Baby chickens are typically available for sale from local feed stores, poultry associations and through online hatcheries. Some popular online hatcheries include the Meyer Hatchery, the Murray McMurray Hatchery, the Welp Hatchery, Stromberg's, and MyPetChicken.com.
MyPetChicken.com is the ideal hatchery for a chicken hobbyist. It offers a wide variety of breeds in sexed and straight-run, day-old chicks. Depending on the time of year and buyer's distance from the hatchery, the company offers minimum orders as low as three chicks. The website also has a comprehensive selection of supplies and provides excellent tutorials on raising chicks and caring for chickens.
Supplies needed for raising chicks include a brooder with top netting, heat source, absorbent bedding, and food and watering supplies. A brooder can be as simple as a cardboard box, as long as it allows at least two square feet per chick. The brooder should be kept in a safe, draft-free place. A one-inch layer of absorbent bedding, such as pine shavings, should cover the bottom of the brooder and be cleaned weekly.
Baby chicks need to be kept warm. MyPetChicken.com recommends a 250-watt infrared heat lamp with a red bulb that provides an air temperature of 95 degrees at two inches above the floor. The temperature should be reduced five degrees per week until the chicks are ready to move outside.
Chicks require frequent care and monitoring for the first four weeks of life and need checking at least five times per day. They should have constant access to food and water. The chick waterer may need to be cleaned and refilled frequently. Chicks should have access to eat as much chick starter feed as they wish to eat. Grit such as sand, canary gravel or parakeet gravel should be available in a small bowl at all times.