Top 10 Things You Need for Chicks

Before you go ordering your first baby chicks online (from a reputable seller) or bringing some home from your next Tractor Supply visit, there are some things you need!  It is very important that you have the correct essentials together before bringing the little cuties home.

Here is my complete Amazon list with everything (and more) in one convenient place!

Here are my top 10 thing you need to gather BEFORE bringing your chicks home:


  1. Proper Brooder: This is where your chicks will spend the first few weeks of their life, which are very crucial in their development. A brooder is a warm, enclosed space where you'll raise the baby chicks until they are ready to move to the coop. This can be a cardboard box, plastic tub, stock tank, or specialized brooder you find online. We have used a large clear plastic tub, and modified the lid. We carved out the center of the plastic lid, and attached hardware cloth (attached with wood and staples) where we removed the piece of plastic. We also took a large drill bit and drilled a few holes on the upper portions of each side of the bin. This will allow proper ventilation.

  2. Heat Source: Baby chicks require consistent warmth, especially during their first weeks of life. You can use a heat lamp if you choose, but do this at your own discretion. Heat lamps are a huge fire hazard, and not always the best at allowing your chicks to have a place to escape to if the brooder gets too hot. Cold kills chicks, but so does too high of heat! My personal favorite that I have had success with is a brooder plate. This is specially designed to be a certain temperature underneath the plate where the chicks can get underneath, as if under a mother hen. The legs are also adjustable to bring the level of the plate higher, which allows a slightly lower temperature to the chicks once they're growing. 

  3. Thermometer: A heat gun thermometer is necessary to monitor the temperature inside the brooder and ensure it stays within the recommended range for chicks, which is typically around 95°F (35°C) for the first week, decreasing by 5°F (2.5°C) each week until they are fully feathered.

  4. Bedding: In the first week of life, I highly suggest using paper towels as the bedding for your brooder. Just line the bottom with a few layers of paper towels. For the first week, this will allow your chicks legs to not become splayed, and make sure they aren't tempted to eat the bedding. After the first week, provide a suitable bedding material for the brooder, such as pine shavings, hemp bedding, or paper towels. Avoid using cedar shavings, as they can be harmful to chicks. You can use straw at your own discretion, a lot of people use this but I opted not to. Straw can have long fibers that, if allowed to get into their fragile systems early on, they can become impacted.

  5. Feeder: A chick feeder or shallow dish is needed to provide chick starter feed, which is specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of growing chicks.

  6. Waterer: A chick waterer or shallow dish filled with clean, fresh water is essential to keep chicks hydrated. Make sure the waterer is shallow to prevent chicks from drowning. You can also put small (clean) rocks or marbles in the water, to prevent drowning.

  7. Chick Starter Feed: Purchase a high-quality organic chick starter feed that is specifically formulated for baby chicks. This feed provides the essential nutrients and proteins needed for healthy growth. You can choose either medicated or non-medicated. We use non-medicated feed.

  8. Electrolytes and Vitamins: Adding electrolytes and vitamins to the chicks' water can help support their immune systems and overall health, especially during the first few days after hatching. We also like this brand of probiotics for the chicks' water.

  9. Lighting: Provide a light source in the brooder to simulate daylight hours and encourage healthy growth and activity. A regular light bulb or LED light can be used for this purpose. We have kept the brooder in a room with plants that have grow lights on an automatic timer. Just don't keep the chicks in a dark garage or barn 24/7.

  10. Bedding Heater or Pad: In addition to a heat lamp, a heating pad specially designed for use with chicks can provide supplemental warmth and comfort, especially during colder months. This is really only necessary if they are being kept in a cooler area. I will say, having this heating pad is nice when your are teaching your baby chicks to start eating!

Once you have all of these necessary items, go ahead and set up your brooder. Turn on your brooder plate and heating pad. Check the temperature before putting your chicks in. I suggest turning it on for at least a day or two before getting your chicks, this way you can be sure they are getting the proper heat they need!

Congratulations! Go get your new baby chicks!