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Chick Care Instructions : A Guide to the Care of Baby Chicks

Download or Print Cackle Hatchery's Guide to the Care of Baby Chicks

Cackle's Safe Handling of Poultry Poster  (Salmonella Safety)

One thing to always keep in mind when you raise chicks year after year; you will always run into something different. Just because you did it one way one year and didn't experience any problems does not mean you will not experience problems in the future. For mail order baby chicks you want to always start the chicks in your home, then move them to your garage and then to a barn or coop.We have been doing this since 1936 and still experience new and different issues each year. Please follow our basic instructions and also feel free to contact us for further information.

Samples of Brooding Chicks


The Doctor is In!

"My Chickens Are Sick"  / "I Need A Chicken Doctor"

Although Cackle Hatchery®  is not a veterinarian we can provide you with some excellent information and chicken health advice below:

  1. Start out by reading Cackle Hatchery's  FAQ's , you will find many common questions and answers about chicken health concerns.
  2. Check out many of our books about chickens and Chicken Health Handbook.
  3. Check out Cackle Hatchery’s Poultry Diseases/Sickness and Treatments/Management  on our link page.

Poultry Diseases/Sickness and Treatments/Management


Fast Tips for Mail Ordered Chicks that may have had a stressful trip

  • Schedule your day so you can be around to monitor the chicks for the first 24 hours, and read the complete instructions “Care of Baby Chicks” before you receive the chicks.


  • Have the brooder already heated to 100°, because your chicks will not eat or drink unless their body temperature is 100°.  Make sure there is room for them to get away from the heat once they get warm.
  • Use 98° warm water for the first 2 hours, and dip their beaks in the water.  Sometimes a few chicks lack the will to thrive, so you will need to dip their beaks numerous times throughout first 3 days.
  • If using a wire mesh floor, put paper towels down for first 2 days so their legs will not get stuck in the wires.
  • Medicated feed does not have enough Amprol in the feed and we recommend doing a 7 day dose of Amprol in the water after the first day of arrival.  To quote Ben Franklin “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  Do not give vitamins when treating with Amprol because the B1 (thiamin) will negate the Amprol treatment.  After treatment we recommend keeping probiotics in the water to populate good bacteria in the gut to help aid digestive order.  Always change out new water mixture daily.
  • If your chicks arrive with eyes shut and eye lids swelled or red, this is a very rare issue.  Sometimes when chicks get stressed during shipping they peck at the shining black eye that stands out on light colored chicks. If this happens, dampen the eye 6 times a day with moist cloth and use triple antibiotic ointment on the skin part of eye.  Generally it takes about 5 days for the eye to heal and be clear.
  • Manure pasting up on the chicks rear end will back up the chicks’ bowels and kill them.  If this happens it is important to remove it in the morning and evening by using a moist cloth and gently wiping it off.  If the chick continues to have the issue after 2 days you may need to put some triple ointment on the red irritated skin.  Another idea is to take the chick starter feed and put it in a regular house hold blender and turn the chick starter crumble feed into a mash/powder.  This will aid in the digestion and reduce pasty butts on the chicks for first 3-4 weeks.

Session with the Chicken Doctor

One time consult fee with Peter Brown AKA "THE CHICKEN DOCTOR", a chicken expert with over 50 plus years of helping thousands of poultry enthusiasts with their poultry problems. Once paid we will send you a paid invoice with the phone number to call for your chicken problem consultation.

As a general rule Cackle Hatchery can help you with your baby chick care issues and the paid consultation can help you with started or grown poultry issues, diseases, vaccinations or more detailed chicken care issues.

There is no refund on the $25.00 fee paid and it can be used within 1 year of purchase (Monday-Friday).


Top 3 treatments for Baby Chick Health

Sulfadimethozine Soluble Powder

This soluble powder packet will treat 50 gallons of drinking water. Use for treatment of Infectious Coryza, Coccidiosis, Acute Fowl Cholera and Pullorum Disease. Recommended treatment period of 6 days.

Coccidiosis, infections Coryza, fowl cholera. 12% stock solution -1 pkg to 1 gallon. 2 Tablespoons stock solution to 1 gallon of drinking water. Hold eggs 2 weeks.

Poultry Probiotic DPP (water soluble)

It is much easier to prevent bacterial diseases than to treat them. Provide DPP at day-of-age, during times of stress, AFTER (NOT during) antibiotic therapy, monthly or continuously. At day-of-age when gut is sterile, DPP populates the gut with beneficial bacteria before pathogens can establish themselves.

Experts agree that a health gut flora is a huge part of the body’s immune system and can prevent 70% of attacking pathogens.

1/4 teaspoon per gallon of drinking water.

Amprol 128

Amprol - 10 oz water soluble powder coccidiostat. 10 oz packet will treat 80-130 gallons of water. Mix fresh each day and treat for 1-2 weeks at first signs of coccidiosis.