Young chicken care

The chickens first hatched are to be taken from the hen, lest she be tempted to leave her task unfinished. They may be secured in a basket of wool or soft hay, and kept in a moderate heat; if the weather be cold, near the fire. They will require no food for twenty-four hours, should it be necessary to keep them so long from the hen. The whole brood being hatched, place the hen under a coop abroad, upon a dry spot, and, if possible, not within reach of another hen, since the chickens will mix, and the hens are apt to maim and destroy those which do not belong to them. Nor should they be placed near young fowls, which are likely to crush them, being always eager for their small meat.

The first food should be split grits, afterwards tall wheat; all watery food, soaked bread or potatoes, being improper; corn or mill-screenings (before the wheat is ground) will do. Eggs boiled hard, or curds chopped small, are very suitable as first food. Their water should be pure, and often renewed, and there are pans made in such forms, that the chickens may drink without getting into the water, which, by wetting their feet and feathers, daubs and injures them; a basin in the middle of a pan of water will answer the end; the water running around it. There is no necessity for cooping the brood beyond two or three days, but they may be confined as occasion requires, or suffered to range, as they are much benefited by the foraging of the hen. they should not be let out too early in the morning, whilst the dew lies upon the ground, nor be suffered to range over wet grass, which is a common and fatal cause of disease in fowls. Another caution requisite is to guard them against unfavorable changes of the weather, particularly if rainy. Nearly all the diseases of fowls arise from cold moisture.

For the period of the chickens' quitting the hen there is no general rule; when she begins to roost, if sufficiently forward, They will follow her, if otherwise, they should be secured in a proper place till the time arrives when they are to associate with the other young poultry, since the larger are sure to overrun and drive from their food the younger broods.

Access to a barn-yard for worms is good for them. A warm house for shelter in winter is very important for chickens.

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