As with any pet, it is important to plan ahead and purchase any equipment and supplies you will need before you bring home the actual animal. This is especially important with baby chicks.
If you plan on purchasing newborns or one week olds, you will first of all need to have a heat lamp and a heat lamp bulb to go with it. The heat lamp should be up and running before you bring the chicks home so that they can immediately warm to the right temperature after their car ride. When setting the heat lamp up, do not rely on just the clamp that comes with the fixture. Use mechanics wire to hang and secure the lamp over the brooder. The lamp should be able to be raised or lowered as needed to keep the chicks at the right temperature. This temp should be around 85-90 degrees when they are very young. Use their behavior as a guide. If they are too cold they will huddle under the lamp and cry. If they are too warm they will try and get as far away from the bulb as possible. You want them comfortably moving to all parts of the brooder.
I bulb should be a red infrared variety. I think those are the best so that the chicks can experience a night time cycle. It can also keep down the pecking of each other that can occur when there is the stress of constant daylight.
Any type of a tub can become a brooder. You will need to line the brooder with animal bedding to absorb moisture. I use pine shavings. I change the bedding about once a week and throw the used bedding on my garden to act as a mulch and fertilizer.
Your silkie chicks will also need a feeder and a waterer. Quart size is best when they are small chicks. Later you can get the gallon sized. I like to add a couple of things to the water for the silkie chicks. Vitamins with electrolytes can be added to give them a good start. I also add a splash of apple cider vinegar to help with digestion and general health.
Young chicks should be given chick starter until they are at least 10 weeks old. They can eat it longer than that, but you may want to switch to a grower feed. Chick starter is high in protein. Use medicated until they are around six weeks old and then switch to regular chick starter. Medicated can help their developing immune system to fight coccidiosis.
On my website near the top, there is a page called Silkie Supplies. There are some suggested products there to guide you in deciding what you need to start in silkie chickens. Good luck with your new pets!
For tips and tricks for raising outstanding silkies check out our Chicken Learning Center at VJPPoultry.com . VJP Poultry is an NPIP and state inspected hatchery located 30 miles north of St. Paul. We hatch out silkies all year long so we always have stock available. Like us on Facebook to get weekly updates on what we currently have for sale.
Victoria J. Peterson