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Table of Contents

What are baby chicks good for?

There's a large, growing demand for baby chicks.  But they have dual purposes depending on who you speak with.  Anyone that practices homesteading will seek chicks to raise them as egg-layers, or to raise them as broilers.  And anyone who owns a python, boa, or other meat eating reptile or raptor will desire them for their protein.  Let's dig in whos in the market for baby chicks to be delivered to their home.

Egg-Laying Chicks

The most obvious reason to buy chicks online is to raise them for their eggs.  Our egg laying chicks will start laying eggs in about 18-20 weeks.  And from there, will lay, on average, about 6 eggs per week for the remaining year.  After that year, their productivity drastically decreases.  Many keepers choose to butcher their hens once their loose productivity.  But others decide to keep them, because even with their reduced productivity, they still provide enough eggs for a household.  

Getting top quality eggs isn't a challenging task.  And it's often easier than going to the grocery store.  Good food and routine feedings are key to growing your hen into a sturdy egg-layer.  But she'll benefit from more than proper calories.  Extra lighting can help her yield larger eggs too.  More light will cause your hen to mature more slowly, who will then gain more weight, who will then lay juicier eggs.

Broiler Chicks

Broiler chicks are specifically raised for their meat.  Owners who purchase broiler chicks do so with the intentions of butchering their chickens for meat after a specific age and size.  These chicks are fed a more protein-rich diet, which helps them grow more muscle and meat.  Many broiler chicks can lay eggs.  But they are not nearly as productive as our Novogen chicks.

Reptile and Raptor Food

Anyone in the reptile and raptor communities will know that baby chicks are an excellent food source for carnivorous reptiles and birds of prey.   The most common reptiles to devour chicks are:

Many snake owners will choose live baby chicks over rodents.  Baby chicks offer more protein and less fat compared to rodents.  This means they are a great feeder option for mature pythons and boas. 

Nutrients  Chicks Mouse (pinkie) Rats (neo natal)
Protein 68 61 58
Fat 21 30 27
Vitamin E 40.7 5.9 15.6
Calcium 2.5 4.8 8.7
Ca : P ratio 1.4 1.1 1.5


One drawback is that baby chicks do have high amount of phosphorus.  But this is largely due to their yolk sack.  Snake owners can physically remove the sack from the baby chick.  However, this will kill the chick.  The better option is to let the day old chick grow for about 1 week.  After 1 week, the yolk will be absorbed into the chick's body, and no longer an issue for the snake or reptile.  

Live prey for your pet

It's well known in the reptile community that rodents should not be offered to your pet snake.  A rodent has aggressive incisors, and will use them to defend itself.  Baby chicks are the opposite.  They are too underdeveloped to harm your snake or monitor.  So an owner can safely introduce a live chick into the snake's habitat.  The snake may not strike right away.  But this isn't a problem because the chicks will not pose a threat to the snake.  Instead, this will activate your snake's natural instincts to hunt and strike

Which Chickens are right for my climate?

Your climate will have some influence on which chicks are best for you.  Generally, if you are raising them in a climate-controlled environment, then you can select any breed.  However, if truly raising them as free-range birds is your mission, then you'd be better served to know which chicks do best in which climates.  Here's a guide we wrote that discusses which egg laying hens do best in which climates.

How do you Ship Baby Chicks?

how do we ship baby chicks

With care and experience.  Our baby chicks are shipped with the United States Post Office with their priority mail option.  This ensure the chicks arrive in 1-2 days after they are shipped.

Pennsylvania has an abundance of farmland suitable for farmland and live stock.  Our chickens are raised in at our main location in Pennsylvania and shipped all across the country.  We do guarantee live delivery and will replace any order that doesn't survive the transit.  

What should I do after I get My Live Chicks in the Mail?

Baby chicks are incapable of regulating their own body temperatures.  Which is why it's critical to have their brooder set up and ready for them.  

An excellent baby chick brooder will have these important elements:

  • heat
  • bedding
  • food and water


Sending baby chicks through the mail isn't the most comfortable experience for the chicks.  And they will be cold and scared after you receive them.  This is why it's critical  to have their heat source ready and available.  The most popular heating method for baby chicks are dome clamps with a heat light bulb.  These are inexpensive, and extremely easy to set up.  A 125w bulb with produce adequate temps of about 105 degrees F.  This is  a great temp for baby chicks, and is what they will require for about the 1st week of their lives.  

One drawback with the domes is that they can create a fire hazard.  And these heat lamps should be fitted with a red bulb so that the chicks are exposed to light 24 hours a day.  This can interrupt their circadian rhythm, which can have a negative effect on their egg production.

Alternative heating options to the dome is a heat plate.  Heat plates are much safer, but more expensive.  And some farmers look for a broody hen to provide natural heat for their chicks.  Their is the risk that the broody hen won't accept the chicks.  But this is the most natural way to raise baby chicks into healthy, product broilers or egg layers.


Aspen shavings and hemp are going to be the best bedding material for your brooder.  But These are not the only options.  Pine shavings, straw, and sand are acceptable options as well.  But each one has their own pros and cons which we discuss in greater detail in our bedding guide.  

Just as important, there is a list of bedding that should absolutely not be used for baby chicks.  Treated wood, cedar, or teak shavings can be toxic to the chicks.  Yes, they may smell nice, but the aroma can be noxious and kill them.  

The recommended depth for your bedding material is about 2".  This will provide enough insulation for the chicks.

Food and Water

Chicks will be dehydrated from the transit.  So it is important to have a dish of water available for them once they arrive.  This water should be warm, to help the chicks warm up after being in their 2 day transit.  

Something many new chick owners do after getting their chicks in the mail is dip their beaks into the warm water.  This will help train the chicks, and show them where to find the water source after they arrive.  

Food is critical.  And although we know chickens love live insects like black soldier fly larvae, we do not recommend offering them as their only food source.  Baby chicks will need specialty food.  This food can be located at local commercial feed mills.  Tell the mill what type of chicks you are raising (broiler or egg-laying), and they will have pre-mixed grains ready for your flock.

Chicks Eating Superworms - Video

Your baby chicks should only be fed starter food for the first 21 days of their lives.  After this, they will be hungry for more exotic meals like crickets, superworms, and mealworms.  Here is a feeding frenzy video of the 28 day old chicks devouring superworms:

can i feed my chickens insects

There is much more depth to tackle with food for baby chicks.  We recommend reading our feeder guide for baby chicks so that you can monitor their diets and ensure you're growing the healthiest chicks. 

Chickens Eating Crickets - Video

When your chickens grow older than 21 days old, they'll love to feast on jumpy insects that crawl around their coop.  Crickets are a great insect to offer your chickens because they can stimulate their prey-drive and provide satisfactory protein for their growing needs.  

How Fast will my Baby Chicks grow?

Here's the full breakdown for how fast baby chicks grow.  But for a quick and dirty summary,  From the first day they hatch, they're a flaccid 4" tall when standing, and covered in down feathers.  It's not until week 5/6 when they start to look like legitimate chickens.

1 Day Old Chicks

how fast do chicks grow

These baby birds just hatched!  They're not very curious just yet, but they are alert.  They will notice your presence.  And they're relentless peepers!

7 Day Old Chicks

1 week old chicks

After 1 week, the baby peeps will always be looking for something to peck.  They grow about 50% in height compared to the day they were born.  And their primary feathers are starting to bloom on their wings.  At this age, these chicks will start getting curious enough that you might need to make sure the wall heights for your brooder are tall enough to prevent them from jumping out.

12 day old chicks

At 12 days old, baby chicks can stretch to 7" tall.  At this age, they love to jump, and are growing large enough feathers to help them reach greater heights.   They still need to stay in a brooder at this age.  And if you don't have a roof over their brooder, you'll need to make sure their walls are large enough to prevent them from leaping out.  

28 days old (1 month)

At 1 month old, they are nearly fully feathered, and can stretch to just about 12" in height.  At this age, a chicken keeper can start to plan an outside coop, because the primary feathers are developed enough to keep the chickens warm during colder temps.  this means that you can also reduce your heater needs.  

Caring for Chickens in the Summer

Chickens will do fine in temperatures of about 75 degrees F.  But when temps exceed that, they will need to cool off.  They have biological mechanics to help them cool off; but these methods only go so far.  When it's too hot for chickens, they will open up their wings off their bodies.  And they will open their mouths and pant.  This is how they ventilate excessive heat.  

But if the temps start to get in the 90's and above, they will need assistance from their chicken keepers.  Shaded coops can keep your chicks out of the sun.  But it's important to offer them a place to cool down.  A kiddie pool with water is a great option.  But again, keep it shaded so the sun doesn't overheat the water.  And just as with any living creature, the health and safety of your chickens will be highly dependent on having water available.  There are other important factors to chicken keepers need to consider when protecting their chickens from the summer heat.

Caring for Chickens in the Winter

Being a chicken means you can tolerate the cold temps really well.  Layers of feathers are a great insulation, and can protect your body when winter temps are present.  But even the mighty chicken can be subject to frost bite when temps get into the single digits or lower.  This guide will demonstrate the preventive actions a chicken keeper can take when protecting their chickens from the cold.

One of the easiest steps a chicken guardian can do is provide a roof for the coop.  This won't necessarily keep the cold out.  But it will protect the chickens from snow.  If you're looking to protect the chickens from the cold, then insulation is a great way to help them.  Thick bedding material, and even insulating the walls will go along way to improve the comfort level of your chickens. 

How to protect chickens from predators

It should come as no surprise that chickens are on nearly everyone's dinner menu.  Raccoons, hawks, foxes and the neighbor's dog are all eyeing up your flock.  So it's important to take a few precautions to protect your chickens from predators.