Supplies Needed for Baby Chicks

In order to raise happy, healthy chicks, you need to make sure that you have the right supplies on hand.  Some of the supplies you’ll need are things that you’ll have on hand, some may be supplies that you’ve never needed (if this is your first time with baby chicks).  So what exactly do you need for chicks?

Before I can answer this question, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind regarding chicks.  Chicks are small and cannot eat large pieces of food.  That is why you’ll see chick crumbles in feed stores.  Chicks physically cannot swallow large pellets the same way that grown chickens can.  Baby chicks need to be kept warm and in a draft-free environment.  If the chicks were with their mother, she would keep them warm herself with her body heat.  Lastly, chicks need a clean environment with plenty of space to avoid overcrowding and disease.

So let’s talk about what you’ll need to raise your chicks successfully.


The first item that should be on your list is a brooder.  A brooder is a box that will house your chicks.  When picking out a brooder, make sure that it has sides that are tall enough to prevent drafts and to keep the chicks from attempting to jump out.  Jumping out won’t be an issue at first, but some chicks can be escape artists and will try to jump out if the sides aren’t tall enough.

When setting up your brooder, make sure that it is in a draft-free area of your home.  If you’re putting it outside, it’s a good idea to put it in a shed or barn that will keep predators away from it.  You can also put a wire or mesh top on it.  Baby chicks are easy prey for raccoons, foxes and other predators, so you’ll want to keep them safe. You can make a brooder from a livestock water trough, a large plastic tote or even a cardboard box in a pinch.


Inside of the brooder you’ll need a heat source.  Remember, your chicks will need heat to keep them warm.  Ideally, the bottom of the brooder should be between 95-100°F for the first two weeks of the chicks’ lives.  After that, you can start reducing the temperature 5°F per week until they are one month old.

The easiest way to provide them with a heat source is with a heat lamp.  You can use a heat lamp and hang it over the brooder.  Many of these heat lamps have clips so that you can secure them onto the side of the brooder.  Make sure that the lamp is secured and is providing warmth to the chicks.

It’s a good idea to have a thermometer in the brooder so that you can monitor the chicks.  I like to put the heat lamp on one side, or in the middle if the brooder is big enough, so that the chicks can move into a slightly cooler area of the brooder if they want to.  If the brooder isn’t warm enough, you’ll notice that your chicks are piled together under the heat lamp trying to keep warm.  This can lead to trampling of smaller chicks and should be avoided.


The chicks will need plenty of clean bedding at the bottom of the brooder.  Chicks can be messy, so be prepared to clean it out frequently.  The chicks shouldn’t be standing in poop or wet bedding as this can lead to disease and illness.  Pine flake shavings are a good option for bedding. Don’t use cedar shavings as the oil in cedar can irritate the skin and lungs of chickens. Chicks will create soiled bedding quickly.  You can add a fresh layer of bedding daily for 2-3 days.  After this, clean out all of the bedding and start over.

Feeder and Waterer

Chicks that are living in a brooder with bedding on the ground cannot eat feed off of the ground, so you’ll need to invest in a feeder.  There are two styles of feeders and both are inexpensive and will save you money on feed by reducing waste.  Hanging feeders are a great option because they can be hung up off of the ground.  Hang them just high enough that the chicks can access the feed but won’t get shavings or water into the feed.

If you notice that your chicks are trying to climb on the feeder, you may want to play it safe and get a flip top feeder.  It’s a good idea to start chicks off with a flip top feeder and then move them up to a hanging feeder when they are a little older.  The flip top feeder partially covers the feed while still allowing multiple chicks to access the feed.  Keep the feeders full and let chicks eat freely for the best growth results.

You’ll also need to invest in a waterer for your chicks.  Just like with feeders, there are a few different styles.  The waterers are either made to hang or to set on the ground.  I prefer to start them with a waterer that is on the ground and then move them up to a hanging waterer when they get older.  Clean the waterers frequently and make sure that the chicks have a steady supply of clean fresh water to drink.


As long as you take care of your chicks properly, you probably won’t have any health issues.  It’s a good idea to already have medications on hand though in case you run into problems.  A probiotic and vitamin supplement like Chick Boost can help prevent illness in chicks.  You simply add the supplement to the drinking water.  You can also buy vitamin packs that provide essential vitamins to ensure proper growth and a good, strong immune system.

Written by: Shelby DeVore

Shelby DeVore is a former high school agriculture teacher that has taught numerous agriculture classes and successfully coached multiple competitive FFA teams, including Tennessee FFA State Poultry teams.  She’s an agricultural enthusiast and shares her love of all things farming with her husband and two children on their small farm in West Tennessee.  She’s also the author of the blog Farminence, where she enjoys sharing her love of gardening, raising livestock and more simple living.

Baby Chicks for Easter

Are you planning on getting chicks for Easter?  I can always tell when Easter is close because feed stores start to fill up brooders in the stores with baby chicks.

Some people have mixed feelings about giving baby chicks for Easter gifts.  I have always gotten baby chicks at Easter and have given my own children baby chicks as Easter presents.  Easter falls right in the middle of spring and is one of the best times to get chicks because there are so many options available.

If you do plan on giving or getting chicks, make sure that you’re prepared to take care of them long after they grow out of the cute, fluffy stage.

Types of Chicks to Purchase

Once you’ve decided that you want to get chicks you’ll need to figure out what kind you want.  Don’t be restricted by the breeds that are in your local feed store.  Ordering chicks will allow you to purchase the breed you want and have it delivered to you!

Do you want chickens that are going to lay eggs every day? Or would you rather have chickens that lay colored eggs?  Maybe, if you’re like me, you want chickens that are unique and pretty to look at.

Best Egg Layers

Wyandotte– Consistent layers that produce light cream- dark brown eggs.

Ancona– Excellent layers that lay white eggs.

Minorca– These red faced, black chickens lay large white eggs.  They are a large breed.

Delaware– This older breed of chicken is a good egg layer.  Hens are medium-sized and can lay large to jumbo sized eggs.

Speckled Sussex– This dual purpose chicken is known for its colorful plumage and ability to lay frequently.  Hens lay lightly tinted eggs.

Egg Layer Assortment

Colored Egg Layers

Ameraucana– Often referred to as ‘Easter Egg Chickens’, this breed lays blue, green and blue/green eggs.  They are consistent layers.

Black Maran– Although Marans don’t lay blue or green eggs like the Ameraucana, they still lay beautiful eggs.  The eggs are a rich, deep brown and are often speckled.

Brown Egg Layer Assortment

Unique Breeds

Brahma– These chickens are unique because of their size when they are grown.  Brahma roosters can easily reach weights of 18 pounds and females can weigh in at 16 pounds.  Despite their size, Brahmas are laid back and docile.

Cochins– Cochins are completely feathered, right down to their toes.  Cochins are known for being extremely docile and make great pets for small children.

Crested and Polish– These chickens are adorable and have a crest.  A crest is a collection of feathers on top of the head that makes it look like they are wearing a hat.  These are chickens with big personalities!

Final Thoughts About Baby Chicks

Getting baby chicks is so exciting and rewarding! Make sure that you have all of your supplies when your chicks arrive (or before!). If you have everything that you need, choose a breed that will fit your needs and will fill your nesting boxes and yard with color.

Taking proper care of your chicks should prevent any illnesses from occurring.  Keep the feeders filled with fresh, clean chick feed.  Make sure that the chicks always have a clean source of water available.  Keep the bedding clean and change it out as needed.  Use a heat lamp to keep the brooder warm (95-100°F for the first two weeks, then decrease by 5°F each week until one month).   Being prepared for your baby chicks will help ensure that everything goes smoothly and you raise happy, healthy chickens that you can enjoy for years to come.

Written by: Shelby DeVore

Shelby DeVore is a former high school agriculture teacher that has taught numerous agriculture classes and successfully coached multiple competitive FFA teams, including Tennessee FFA State Poultry teams.  She’s an agricultural enthusiast and shares her love of all things farming with her husband and two children on their small farm in West Tennessee.  She’s also the author of the blog Farminence, where she enjoys sharing her love of gardening, raising livestock and more simple living.


Chicken Egg Shell Colors

Many myths exist about the color of an egg’s shell. As a general rule, hens with white earlobes lay eggs with white shells, and hens with red earlobes lay eggs with brown shells.  Of course there are some exceptions to this rule.  A common belief is that eggs with colored shells are more nutritious than those with white shells.  Some people think that brown eggs taste strong, and others think brown eggs are fresher.  It is what the chicken eats and how the chicken is cared for that affects the quality and flavor of the egg.  Chickens raised in cages off the ground, without having green grass or scratch grains, garden or table scraps, don’t produce the darker, rich, orange-colored yolk.  White-shell eggs produced by hens on pasture are more nutritious than eggs with colored shells laid by caged hens.  Whether or not you prefer white eggs, brown eggs, green eggs, or spotted eggs is a matter of personal preference.  Keep in mind, though, that the shell color actually has nothing to do with the egg’s nutritional value.


Storey’s Guide to Raising Poulty

The Chicken Encyclopedia


Submitted by Darlene Kollasch




Check out our website WELPHATCHERY.COM for great gifts.

Find some of my recommendations under Other Products

Books –

Country Living Encyclopedia – This book contains practical advice, invaluable information and collected wisdom for folks and farmers in the country, city and anywhere in between. Includes how to cultivate a garden, buy land, bake bread, raise farm animals, make sausage, can peaches, milk a goat, grow herbs, churn butter, catch a pig and cook on a wood stove. They have a very good section on chickens and other poultry.

Equipment –

Brooder Starter Kit

The Starter Kit has all of the items needed to start you baby poultry!
Enough for 25-35 chicks

Kit Includes: Heat Lamp, Red Infrared Bulb, Feeder, 2 – one quart waterers,  complete, Gro gel Supplement, Thermometer, Brooder Guard


Vitamins –

Super Broiler Vitamin- This specially formulated vitamin supplement was made with fast-growing Cornish Rock broilers and other fowl in mind. Because of their rapid growth and weight gain, these types of poultry have special nutritional needs. This supplement will help your birds reach your weight and efficiency goals. This product is safe to administer for as long as desired. 
It can be mixed with feed or water. One 16 oz. pack good for approximately 100 chicks. 



Shink Bags – These bags are an excellent option if you freeze your birds whole and they are BPA FREE. They hold up very well in the freezer. The bag prices include a zip tie for each bag and a piece of tubing with each order.

A few more suggestions are knives, egg cleaner, treats for chickens, and chicken shampoo to name a few.


            Hopefully this helps make your Christmas shopping easier.

When can I expect my chicks to arrive, and what do I do if there is a problem?

Oct2011hatchery pictures 039

When can I expect my chicks to arrive, and what do I do if there is a problem?
When placing an order with us, we will give you the expected ship date. This will be the day the chicks are hatched and actually sent out. We then allow 2 to 3 days for arrival. They are shipped priority mail through the USPS. Your phone number appears on the label on the box, so your local post office will call you when the chicks arrive for you to pick up. We guarantee live delivery, but need to be notified of any problem or loss within 48 hours. If any loss, we need to know the live count since a few extras are usually included in your order. If notified within this time frame, we can issue you a credit or a replacement order if there are enough chicks for a reshipment. When you place your order, we let you know the ship date at that time.  You’ll want to put this date on your calendar.  You are usually mailed or emailed a confirmation when you place your order, which is your reminder of the ship date.

A better understanding of the NPIP.

Wondering what NPIP is and what it stands for? It stands for National Poultry Improvement Plan.

If you receive poultry from Welp Hatchery, our INVOICE or PACKING SLIP can be used as an NPIP form for fairs.

NPIP Information and Requirements in Iowa
There has been some confusion about which birds need to be tested before entering an exhibit or fair. The regulation states:
“All poultry exhibited must come from U.S. Pullorum-Typhoid clean or equivalent flocks, or have had a negative Pullorum-Typhoid test within 90 days of public exhibition and the test must have been performed by an authorized tester.”
A bird purchased and taken home from a hatchery, U.S. Pullorum-Typhoid (PT) clean or equivalent NPIP flock does not retain this “U.S. Pullorum-Typhoid clean or equivalent flock” status at the new owner’s or exhibitor’s home, unless the new owner’s or exhibitor’s flock is a PT clean flock.
In other words, just because you purchase a bird from a PT clean flock, it does not remain PT clean once you take it to your home and your flock is not proven to be PT clean also.

The National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) is a cooperative Federal-State-Industry program developed for controlling certain poultry diseases. NPIP consists of a variety of programs intended to prevent and control egg-transmitted, hatchery disseminated poultry diseases. NPIP identifies states, flocks, hatcheries, and dealers that meet certain disease control standards specified in the various programs. As a result, customers can buy poultry that has tested free of certain diseases or conditions. Being a member of NPIP allows greater ease in moving hatching eggs/live birds within the state, across state lines, and into other countries. In fact, most countries will not accept hatching eggs/live birds unless they can be shown to be a NPIP participant.
The Iowa Poultry Association oversees Iowa’s involvement in NPIP, regulates the importation and exportation of birds, issues permits for breeder flocks, along with administering laws and rules regarding poultry in Iowa.


By Ann Phelps.

5 tips for getting hens to lay in nest boxes.


Do your hens lay their eggs everywhere but the nest boxes? Here are a few tips to encourage them to lay eggs in the nest boxes.
• Do you have enough nest boxes: 1 box for every 4 to 5 hens is the minimum for hens to feel comfortable laying in them.
• Are your nests appealing: Make sure the nests are in a dark, quiet place in the coop. Boxes should be a few inches off the floor.
• Train them with a “nest egg”: You can purchase a fake ceramic or wood egg from a farm supply store or online. You can even use a golf ball if needed. When your chicks get ready to lay, by placing the “nest egg” in the nests, this gives them the idea that this is the place to lay.
• Keep them confined until mid-morning: Most hens lay early in the morning, so by keeping them in the coop, this will maximize the chances that they’ll lay in the nest boxes instead of finding a place outside of the coop.
• Make nests soft and comfy: If the wood shavings get depleted in the boxes, the hens tend to avoid them. Keep shavings or straw nice and fluffy to encourage laying in the boxes.

Michelle Coleman

Preparing for winter


Check out these tips for keeping your chickens warm in the coming cold months.
Tip # 1
Raise cold –hardy breeds that are suited to the temperature in your climate.
Breeds with smaller, more compact combs, such as a pea or rose combs, fare better in cold and are less prone to frostbite on their combs.
Great examples of cold-hardy breed with pea or rose combs include Ameraucanas, Buckeyes and Wyandottes.

Tip # 2
Proper coop insulation and ventilation in any poultry housing set-up is absolute for fighting frostbite and for combating deadly moisture that could contribute to a host of other ailments and diseases.

Tip # 3
Many breeds can make it through winter without supplemental heat.  But for breeds that don’t always fare well in extreme cold, it may be necessary to add supplemental heat to the coop to combat moisture, cold or a combination of the two.
Properly and professionally set up the supplemental heat in the coop.
Use poultry-safe heat lamps with guards. Only heat the coop to a reasonable, winter temperature for your area to take the edge off; it should not feel warm to you.
Reduce supplemental heating as soon as possible when temperatures begin to climb, and gradually acclimate the birds to the change of weather.

Tip # 4
Use flat roosts, as this allows birds to spread out their toes flat on the board, making them easier to cover with their feathers when they sit down for the night.

Tip # 5
Provide a snow-free zone so your birds are not uncomfortable and unsafe. A snow- free zone doesn’t have to be fancy or complex. It could simply be a run or pen with a roof, a tarped or covered area in the pasture or backyard, or simply a shoveled path around the coop.

Tip # 6
Consider your coop flooring. Chickens spend much of their day in direct contact with the ground; that environment should be free from moisture and extreme cold as much possible, especially at night. Consider employing the deep-litter method or use a bedding option that remains warm and dry in the coop. Pine shavings are a favorite because they dry faster and resist moisture better than hay or straw. Finally, consider providing perches, stumps and other places off the ground for birds to seek relief from the frozen ground while spending time outside.

Utilize the information at your disposal to set up proper housing and prepare accordingly; it could save a lot of pain and suffering for your birds in the cold winter months to come.
Source: Chickens magazine from Hobby Farms

Some interesting facts from the Iowa Poultry Association

IOWA…# 1 Egg Production

Did you know that…
• Iowa ranks #1 in the nation for egg production
• #1 in egg processing
• Iowa produced almost 16 billion eggs in 2014
• Iowa’s chicken layers consume 58 million bushels of corn and 30 million bushels of soybeans
• Iowa’s egg producers create more than 8,000 jobs annually. $2.02 billion in total sales and $424 million in seasonal income.

General Facts:
• Iowa has approximately 40 million laying hens
• Iowa produces enough eggs to provide an egg-a-day for the world for 2 days.
• An egg-a-day for China for 11 days
• An egg-a-day for all Americans for 47 days
• Iowa’s egg farmers add value to Iowa corn and soybeans – 58 million bushels of corn and 30 million bushels of soybeans

For all your poultry needs contact:

compiled by Ann Phelps


Photo By Royale Photography (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons
 The Ameraucana is an American breed developed in the 1970’s.  It was derived from the Araucana breed from Chile and was bred to produce blue egg color.  This breed was added to the American Standard of Perfection in 1984, and is recognized in 8 colors.  The Ameraucana typically starts laying at around 5 months of age and produces approximately 250 eggs per year of various shades.

Source Wikipedia