What You Need To Raise Chicks At Home

It is chick season and everyone is going nuts over those cute little peeping chicks in the bins at farm stores. If you are new to chickens you may be wondering how to get started on a budget and raise chicks in your own backyard chicken flock.

Some supplies you need to raise your own chicks can add up in cost but there are cheaper alternatives or you can split the cost with friends and family and raise a larger number of chicks to the grow-out stage and then hand off the extras to the others helping cover the cost of supplies.

Brooder Box

To start with you will need a brooder box and the supplies for it. For the first few days with your new chicks, you can line your brooder with paper towels. This is not a necessity though if your chickens have been purchased from a feed or farm store because these stores use shavings in their bins. so your chicks are already used to shavings.

Your brooder box can be made with just about anything. Many people use plastic storage bins. If you need a top for it you can cut the top apart and secure chicken wire to it with zip ties.

Pop-up play yards for small animals make a great fold-away brooder option for raising chicks in your home.

You can add perches, small bird toys, and other things to entertain your chicks and help keep them busy to prevent pecking and fighting.

Heat source

The most important thing you need to help your new chicks thrive is a quality heat source. I love our brooder plate and find this to be safer and more economical to run with the cost of electricity. Because we raise chickens and quail we get a lot more use from our brooder plate than a family that will only be raising out one batch of birds.

If a heat plate is not an option for you and your family you can use the more common option. A heat lamp. These are commonly used for chicks, snakes, and other animals that need a heat source to thrive.


Your chick’s nutrition is essential for your child to thrive. A quality starter grower is essential. Many people choose to use a medicated check feed to help fight off coccidia bacteria. The issue with this is that medicated chicken feed reduces the niacin and other vitamins in your chick’s body which can lead to a common issue called wryneck.

I prefer to feed a non-medicated feed to my chicks. They are brooded away from other animals so the exposure to the bacteria is lower. When we start transitioning the animals outside we slowly bring in a small amount of soul from the yard for them to dig around in to build up natural immunity to the bacteria in our own yard.

If you feed anything based the chick feed crumbles you will need to provide chick grit to help them properly digest their food.

Feeder and waterer

You will need a feeder and waterer for your chicks. You can go as simple as a small bowl for your feeder if you are looking for a budget option. If you want a lower maintenance option you can get a chick feeder that can hold a few day’s worth of feed.

For the waterer, you have a few options of types. You want to be sure that your waterer is not too open to prevent drowning. This is why you can not use a bowl as a waterer. If you must use a bowl place rocks in the bottom to prevent drowning. We love our mason jar water and feeder for inside the brooder but move to watering cups in the grow-out pen.

Raising chicks is very rewarding and you can have a lot of fun doing it. If you do not plan on raising out multiple batches of chicks I recommend going as cheap as possible and putting your real investment into building a quality coop and run system that is built to last.

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