Baby Chick Incubation and Hatching

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 21 July 2020

Baby chicken drinking water from dish

Looking at getting some adorable little feathered friends? Congratulations - raising baby chickens is one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have. But, do not make the mistake of thinking that chickens of every age eats the same type of feed, because they definitely do not!

Baby chickens need to consume two things in order to grow into healthy happy adult chickens:

  1. Fresh water

Baby chickens should have fresh, clean water available to them 24/7.  This should be supplied to them through a special chick waterer, that’s designed to give them access to the water without there being enough room for them to fall in.

It’s important to keep checking the water and ensure that no manure or bedding has been kicked up in to the water and thus has contaminated it - so you might have to change the water over quite often. But it will be worth it!

  1. Starter Feed

The primary source of food for baby chickens is starter feed, which is feed specially designed to have the right nutrients growing chickens need. The anatomy of chick starter begins with a most necessary nutrient-protein. Next to water, protein, both plant and animal, is the second most essential nutrient for young chicks. This star body builder stimulates the growth of muscles, tissues and organs-it’s basically what makes your little ones grow. Feel free to offer your young chicks some small worms plucked after a spring or summer shower-nature’s homemade protein! Carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins and minerals make up the rest of the cast of nutrients needed by your growing baby chickens.

Again, keep checking the starter feed to ensure that no manure or bedding has contaminated the food - fresh is best!

There is so much to learn about bringing new life into the world. With the right knowledge and advice, it can be a joyful and eggstraordinary experience for the whole family. Nothing compares to seeing fluffy little hatchlings peck out of their shells. Getting to this perfect moment does come with a fair few challenges and risks which can be stressful and overwhelming, especially without the right information.

This is why I recommend our friends at Chickenpedia to all of my readers. They have created the brilliant Hatch A Plan course to help you successfully incubate and hatch happy and healthy chicks. Their course offers practical advice to ensure you build your knowledge to avoid tragic disasters, as these little ones can be so sensitive to temperature! You can learn about the conditions and equipment needed to confidently bring new life into the world.

As chicken keepers, we want to do an eggcellent job when caring for our feathered friends. Many chicken keepers struggle to handle chicken health or behaviour issues, especially in the first few years of having a flock. Chickenpedia have comprehensive online courses on everything you didn’t know you need to know and then some more! From raising baby chicks to feeding and behavior, you’ll find beginner-friendly courses that’ll give you the knowledge and confidence to successfully look after your chickens for years to come. 

These courses are exclusive to members only, so flock to Chickenpedia today!

Want to know more about how to take care of baby chickens? Why not have a look at some of these articles:

What to feed baby chickens - From day olds to 8 weeks

First few days and weeks with baby chicks

The baby chicken checklist

Common problems with baby chickens and how to overcome them

Sources and further reading