All you need to know about your chicks' needs

The growth cycle of a chick

Chicks quickly find their feet in the hen house. Their behaviour and physical traits mean that they can quickly blossom in the ‘adult’ world.
For chicks, everything happens before the egg hatches. It has to prove itself even inside its shell. Chicks need 21 days to develop inside their eggs. Laying hens are important as they provide the warmth and moisture than the chick needs. Did you know that if you listen carefully to the egg on the 18th day, you can already hear it cheep. Then three days later, the tip of its beak finally appears! It takes chicks 30 minutes to 4 hours to emerge from their eggs. What happens once the chick emerges from its shell? Well, quite simply, it leaves the nest and starts getting acquainted with everyday life.

The vet's advice

The fact that a chick leaves the nest once born can be surprising. But there is a simple explanation. Chicks are nidifugous. This means that chicks begin and complete their growth in the egg. Once they hatch, they are mature enough to live independently. They are also clean very quickly and can eat without assistance. All the fluffy chick needs next is a bit of time to become a fine-feathered bird.”

Small size but a big appetite

Behind this sweet little thing hides a real glutton that requires you to painstakingly meet its every last nutritional need.
The first weeks are crucial and require a close eye. The chick finishes its development at this point. In terms of diet, your chicks must have all the proteins they need. These proteins help it develop its organs, muscles and feathers. You can find pre-prepared poultry mixes containing all the necessary nutrients. Gasco’s Cot&Co range provides chicks with an all-in-one, crumbed mix. An alternative solution is for you to create your own mixes, with damp bread, hard boiled eggs, or even add leaves. After three to four weeks, you can add cereals to your mix, such as wheat, maize, bran, barley or oats. One last, but vital, thing is to make sure that feeders are well-placed and at the right height so that the chicks can easily reach them.

The vet's advice

Keeping male and female chicks together can prove difficult, in terms of feeding them. Male chicks have such an appetite that they sometimes prevent female chicks from reaching feeders. After giving them something to eat, don’t hesitate to stay for a little while to make sure that all the chicks are eating properly. This competition over food can harm the development of female chicks, so it is especially important to keep a close eye on them during this period. You do, however, have to wait several weeks before you can spot the difference between male and female chicks. For more rustic breeds, sexual dimorphism appears later, at 8 to 12 weeks. When this happens, you need to check that all chicks can reach the feeders, regardless of gender. “