How soon do you feed baby chicks after hatching

Hatching — Pennsylvania 4-H

When will the chicks hatch?
Chicken eggs should hatch 21 days after they first start in an incubator. (Remember that your eggs have already been incubated for 14 days before you receive them!) Other bird species have different incubation times. For instance, duck eggs take 28 days to hatch; goose eggs take 30 days. The hatching process actually starts about day 18, when the chicks start to prepare to break out of the egg. That is why you stop turning the eggs on day 18, and try not to disturb them.

What happens during hatching?
On the 18th and 19th day, the chick positions itself with its head back and its beak toward the air sac. It absorbs the rest of the yolk into its body for use as food after hatching. On day 20, the chick pierces the membrane into the air chamber. The chick breathes air for the first time, and you may hear the chick peeping inside the egg. This is called pipping. On the 21st day, the chick begins to break out of the shell. Using its egg tooth, it first pecks a hole through the shell. Then it pecks a circle around the end of the egg. The chick twists its neck and pushes with its feet and breaks the shell open. Healthy chicks accomplish this in a few hours.

Our chicks looked dead when they hatched. Was that normal?
Hatching out of the egg is hard work. The newly hatched chicks will be wet and tired and will look weak and exhausted. They should dry out and begin to move around within a few hours.

When should I take the chicks out of the incubator?
When the chicks are dry and fluffy and able to walk around, you can gently remove them to the brooder box. Move them in pairs because they like company. They can stay in the incubator for a day, so don't be concerned if the chicks hatch overnight when you are not at the school.

Should I help the chicks out of the shell?
Healthy chicks are able to hatch out all by themselves. Weak or sick chicks may not survive the hatching process. However, it is best to just let nature take its course.

Most of the chicks hatched yesterday. Will more chicks hatch?
The chicks that are going to hatch should all hatch within a 24-hour period. Even though you saw many live embryos when you last candled the eggs, that does not mean that all those chicks will hatch. There are a lot of changes that happen in the last three days before hatching, so many embryos do not make it through this process. You can leave the unhatched eggs in the incubator for another day, but if there are no signs of hatching, those eggs will not hatch. If you are sure they will not be hatching, you may wish to open the egg as a learning experience to see where development stopped.

When do the chicks start to eat and drink?
Newly hatched chicks may not need to eat or drink for at least 24 hours. One of the last things the chick does inside the egg is absorb the remaining yolk sac, which provides nourishment the first few days after hatching. Baby chicks can remain in the incubator for up to 24 hours without food because of this. Do remember, however, to provide both food and water for the chicks in the brooder box.

When Do Chicks Need Food And Water After Hatching?


This post may contain affiliate links, my full disclosure can be read here. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Your chicks have started hatching but you’re not sure what to do next you may be wondering when do chicks need food and water after hatching?

Chicks can safely stay inside the incubator for 24-48 hours after they have hatched. Once they have fully dried off they can be moved to the brooder where they will have food and water.

If you are new to raising baby chicks you probably have many questions about how to do it right.

You’ve waited a long time for your chicks to hatch and you want to give them the best start possible.

But sometimes what we think is the best choice to make might be the wrong one.

For example, you might think that it’s a good idea to feed newly hatched chicks right away. But opening up your incubator or removing the chicks from it too soon can actually cause harm to the chicks.

The truth is that chicks can safely stay inside the incubator for up to 48 hours so there is no rush to move them into the brooder.

How Do You Count The Time From Pip or Hatch?

Why Chicks Don’t Need Food Right Away

When Do Chicks Need Food And Water After Hatching

Feeding Chicks Hatched Out By A Hen

But Do You Have To Wait?

How Do You Count The Time From Pip or Hatch?

Newly hatched chicks in their brooder.

The hatching process goes through 3 stages. The first is the pip when the chick uses its beak to break a small hole in the shell.

The next is called the zip. This is when the chick works its way around the middle of the eggshell breaking a line open.

It starts from the pip hole and continues all the way around until the eggshell is weak enough to break open.

The final stage is when the chick finally breaks the shell open and has hatched. This is the time that they can stay another 24-48 hours in the incubator from.

You don’t have to leave your chicks in the incubator that long though. They do need to stay inside until they are fully dried off.

Why Chicks Don’t Need Food Right Away

During the hatching process chicks are slowly absorbing their yolk sack.

This provides moisture and nutrients for their first few days out of the shell. This means that newly hatched chicks can go 1-3 days without needing to eat easily if they have to.

This natural behavior helps the mother hen stay on the nest while the chicks hatch over a period of 24 to 36 hours.

Otherwise, she would have to leave the nest to teach the first chicks that hatched how to find food and water.

This would cause many healthy chicks to be abandoned in their shells before they had a chance to hatch.

So you can see that if you need to wait a day or two before removing the chicks from the incubator while you wait for the rest of the eggs to hatch isn’t a bad thing.

This is why it’s so easy for nurseries to ship day-old chicks all around the country without having to feed and water them in the shipping boxes.

When Do Chicks Need Food And Water After Hatching

A newly hatched yellow chick.

Once they have fully dried off and you move them to the brooder you will want to make sure you have food and water ready for them.

As you put each chick inside take a second to dip the tip of their beak into the water, then into the food. This helps to teach them where to find it on their own.

It’s very important that you use the right containers for young chicks. They aren’t the strongest little ones and it’s easy for them to drown in water containers that are too deep.

Feeding Chicks Hatched Out By A Hen

Caring for chicks that have been hatched out by your hens is the easiest because the mother hen does most of the work for you.

The mother will teach the chicks by talking and showing them what food they should be eating as well as how to drink water.

It’s best to still provide chick safe feeders and water containers. Water being the most important as chicks can easily fall into large containers and drown.

Place a shallow container filled with chick starting crumbles on the ground close to where the hen has her nest.

This will make sure the chicks have easy access to food as soon as possible without the hen needing to leave the nest before all the eggs have finished hatching.

But Do You Have To Wait?

It’s important to remember that although chicks can go a few days without eating when they first hatch out, that doesn’t mean they have to.

If all of your eggs have hatched in the incubator at the same time and the chicks have dried off it’s certainly ok to move them to the brooder and place food and water out.

The only real reason to wait on removing the baby chicks from the incubator is that opening it can lower the humidity inside.

That can cause chicks that are still in the process of pipping out to get shrink-wrapped. Basically, the membrane around them gets very dry and hard making it a much harder task for them to get out of the egg.

Just remember you don’t need to worry about feeding chicks as soon as they hatch. Let them fully dry off and wait until the rest of the chicks have hatched to move them to the brooder if possible.

Before your chicks hatch out make sure you have at least these things ready for them too.

Connect With Homestead Acres!

Be sure to follow me on social media, so you never miss a post!

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Twitter

Visit my Amazon store to find all my favorite gardening, homesteading tools, and gadgets plus all of my printed garden books and journals!


Kim Mills is a homeschooling mom of 6 and lives on an urban homestead in Ontario, Canada. Blogging at Homestead Acres she enjoys sharing tips to help you save money, grow and preserve your own food.


Rearing chicks after the hatchery

In the first hours of life, after the chicks have hatched, it is important to know everything about rearing the chicks after the hatchery. After the babies see the light, they must be immediately removed from the incubator and dried quickly. Chickens in the first hours of life are very weak and insecure. Therefore, you will need to create all the conditions for their comfortable existence, because you will have to replace them with a mother hen, which takes on all the duties and responsibility for adapting the “children” to the environment.

So, first put the chicks in a box, the walls of which should be about 50-60 cm high. Paper or a soft, lint-free cloth should be laid on the bottom so that small paws do not get stuck in the threads.

Optimal heating for raising chicks

After hatching chicks in the incubator, it is important to create the right and optimal temperature and light conditions for them. Heating and lighting must be provided around the clock. For heating, you can use heating pads, an incandescent lamp, or put a box near the battery. It is very important in the first days of the life of the chicks to control the temperature in their box. It must not exceed 29-30 degrees, but you don’t need to adjust even lower. To provide babies with the right light, poultry farmers recommend using infrared lamps. Their light is soft and even.

Watch the chicks: if they are constantly crowded and squeezed in groups in the corner, then they are definitely cold. If they are active, run around the box a lot, then the temperature suits them perfectly.

After the chicks get stronger and grow up, you can slowly reduce the temperature to 26-27 degrees, this should be done about five days after hatching. Then you can lower it by three degrees every seven days. When the chicks are one month old, the optimum temperature for them will be 18 degrees.

When do you start feeding hatched chicks?

Do not rush to feed chickens from the incubator in the first minutes of life. This moment was provided by nature. The chicken still has a residual yolk, which means that it will have enough energy for the first time. Chickens need to be fed 10-16 hours after you take them out of the incubator. There is reliable evidence that the chicks that received food in this time period show good productivity. Day-old chicks, when they first peck at something, digestion starts in their body. A few years ago, poultry farmers believed that egg yolk was considered the best food option for babies. But now it has been proven that day-old chicks should be fed less fatty foods. Judge for yourself, because the yolks are made of fat, which can adversely affect the delicate ventricle, and thereby overload the digestive system. Therefore, it is believed that corn grits will be the best food for chicks.

You can also find out what to feed hatchery chicks on the popular farming forums for poultry farmers, where farmers share their experiences and observations.

During the first hours of life, chicks should be fed with plain, purified water. Often farmers give them potassium permanganate, but in fact it is pointless. Because a small chick, after hatching, still has a sterile intestinal microflora. You can, if possible, pour decoctions of chamomile and yarrow into the drinker. What can really be useful for babies is a glucose solution. It can be a good prevention of anemia in chicks. As for the drinker, it should be small so that your wards cannot get wet there. It is undesirable to pour cold liquid into the drinker, it should be at room temperature.

Day-old chick feeding

The feeding of day-old chicks varies slightly during the first days of life. When the chicks are 24 hours old, they can begin to give semolina, wheat, barley groats and millet. You can also start feeding your chicks starter feed, which is enriched with all the necessary substances at this stage of life for proper development.

The diet is also changing, now it is worth giving food to chickens every 2 hours. Even at night, it is worth taking care of the chicks.

It is already possible to start pouring yogurt into the drinker for day old babies. Dairy products are an excellent source of calcium. You can also give not too fatty cottage cheese, stirring it with cereals for friability.

Day old chicks may not understand how to eat milk at first, so you may need to feed each one from the dropper.

Do not forget to give your wards and vitamins. Their presence in the diet will ensure the proper development of babies and protect them from diseases.

Small birds, with proper care and diet, begin to grow and grow stronger before our eyes. After three days, you can introduce greens into their diet - knotweed, green onions or dandelion leaves. Greens must be finely chopped, and fall asleep in the feeder, both in pure form and mixed with cereals.

Video on how to care for and feed chicks

In this video you can learn how to care for newly hatched chicks at home.

than feeding chickens from the first days of life at home


  • 1 Fundamentals of feeding chickens: What do beginners need to know
    • 1.1 Frequency Frequency
    • 2 Power supply and gibbet of chicks
      • 2.1 only hatched
      • 2.2 shall
      • 2.3 Weekly
      • 2.4 Two or more weeks
      • 2.5 Monthly
      • 2.6 Three months
    • 3 Video
    • 4 Conclusion

    You can get good hens only if the feeding of chickens from the first days of their life is carried out correctly.

    In poultry farms, the process of growing poultry is put on stream, then a beginner who raises chickens in his subsidiary farm may have numerous questions. As the bird matures, its diet changes and is supplemented.

    Day-old chicks

    Feed for chicks from the first days of life can be natural, combined (feed) or mixed. Its choice depends on the number of birds and the owner's ability to care for her.

    The best option is mixed feeding, which allows you to provide the chickens with everything they need.

    Chick Feeding Basics: What Beginners Need to Know

    The first question a new breeder asks is usually whether it is okay to feed the chicks immediately after the hatchery.

    The opinions of poultry farmers in this case are divided. Some believe that chickens still absorb the remains of the yolk and do not need food, while others are confident in the need to feed the babies. To answer this question, it is worth turning to veterinary data.

    This is what a chick just hatched from an egg looks like. The process can take from 2 hours to a day.

    Chicks, after the yolk is used up, for the correct formation of the digestive system and the straightening of the intestines, by all means need to eat.

    For this reason, not only water, but also a saucer with food must be placed in the box in which the babies will be kept. Chickens will peck themselves as soon as they feel hungry . Some will feed immediately after they dry out, while others - only at the end of the first day of life.

    Trying to force feed a bird should not be done .

    Feeding frequency

    Feeding frequency is very important. With natural feeding, products such as yogurt, cottage cheese and chopped eggs quickly deteriorate due to the increased temperature in the cage, and therefore they should be given in small portions every 2 hours . Anything left uneaten within 30 minutes should be removed.

    Hard-boiled chicken eggs are not included in the diet of chickens in the first days of life, believing that they can provoke diarrhea.

    There is also an opinion that the yolk is too fatty food for babies. Both statements are considered partially correct. Eggs alone should not be fed to chicks, but should be combined with other foods. They give eggs at the rate of 1 egg per 6 chickens per day.

    Chicks should have constant access to dry food (crushed grain).

    Feeding and watering the chicks

    The chicks should be watered from the incubator with boiled water, which is changed as it gets dirty. Access to water must be constant.

    As a means for the rapid formation of microflora, yogurt (home-made) or biokefir should be given to babies.

    In the event that fresh whey is available, it is good to prepare a wet mash of crushed cereals on its basis. Also, when using starter feed, you can slightly soak it in whey, but not more than 1 feeding per day.

    Newly hatched

    The first day after the chicks have hatched is an important stage in their development. Therefore, it is necessary to know exactly how to feed chickens from the first days of life at home.

    If the nutrition of the chicks is not correct during this period, then most likely this will cause their significant mortality (death).

    Since not all chickens will immediately peck at food, it is best to use crushed groats : wheat and barley. It will not deteriorate due to the high temperature in the cage, and the kids will not get poisoned.

    The chicks should be fed with clean boiled water, into which you can throw a little manganese, but only in such a volume that the liquid does not turn pink.

    It is also useful to add a few drops of glucose to the drinker. But dairy products should not be given yet. Also, do not get babies an egg as their first meal.

    Daily allowance

    Feeding chickens, starting from the first days of life, should be very varied and include not only cereals and dairy products, but also greens and protein foods. Day old chicks are fed at 2 hour intervals .

    Babies are given a mixture of cottage cheese and finely chopped hard-boiled eggs, as well as hard-boiled millet porridge and various crushed cereals.

    It is also necessary to provide a sufficient amount of vitamins, for which on the second day it is necessary to offer chopped green onions to the chickens (you do not need to take store-bought ones because of the high content of chemicals in it).

    Starting from the 4th day, finely chopped dandelion and wood lice grass should be added little by little to the food. Also, boiled chopped boneless fish and ground beef are being introduced as protein foods. This feeding continues for 7 days.

    Dry crushed groats must be available to chicks at all times. During the entire period, it is necessary to give babies kefir or yogurt.


    At the age of 1 week, chicks develop rapidly, depending on how they are fed during this period.

    Week-old babies at this time require the maximum variety of grains . They continue to be given dairy products. The egg can be excluded. It's time for the chickens to pour some coarse sand - it is needed for better digestion of food.

    In the same period they begin to give a small amount of vegetable and fruit waste (DO NOT confuse with rot!).

    If you plan to feed with compound feed, then you can start adding starter feed .

    Two weeks or more

    Starting at 2 weeks old, when the weather is good, the chicks are ready to go outside .

    The diet remains the same, but you can slightly reduce the portion of protein food, since the kids will get a fairly large number of insects and worms in the ground.

    They will also find greens on their own and can be left out of the mix.

    Poisonous plants should not grow in the areas where the chicks walk, as at this age the chicks cannot yet distinguish them from edible ones.


    Starting at 4 weeks, the chicks are gradually transferred first to medium (coarse) ground grains, and by 6 weeks to whole grains.

    Once a day they should be given a wet mash with bran, bone meal (it can be replaced with phytocalcivit for dogs), boiled vegetables, and not very salty leftovers from the table can also be added.

    In addition, grown-up chickens must always have ground shell for consumption.

    Learn more