It was more than 15 years ago, but I remember the day I brought my first chicks home. Four tiny chirping chicks depended on me for warmth, food, and protection, and I was really ill-prepared!
After reaching out to a local poultry farmer, I learned about the things that you need to raise chicks from a reliable heat source to keep them warm to the appropriate feed for healthy growth.
So, whether you want to start a poultry venture or raise your own backyard flocks, I’m here to help you by looking at the best chicken starter kits from heat lamps and brooders to essential poultry supplies so that you can successfully raise your new hatchlings.
Chicken Starter Kit Items
The absorbent aspen shavings are ideal for baby chicks offering a slightly rough texture to improve grip under their feet while proving easy to clean.
The litter by Kaytee Aspen is made from hardwood that is free from synthetic oils and chemicals that are harmful to hatchlings. The shavings are highly absorbent, preventing ammonia buildup from droppings.
Kaytee Aspen has very little dust and will not cause respiratory irritation to small animals including poultry, hamsters, gerbils, and reptiles.
- Easy to use
- No artificial additives
- High price
- Clingy material
- Lacks softness
The heat-dried material eliminates mites and bacteria while controlling pungent odors that are harmful to chicks and small animals.
The Small Pet Select Aspen Shavings consist of large-sized curls and wood bits offering better absorption.
The benefits of the larger shavings are odor control, and easy cleanup. It has less dust compared to finer textured products minimizing respiratory problems in poultry.
- Natural shavings
- Highly absorbent
- Minimizes odors from soiling
- Wood scent
- Large shards
- Rough texture
Easy to use and clean, the low-maintenance brooders are designed to house 15 chicks and comes with an adjustable light hanger.
The Farm Innovators Baby Chick Home consists of foldable plastic panels with hooks that connect each panel to form a corral.
In this review, I found that the Farm Innovators Chick Home Kit comes with an adjustable lamp hanger. Simply add a heat source and adjust the lamp height to keep baby chicks warm.
The kit is also easy to clean and store as the plastic can be washed to remove dirt and folded flat when not in use.
- Flexible design
- Thin plastic
- Only indoor use
- Cannot support heavy heat lamps
The interlocking panels are made from durable double-walled plastic that create a sturdy enclosure that is reusable and simple to clean.
The Premier Poultry Brooders are made from good quality plastic panels and are designed to fully enclose baby chicks up to 2-3 weeks of age.
The size of the structure is 37“ in diameter and is suitable for 6 baby chicks with adequate space for a feeder and waterer.
The smooth plastic material can be cleaned with warm water and extra panels added if you want to add more chicks or extend the area for a feeder and waterer.
- Dense plastic
- Easy to install
- Simple maintenance
- Small size
- Absence of light hanger
- Older chicks may fly out
Developed as a balanced feed for baby chicks, the Purina Chick Feed contains essential vitamins and minerals and is certified organic.
The Purina Organic Grower Feed is a great starter feed for the nutrition of new chicks as it contains 38 vitamins and minerals including calcium for strong bones and 18% protein for healthy muscle and feather development.
Purina Grower Feed is ideal for hatchlings up until laying age of 18 weeks. It is also a certified organic food which means that the feed is free from genetically modified organisms (GMO).
- Non-GMO chick feed
- Vitamin enriched food
- No hormones or antibiotics
- Small bag
- Excess dust
- Coarse granules
This non-GMO and all-natural chick feed is formulated for growing chicks and contains probiotics, prebiotics, and enzymes to encourage healthy digestion.
The Non-GMO Chick Crumble Feed is suitable for new chicks offering a quality feed that is all-natural.
This crumble feed is formulated for broiler chicks (meat birds) and includes 20% protein for muscle and weight gain.
The feed is certified non-GMO which means that the seed used to grow the grain and protein sources adhere to Non-GMO Project verification standards.
Keep up to 20 baby chicks warm and cozy with the heater and brooder in one that provides a consistent temperature while proving energy efficient.
The Brinsea Products Ecoglow Safety Brooders provide a consistent heat source for new chicks and consumes 5% less power at 12 watts compared to a standard bulb of more than 200 watts.
In our review of the Brinsea Products Ecoglow Brooders, we found that it doesn’t use a heat lamp but a metal warming plate that produces heat waves to distribute temperature.
- Simple to use
- Low maintenance
- Maintains uniform temperature
- Plastic design
- Chicks roost on the cover
- Roof height must be adjusted
The heating plate is designed to reach temperatures between 105 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit to keep young chicks warm much like the warmth provided by a mother hen.
The RentACoop 12×12” heating plate uses 22 watts of electricity compared to the 250 watts consumed by standard heat lamps. These heating brooders are designed for the safety of chicks and can keep up to 20 chicks warm at a time.
The RentACoop Heating Plate can be purchased with a cone-shaped lid to prevent chicks from roosting on top of it and soiling the roof.
- Easy to use
- Adjustable height
- Even temperature
- Plastic legs
- Difficult to clean
- Too small for 3-4 week old chicks
The dome shape and raised plastic bumps on the top of the waterer prevent chicks from roosting and soiling the cone.
The RentACoop Chick Waterer is designed for new chicks and consists of a freestanding plastic container that is screwed into a shallow dish allowing water to fill the bottom.
You can use the handle on the RentACoop Waterer for raising it off the ground to prevent chicks from soiling it. Containers with chick feed can be hung too.
- Easy to fill
- Low maintenance
- Quick to assemble
- Thin plastic
- Very small size
- Constant refilling
The glass jar is connected to a wide yet shallow base allowing at least 4-5 baby chicks to safely drink water at once.
The Little Giant Chick Waterer consists of a good quality glass mason jar and galvanized metal base that is rust-resistant and a sure sign that it will last longer than plastic chick waterers.
The Little Giant Chick Waterer holds one quart of water and won’t consume much space in the coop. The images of the waterer reveal a shallow design to prevent baby chicks from drowning. You can purchase a feeder separately for young chicks.
- Durable metal base
- Easy to clean and fill
- Curved edge prevents injury
- Very small jar
- Slow water release
- Difficult to screw lid on
The Grogel Plus supplement for chicks provides a nutritional boost, hydration, and good bacteria for healthy digestion and growth.
Dawe’s Grogel Plus B is specially formulated for day-old chicks consisting of essential nutrients, vitamins, and electrolytes to give hatchlings energy and help them develop into strong chicks.
In our review of the Grogel Plus, we found that the powder is easy to mix with water creating bite-sized gel pieces to attract young chicks to feed, reducing the risk of illness or dehydration.
- Simple preparation
- Nutrient-rich formula
- Easy for chicks to consume
- Contains fish meal by products
- Forms clumps
- Artificial colors
The food-grade powder is a natural pest repellent for chicks and can be safely applied inside brooders to protect chicks against mites and lice.
- Safe for the coop
- Chick feed supplement
- Natural cleaning solution
- Creates dust
- Earthy scent
- Adheres to fabric
Measure the temperature inside incubators and brooders with the mercury-free thermometer that is not only accurate but also easy to use.
The Little Giant Incubator Thermometer Kit makes it easier to measure the temperature inside incubators and brooders because of its flat shape and clear graduation marks.
The thermometer does not use mercury for measurement but alcohol and kerosene as a safer alternative. The Little Giant Incubator Thermometer has a flat backing to place on top of eggs and measures 5.5 x 4.5 inches for ease of use inside an incubator.
- Easy to use
- Clearly graded
- Safer than mercury thermometers
- Requires careful handling
- Unsuitable for egg turner incubators
- Doesn’t measure extremes in temperatures
What is a Chicken Starter Kit?
A chick starter kit contains the most important poultry supplies that you need as a first-time chicken keeper to care for young chicks. Essential chick supplies include food, brooders, heaters, a feeder, and waterer for raising healthy and strong birds.
What Comes in a Chicken Starter Kit?
Let’s take a look at some essential chick supplies whether you want to start a poultry business or raise backyard chickens.
Pine shavings along with straw are good choices for litter because they are absorbent, affordable, and retain warmth. It is large enough not to be confused with feed.
Pine shavings help control odor in brooders because of their absorbency and natural wood scent.
Types to Avoid
Avoid newspapers because chickens slip and injure themselves on the smooth surface.
Pine shavings should not be chemically treated to protect chicks from toxins.
Slippery surfaces can lead to an injury of the leg tendons called spraddle or splay legs in chicks leaving them unable to walk.
Indoor brooder panels are great for first time chicken owners because it is easy to set up and provides enough space for a feeder, and waterer. You can find images online of how these panels are configured in different sizes and materials.
Hatchlings should be provided 6-7 square inches of space per chick.
Plastic is favored for brooders because it is easy to clean and can be reused. Cardboard is another common material but gets soiled by feed and droppings unless thick layers of pine shavings cover the floor.
Non-GMO chick feed refers to the absence of genetically modified organisms to grow the raw ingredients that are used in chicken feed.
The non-GMO label on food for poultry is a sign that none of the feed ingredients have been genetically altered.
Medicated vs Non Medicated Feed
Medicated feed contains antibiotics and is provided to baby chicks against infections such as Coccidiosis. Medicated starter feed provides the extra protection their immune systems need especially in unvaccinated chicks.
Chicks can chill and die very quickly, so you need a reliable heat lamp to keep them warm.
The ideal temperature for chicks under the heat lamp is 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
A standard heat lamp or bulb can be placed above brooders to keep hatchlings warm. Huddling is a sign that chicks are cold and need extra warmth.
Heating plates are considered safer than a regular bulb because it uses electronic waves to warm chicks and distributes the temperature evenly.
Chick waterers should have a shallow base or trough as a small chick can easily fall into a waterer and drown if it’s too deep.
For the first week of a chick’s life, floor temperatures in brooding boxes need to remain at 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit. A thermometer helps monitor temperature to prevent hatchlings from chilling.
Add supplements in their diet in powder and liquid form to boost the immune systems and energy levels of hatchlings.
Setup brooders by looking at images of boxes, tubs, or panels based on the number of chicks you are keeping. Online images can help with the correct size and layout of brooders.
While looking at brooders for this review, I found images of boxes and tubs made from cardboard and plastic panels. You can also build your own brooders by looking at images of coops but always include enough space for their food and water.
Rearing chicks is incredibly rewarding but you need the right supplies to keep them healthy and strong during the most critical stages of their development. Be sure to include nutritious starter feed, litter such as pine shavings, and a reliable heat lamp. You can also build brooders using images online.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this review of the best chicken starter kit and that you feel prepared for the arrival of your new chicks. If you know someone who is interested in raising poultry for the first time, please share these helpful tips with them.
Congratulations on starting your poultry venture!