You just bought your first set of chicks and you are super excited, though a little bit nervous because you do not want to make any mistakes. You hear your chicks chirping constantly and you are worried. It is normal for first-time chicken owners to be worried over their chicks making loud chirps.
Your chicks could be chirping for a variety of reasons. Often chirping signals that the chicks are experiencing one of many emotions including being: too cold, too hot, hungry, thirsty, excited, alarmed, afraid, or even sick.
In this article, we will guide you on raising your chicks to be comfortable. Possible reasons why your chicks are chirping will be listed, and extra tips will be given.
Here are some reasons your chicks may be chirping and how to fix it.
1. They Are Feeling Too Cold
Your chicks might chirp loudly when they are feeling too cold. Here are other ways you can tell when chicks are feeling too cold:
- When they are all under the heat lamp: If your chicks are all under the lamp and chirping loudly, they are telling you that they are feeling too cold. You can increase the heat of the brooder by lowering the heat lamp down a few inches or increasing the brightness of the heat lamp. Make sure that it does not get too hot for the chicks.
- When they huddle and chirp loudly: Huddling birds is an indication of low temperature (or not enough heat). If your chicks are huddling and chirping, add another heat lamp to the brooder to increase the heat.
Even though birds are endothermic (i.e., they are warm-blooded and produce heat), newly hatched chicks are not fully developed to produce sufficient heat for themselves, so a source of heat must be provided.
Newly hatched chicks require temperatures of about 90°-95°F in their first week. As they grow, you should reduce the temperature of the brooder by 5°F weekly.
2. They Are Feeling Too Hot
As earlier stated, birds will chirp loudly when the temperature is not right. When the brooder is too hot, your chicks will spread out to the edges of the brooder (i.e. far away from the source of heat). You will also see them pecking at each other when they are hot. Chicks feeling too hot will pant and eat less.
Since you are new to raising chicks, you should have a thermometer nearby so that you can monitor the temperature in the brooder. You should also know the age of your chicks so that you can give them the best temperature for their age.
3. Your Chicks Are Hungry
When all (or most of) your chicks are chirping loudly and you notice that they are out of food, give them feed immediately so that they do not starve.
You should not allow their feed to run out before you give them extra feed. Chicks develop very fast and need quality and constant nutrition to grow into healthy adults.
Free-feeding chicks is always a good idea. This makes sure that each chick in the brooder can get as much food as they want. You don’t have to worry about them overeating.
4. Your Chicks Are Thirsty
Do not allow the water in your brooder to run dry. Chicks need a lot of water to grow. Without water, they will get dehydrated and that can cause issues in any species, but is especially detrimental for babies.
In their brooder, provide sources of water by hanging water bottles (with nipples that the chicks can peck on to drink water) or by providing ground waterers.
Make sure that the water is always fresh. Water in waterers placed on the bedding should be changed regularly because it is exposed and chicks can perch on the sides of the waterer then poop into it.
If you are using water bottles with nipples, make sure that all your chicks have learned to use them before you leave the brooder.
Check the water level frequently. New chick owners often underestimate the amount of water chicks will drink. It also isn’t uncommon for them to knock a water bottle over completely.
5. They Are Alarmed or Alerted
If your chicks are standing on a specific spot in the brooder, chirping, and they are all looking towards a specific direction, they could be afraid of something they see, or they are afraid of a disturbing noise outside the brooder.
When your chicks look alarmed or alerted, you need to investigate what is happening. It could be a rat prowling around (yes rats will eat chicks), or just something out of the ordinary they view as a threat.
6. There is a Draft
When there is a draft and cold wind is entering into their brooder, your chicks will chirp loudly and run away from the point where the wind enters. Drafts make chicks very uncomfortable so they will try as much as they can to avoid them.
Since you are new to growing chicks, do not place their brooder on a location where wind can reach it. Also, line your brooder with a paper towel or newspaper. Remove your chicks from a brooder with holes.
7. They Are Just Excited
Chickens are flock animals. They love sticking together and generally pick up behaviors from others. When your chicks hear chirping, they too will chirp in return. When they are excited, active, and playing, you will hear a lot of chirps.
8. Could a Chick be Sick?
If a chick is chirping slowly with eyes closed, it needs your attention. If it is sick, you will need to isolate it so that it will not spread a disease to others.
When isolated, the chick should be provided with food, water, and just the right amount of temperature it needs (remember that their temperature requirement is determined by their age). You should meet or call a vet to advise you on what to do with the sick chick.
We hope that you can find the reason why your chicks are chirping loudly. I am pretty sure that they are chirping because they are excited. Do not worry, as you get more experience in raising chickens, you will know the meaning of different sounds they make and why they make those sounds.
Now let us discuss other useful tips that will help people like you who are new to raising chickens.
Useful Tips to Make Your Chicks Comfortable
Provide a Feather Duster
Chicks love feather dusters because they feel safe in it. When your chicks go under a feather duster, they may stop chirping. A feather duster increases the comfort of your chicks and gives them a place to run to when they are scared (just like they run to their mama).
Be careful with feather dusters and remove them when your chicks get a bigger. Feather dusters have been reported to entangle the legs or necks of excited and happy chicks. When your chicks are become very active and used to their home, remove the feather duster.
Encourage Foraging Behavior
You can keep your chicks busy and teach them how to forage by sprinkling some crumbles on their bedding.
Teaching your chicks how to forage is essential because when they get older, they can find extra food on the ground. Do not stop giving feed to your chickens even though they have learned to forage.
Do Not Raise Just One Chicken
As earlier stated, chickens are social and need to be around other chickens to be happy. Your chick will appreciate you and will be happier when you give it companions.
We advise that you raise 3-5 chicks for your first time so that they will have companions and you will learn how to raise chickens.
Line the Brooder with Used Towel or Blanket
To prevent the brooder from getting cold, line it with a towel. You can use an old towel or you may decide to get a new one. Lining the brooder also prevents drafts.
Make sure than what you are lining the brooder with does not have any loose thread of part that your chicks can swallow. Your chicks are young and think that they can eat anything smaller than their beaks. Cut off any loose part from the lining before you use it.
After a few weeks or when your chicks get bigger, use hay or newspaper as the bedding of the brooder. The floor of a chicken coop is usually covered with hay or newspaper because they absorb chicken poop easily and can be composted. Introduce hay to your chicks so that they will get used to it before they are taken to their coop.
Chicks are tender, cute, and require extra care. Provide your chicks with food, water, temperature, and love. Don’t get worried much when they chirp so loudly because they may just be playing or are excited. As you gain more experience, you will be able to tell the reasons for some chirps.
Remember to visit or call the vet when you do not understand what is happening to your chicks. We wish you the best experience with your chicks.