Raising ChicksProper management is essential to raising chicks the Russell Feed way! Before you bring your new chicks home, make sure you prepare a healthy and safe environment for your new flock.

Environment – Keep it clean, keep it dry.

  • Warm, dry housing without drafts
  • Make enclosure predator proof
  • Clean and disinfect housing, feeders, and waterers before chicks arrive. Then, disinfect regularly with a good disinfectant
  • Litter (bedding) should be 2″ to 5″ deep. Use wood shavings, straw, cob litter etc.

Space Requirement – No crowding allowed!

  • Hatch until 6 weeks: 1.0 square foot per chick
  • 6 weeks and older: 2.0 square feet per chick

Temperature – Avoid the big chill.

  • Day old, 90-95 F. Heat lamp or light bulb approximately 20″ above chicks. Heat in advance to raise light and adjust the temperature. Place thermometer at chick level. comfort can be observed. If chicks huddle under the light, it’s too cool. If chicks huddle in corners, it’s too hot. Reduce 5 F each week until a minimum of 65F.
  • Turkey Poults – slower to understand eating and drinking, watch closely first few days. To get poults started, dip beaks in water and feed. Mix a few chicks with the turkey poults.
  • Ducklings/Goslings may swim in water after 4 weeks. Keep dry until then. Place marbles in the waterer to reduce splashing.

Water – Wet their whistles.

  • One, 1 QT fount per 25 chicks. Use fresh, cool (not cold) water, clean daily. Disinfect waterers prior to use, then weekly with a good disinfectant. Dip beaks to induce drinking. Elevate waterer after the first week to reduce contamination from the litter. Waterer should not be higher than the chick’s back. Double water capacity at 6 weeks.

Feed – Stay with us all the way!

  • Feeder(s) – One foot long per 25 chicks. Keep full at all times, scatter chick starter ration on newspapers first 2-3 days to encourage eating.
  • Egg laying chicks – Give chick starter (medicated) until 18-20 weeks old, then switch to a laying ration. For best egg protection, use artificial light in laying house to create maximum 1-18 hour day. Do not decrease the length of lighting period when flocks are in production.
  • Broiler (meat chicks) – Feed meat builder to finish. Pullets being kept for egg production should be fed laying ration beginning at 18-20 weeks.
  • Ducklings/Goslings – Feed game bird starter until 18-20 weeks, the switch to a laying ration. (medicated feed is not approved by the FDA).
  • Turkey Poults – Use Turkey Starter 0-6 weeks. Turkey Grower 6-14 weeks and finish with Turkey Finisher.
  • Game Birds – Requirements are different for each species. Ask about Game Bird Feed Program.

NOTE:  Hen scratch is fed in small amounts only to adults birds as a treat, NOT as a complete ration.

Consider incubating eggs for children’s projects and your own baby chick supply. You can also pick up baby chicks at your local Russell Feed and Supply during Chick Days. Russell Feed & Supply is your headquarters for all things chick including feeders, waterers, incubators, litter, medications, feed and more.



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