Lesson 1169 – Getting Ready for Chicks


I recently got these questions from a reader from Washington who was planning on getting some chickens in January or February (that’s when they normally come in.)

1. Can you tell me if I can put dried herbs in their box with the red light?

2. Should I use Pedi lite in their water when getting them home..if so how much?

3. Should I use natural apple cider as a booster in their water, if so, how much and how often?

4. Should we de-worm them as they grow a little bigger?

Here is my reply:

Getting chicks in Jan/Feb is going to be tough as you will need to be extra sure to keep warm.

With regard to putting herbs in the box. I’m not convinced that herbs add anything other then a nice smell and some insect repellant help. That being said, it’s a very individual choice, some people swear by them, some don’t. I personally think that giving your chickens dried herbs to eat in the winter is like giving them supplements, no harm done and it might even be good.

Having said that though, I would hesitate to give herbs to chicks. Sometimes chicks don’t drink enough water (hence Pasty butt) and if you feed them dehydrated herbs, they might get constipated.

If you give them fresh herbs, you might be overwhelming their little systems. I’d hold off on all herbs until they are older.

As far as a red light, is that for warmth? If so, you don’t need to have red (although it won’t hurt.) Some people put lights in their winter coop to induce egg laying, that’s something I don’t recommend (unless you are a business and rely on eggs.) I figure if the chickens bodies are trying to rest during the winter then it best to let them rest.

Lastly, about lights, hot lamps in hen houses have started tons of fires, if you are going to use a lamp do not use a strong light (60 watts is usually enough) and make sure that it can’t be tipped over.

A healthy chicken or chick does not need Pedialyte. Save that for a chicken who is injured or sick. Chicks have an inner reserve and can go without food and water for the first 48 hours. I wouldn’t bother feeding or giving them water until you get them home.

Apple Cider Vinegar – another personal choice. Some people add it all the time to their chicken’s drinking water. We don’t use it.

A few bits of caution if you do use it:

  • Follow directions carefully and carefully measure what you are adding. I’ve heard stories of chickens having their beaks being eaten away by very acidic water.
  • If you use galvanized steel water feeders, be prepared for them to dissolve in the acid from the ACV, you might end up replacing the feeder every year.

Lastly, there is no need to de-worm unless you see worms or blood in the droppings. We’ve had our chickens for almost 6 years and have never had to de-worm.

Congratulations on your pending flock, good luck and let me know if you have any other questions.



Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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Filed under Mama Hen, Personal, Teaching kids, The Family

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