Adventures in Chicken Keeping: Chicks Have Arrived


Our four new Rhode Island Red chicks arrived from the hatchery yesterday. My friend Dawn, who is a huge chicken lover, graciously pick up four for me and she took home 102 new chicks for her farm!! I’ve come to realize I can handle about four at a time with our life here on the homestead as it currently is.

Chicks in box at Dawns

 Piles of chicks trying to stay warm in the chick box.

I had the brooder and red light ready and when the call came I turned on the light, upped the house heat and drove over to her farm just 10 minutes away from us to pick them up. Within 15 minutes they were in their new home.

Donna with Rhode Island reds day one 4-20-15

Here I am with one of my new baby chicks.

 My brooder is not unusual; a sterilized plastic bin, with paper towels on the bottom. A red chick light, new thermometer, chicken water, organic chick starter  and a bit of grit on the towels (so they can easily see the food) a bit of grit I put Nutradrench in the water so they got a bit of a head start on vitamins from day one.

Brooder set up

A repurposed microwave stand as base and a sterilized recycle bin as brooder.

They were pretty exhausted from their big day. I dipped their beaks into the waterer so they knew it was therefor them but they were more asleep than awake. I watched them until I was sure they were all drinking and eating and then check in on them every little while. Some were pooping a kind of clear liquid that I assume is the fluid in their body from the liquid matter in the egg shells from before they were born.

Sleepy Girls

Sleepy girls cat-nap on and off in their first hour in their new home.

We also introduced our Lab Sassy, to them while they were peeping heavily when they first got home. She was very interested in their peeping noises and smells. She was exploring all around the converter brooder and spent a lot of time trying to figure out where exactly these peeps were coming from. We let her explore with supervision and told her to “leave it” a few times. So far she has been real good and we did not have to put up the baby gate in the doorway as I thought we might.

I decided not to handle them too much today in order to let them rest, recover and acclimate to their new home. It was a big, big day for them. They were cat-napping and wobbling around and doing well when I went to bed.

It was blessedly uneventful night. I got up at 5 a.m. to check on them and give them fresh water.


As I mentioned above I was up at early morning day two. I wanted to make sure they did not run out of water or that it was dirty.  I changed their paper towel litter and gave them fresh food and water. I have two chick waters and I am swapping them out frequently since their water warms up quickly from the 90 degree heat in the brooder.

I went on-line this morning to research what herbs new chicks could have and  at what age. I found a great article written by Susan Burek,  herbalist and owner of Mile High Herb Farm,  called Raising Chicks Naturally.  That same article can be accessed through the Poultry Natural Living Facebook group and then by going to the “files.” I whole-heartily recommend this herb based chicken group for additional learning and this article for anyone with new chicks who wants to do things as holistically as possible.

We are all off to a real good start!

Small House homesteader and chicken keeper, Donna