Want to breed your own insects? Check out our YouTube Channel for video tutorials.

Handling Baby Chicks and Chickens: A Guide to Health and Safety

Posted by Critter Depot on

Table of Contents

Raising chickens, whether for egg production or as pets, can be an immensely rewarding experience. Baby chicks with their soft downy feathers and chirping sounds can melt anyone’s heart, while adult chickens are a source of endless fascination and productivity. However, to ensure the well-being of these birds and your own health, it’s critical to adopt safe and sanitary practices. Here's a comprehensive guide to handle your chickens safely.

1. Starting with the Chicks:

  • Gentle Handling: Baby chicks are fragile. Always handle them gently, scooping them up with both hands and holding them close to your body. This minimizes stress and keeps them calm.

  • Minimal Handling: During the first few days, limit handling. The chicks are adjusting to their new environment and need to stay warm under their heat source.

  • Monitor Health: Regularly check for any signs of disease, injury, or lethargy. Early detection ensures timely intervention and prevents the spread of potential diseases.

2. Adult Chickens:

  • Approach Slowly: Chickens are prey animals, and a sudden approach can startle them. Approach slowly and with calm movements. Over time, they'll get used to your presence.

  • Correct Hold: To pick up an adult chicken, approach from the side. Slide one hand under its chest between the legs, letting its legs dangle between your fingers. Use the other hand to support the wings, preventing them from flapping.

  • Regular Inspection: Periodically inspect your chickens for any external parasites, injuries, or signs of illness. This helps in early diagnosis and treatment.

3. Sanitation is Key:

  • Hand Hygiene: Whether you’re dealing with baby chicks or adult chickens, always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling. This reduces the risk of transmitting diseases like salmonella.

  • Footwear: Consider having a designated pair of boots or shoes for the coop. This prevents the spread of pathogens from outside environments into the chicken area.

  • Clean Coop: Ensure the coop is cleaned regularly. Remove droppings, refresh the bedding, and clean the feeding and watering equipment. A clean coop is less likely to harbor harmful pathogens.

  • Quarantine New Birds: If you introduce new chickens to your flock, quarantine them for at least 2-3 weeks. This ensures they are not carrying any diseases that could infect your existing flock.

4. Safety Measures for the Birds:

  • Secure Housing: Protect chicks and adult chickens from potential predators. Ensure the coop and brooder are secure, with no gaps or weak points. Consider using predator-proof latches.

  • Temperature Regulation: Baby chicks need a heat source. Start with a temperature of 95°F for the first week and reduce by 5°F each subsequent week. Ensure the chicks can move closer or away from the heat source as needed.

  • Safe Equipment: Use equipment designed for poultry to reduce the risk of injury. For example, use chick feeders and drinkers that prevent drowning or injury.

5. Human Safety:

  • Protective Gear: If you're cleaning the coop or dealing with a sick bird, consider using gloves and a mask. This provides an added layer of protection against potential pathogens.

  • Children and Chickens: Educate children on how to handle chickens gently. Always supervise young kids around chicks and adult birds.

  • Vaccinations: Some chicken diseases can be prevented with vaccines. Consult with a vet about recommended vaccinations for your flock.


Raising chickens is a delightful venture, bringing you closer to nature and providing fresh eggs. However, as with any animal, it's crucial to prioritize their health and safety as well as your own. With proper handling and strict sanitation measures, you can enjoy the company of your feathery friends and ensure they lead healthy, productive lives.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published