How Baby Chicks Will Change as They Grow into Adult Chickens

White Leghorn chickRaising chickens from baby chicks is one of the most rewarding experiences a backyard poultry keeper can have. Watching these tiny, fluffy balls of energy grow into full-sized hens and roosters is not just fascinating; it’s educational. However, as they grow, chicks undergo several changes, not just in size but in their behavior, dietary needs, and appearance. Here’s what you can expect as your baby chicks transform into adult chickens:

Physical Growth and Development

The most obvious change you will notice in your chicks is their size. Baby chicks grow rapidly, and within just a few weeks, they’ll begin to lose their downy fluff and start sprouting their first feathers, a process known as feathering out. This change typically starts at the wings and tail before covering their entire body. As they mature, their comb and wattles will start to develop, becoming more prominent and taking on the vibrant reds that signify a healthy chicken. Depending on the breed, by 18 to 20 weeks, your chickens will have reached their adult size and appearance.

Behavioral Changes

As chicks grow, their behaviors will evolve. Initially, they’ll need warmth and will huddle together for security. As they grow, they’ll become more adventurous and independent. You’ll start to see the pecking order establish itself within the flock. This social structure is crucial for peace within the coop. Hens may become more vocal, and if you have roosters, they will begin to crow and take on a protective role over the flock.

Dietary Shifts

Young chicks begin life needing a high-protein starter feed designed to support their rapid growth. As they transition into adulthood, their dietary needs shift. Around the age of 18 weeks, or when they start laying, you should switch to a layer feed, which has less protein and more calcium to support egg production. It’s crucial to make this transition at the right time to ensure your flock’s health and productivity.

If you’re ready to enter this world and are looking for high-quality baby chicks to raise into adulthood, Chickens for Backyards is here to help. Offering more than 100 breeds of baby chicks, ducks, geese, turkeys, and guineas, we have everything you need to begin your backyard poultry adventure. Contact us today to learn more about the poultry options we offer.