One of the concerns of poultry farmers especially those who operate their own hatchery is how to effectively take care of their baby chicks after they hatch, so as to minimize the numbers that are likely to die to the barest minimum.
Taking care of baby chicks requires special skills in handling them. The skills perhaps might be a little different from how you are supposed to handle chicks that are over 3 weeks old. Bottom-line is that, if you want to maximize profits in your poultry business, then you should learn how to care for your baby chicks after hatching them.
Normally after 48 hours of hatching the chicks, you are expected to remove them from the incubator and that is when the actual work that will determine their survival starts. After removing them from the incubator, you are expected to carefully place them in a brooder; the brooder is where they are expected to stay until they grow some feathers.
The essence of properly caring for your baby chicks after they hatch is to ensure that they are healthy and if you intend to sell them after three weeks or so, you will be able to make good profits. But if you decide to keep them and raise them in your poultry, it will still be a plus for you because you would have prepared the foundation for breeding healthy chickens.
Now let us consider the steps you need to follow if you want to properly take care of your baby chicks from day one after they hatch;
7 Easy Steps to Care for Baby Chicks after They Hatch
1. The Incubator Waiting Process
The process of caring for a baby chick starts when eggs are placed in the incubator before they hatch. Once your eggs successfully hatch after 21 days in the incubator, it is not a wise decision to pull out the baby chicks immediately.
Best practice requires that you allow the baby chicks to spend at least 48 hours in the incubator before transferring them to a brooder. It will enable the baby chicks to be a little bit stronger so that no harm will be done to them when transferring them.
2. Prepare a Brooder
Of course, your baby chicks are not expected to stay beyond 48 hours in the incubator after they are hatched. So, you are expected to prepare a brooder where you will keep the baby chicks until they grow and develop feathers. You can make use of cartoons, wooden boxes, steel boxes, or even plastic as your brooder.
It is a thing you can design yourself. The whole idea is to ensure that you have confinement safe enough to grow baby chicks. Just ensure that you choose proper bedding; sawdust is suitable because of the cushion effect it offers. You must also ensure that you install a proper heating system and means of giving them water.
3. Transfer from Incubator to Brooder
Once you have been able to prepare a brooder where you are expected to house the baby chicks for some weeks, then you need to make plans to successfully transfer the baby chicks from the incubator to the brooder. Normally, you are expected to do this after 48 hours of hatching them.
It is important to state that you need to be extra careful when transferring baby chicks from the incubator to the brooder.
What you are expected to do is to ensure that you properly wrap a baby chick in your palm, and carefully drop them in the brooder one at a time. The truth is that these baby chicks will always try to run away from you and if you are not careful you might injure them.
4. Choose the Right Feed
After you have placed the baby chicks in your brooder, the next step is to feed them. The most appropriate feed for baby chicks is starter feed. You can buy it from poultry markets. Starter feed comprises all the essential nutrients that baby chicks need to grow.
Although some poultry farmers feed their baby chicks with crushed grains, the truth is that this type of feed lacks some of the nutrients needed by baby chicks.
5. Ensure You Give Them Clean Water
One area where people get it wrong in taking care of baby chicks is when they give them water. No doubt, baby chicks drink lots of water, and at the same time, if they have the opportunity they will play and defecate inside the water and get it dirty.
So, what you are expected to do is to ensure that you change the water at least three times daily. If you don’t change the water as when due, your baby chicks can fall ill.
6. Monitor the Temperature of the Brooder and Adjust it When Necessary
Another very important factor that you must not joke about when caring for baby chicks is the temperature in their brooder. As a matter of fact, you are expected to ensure that the temperature in their brooder is kept at 95 degrees Fahrenheit within the first week and then you can drop the temperature by 5 degrees Fahrenheit at the end of every week.
It is important to monitor the baby chicks to be sure that they are not too hot or too cold. You can notice it in the way they behave. When the temperature is too hot for them, they move away from the source of heat and when the temperature is too cold for them they fold themselves and restrict their movements.
So caring for baby chicks is not rocket science, it is what anybody can learn and implement. If you learn how to care for baby chicks after they hatch and you implement what you learned the right way, you are sure of getting almost a 100 percent success rate on your poultry farm.