• 70°

Some basics if you want to raise chicks

By Morgan Watts

N.C. Cooperative Extension

One of the hottest commodities right now is chickens. If you talk to the feed stores in the county, baby chicks are going faster than normal.

Most hatcheries are booked out until summer, so this is a good time to go over the basics of raising chicks.

Some of the items you will need to get started: a heat source, feeders and waterers, a dry and safe place from predators, brooder/box/container, and a thermometer.

When it comes to picking out a container, you need to make sure it has tall sides and a screen cover. I prefer to use something oblong shape; that way, the chicks can move away from the heat source if needed. For bedding material, I typically use pine shavings.  When it comes to temperature, make sure it is 95 degrees for the first week and then, you can drop it 5 degrees each week. Just don’t go lower than 70 degrees. It is recommended to keep your brooder box in a warm, dry area away from drafts. Consider the temperature fluctuations and ventilation of the area.

When it comes to a feeder and waterer, I normally start out with something small like a peanut butter or mayonnaise lid and then after a few days, I will upgrade to a larger size chick feeder and waterer.

Keep in mind the feeder and waterer should not be next to each other, and the waterer should be away from the hear source.

Once you have the chicks, it is recommended that you spot clean the brooder daily and do a full clean weekly. By full clean, I mean replacing the bedding, washing down the sides with soapy water, taking apart and cleaning feeders and waterers.

Finally, I get a lot of questions about space needed for chicks. It is recommended that chicks up to 4 weeks old have half a square foot per bird of floor space, and chicks 4-8 weeks of age have 1 square foot per bird of floor space.

If you have questions about raising chicks or backyard poultry, email to Morgan Watts, Livestock Agent, N.C. Cooperative Extension, Rowan County Center at amwatts@ncsu.edu or call at 704-216-8970.

About Post Lifestyles

Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalPostLifestyle/ and Twitter @postlifestlyes for more content

email author More by Post



Rowan County’s COVID-19 death toll tops 40 for September


Catawba-Wingate football game canceled


Blotter: Sept. 24


Crowd turns out to raise money for hospitalized sheriff’s deputy


COVID-19 death tally continues rising, now at 391 in Rowan County


‘No winners’: Mason found guilty in fish arcade murder trial


Dixonville task force working to engrave names, quotes at cemetery


Stage set for COVID-19 booster shots


Family finds unknown woman’s body in mother’s casket


A third of workers in Cooper order not vaccinated


Remains of WWII soldier from North Carolina identified, will be buried in Robeson County

High School

State officials reach deal on prep sports governing, but details remain to be worked out


Mason found guilty in deadly fish arcade shooting


Blotter: Men stripped, robbed en route to buy beer


Jury begins deliberations in Fishzilla murder case


East Rowan culinary students feed staff who helped build new classroom

Local Events

Rowan County Fair makes pandemic return Friday with COVID-19 protocols in place


Education briefs: Schultz selected to NCDPI’s Teacher Leadership Council


Catawba to induct six into Blue Masque Hall of Fame


Cavs After Hours: A new tutoring space at North Rowan




Salisbury Police: Toyota Prius is most popular target for catalytic converter thieves


Salisbury City Council will vote on whether to exempt Goodwill developer from setback requirements


Rowan Sheriff’s Office holding fundraiser for deputy hospitalized with COVID-19