in mind because not everywhere will it tell you this but baby chicks will make a mess...not only of the box they are in but they kick up dust so if you plan to keep them in the house it will be messy and dusty.
Keeping you baby chickens clean is also very important for good heal of your babies. Inspect them on a regular basis and look for things that may seem not so right. For example baby chicks and there fluffy little feathers can get pasty butt where the poop can build up on the little ones back end and block it's vent. Now if you have done your reasearch you will know a chicken has one place where everything comes from the waste and the egg both come from the vent. But with pasty butt the poop will dry and harder making it impossible for the chick to go to the bathroom resulting in death. Now sometimes baby chicks just pass away, it can happen but the best way to keep a all of your baby chicks is make sure you maintain there area. Clean food and water is also necessary on a daily basis, the chicks can and will make a mess of both so take the time to throughly clean the containers with a bottle brush and soap to prevent any illnesses.
Now the next question is what to feed these little guys? This is one thing that I feel is very important because without the right nutrition they will not grow to there full potential, you can not feed a baby chick layer feed. Layer feed has calcium for laying birds and baby chicks do not need the calcium until they are at least 4-5 months old. The over load of calcium will kill the baby chicks because there bodies have no way to untilize the calcium. The first few weeks they need to be on a starter grower feed that is portioned just for them and high in protein. After the first few week on a starter grower you feed them the grower finisher which is a little different than the starter grower but better for them at the juveniles stage, they are not babies anymore but not layers yet. Once they are about 4-5 months old you can start to introduce the layer feed. I personally especially if at this point I may be able to integrate them with an existing flock I mix the feed for the first month. I will do half grower finisher and half layer and as the weeks go by I use less and less finisher until they are on the layer 100%. You can decide to do your layer feed one of two ways. You can buy layer feed from the feed store or mill in your area, or you can mix your own. I like knowing what goes into my birds and like the thought of fresh grain so the diet for my birds I have changed and modified over the past year. I also choose to grow fodder for my hens. It is not a necessity but I like giving my birds a wide variety. I am very stern for baby birds but the older hens I have to say are spoiled.
Ultimately how you want to raise your babies can go one of many ways. Weather you have ordered them for food and only plan to raise once they reach weight. Or you want to add eggs and meat to your farm with a variety of meat and egg laying birds. To getting fancy fathered, top hat, entertainment birds to give your family hours of fun and enjoyment. I love my birds and have found so much joy in raising them. If anyone has any questions or topics they have questions about feel free to ask.