In addition to wildflowers, baby animals are popping up everywhere—then if you’ve had a baby boom at your house, it’s important to know how to care for these fragile new lives. Here are 10 mistakes to avoid making with your just-hatched or wet-behind-the-ears newborns:

1. Not putting some type of netting or chicken wire over your chick brooder. Baby chickens are actually pretty good at flying!

2. Letting it get too hot or too cold. Most chicks, ducklings and goslings require a fairly warm environment at first. You’ll need to adjust the heat lamp to decrease temperature gradually until it’s time to move them outside.

3. Feeding baby goats and sheep too little if mom is not available. Kids and lambs need four bottle feedings per day for the first month to mimic natural nursing behavior. After that feedings can be reduced to three times per day.

4. Giving dry feed to ducklings and goslings. Wet and kind of soupy is best, because it helps keep them from choking. Finely chopped fresh greens in their water is a good idea as well.

5. Forgetting a “night light”. A motion-sensor-activated light will deter nocturnal predators and gives you a quick lighting source in the evening if you need to check on your babies.

6. Not separating baby goats and sheep from adults. Kids and lambs need a clean, draft-free shelter with lots of bedding and should be housed individually or in a small group to avoid exposure to other animals that could be carriers of infectious disease.

7. Using regular bowls and pans to feed and water chicks. Purchasing a chick feeder and watering station is a good investment because it is very easy for chicks to get submerged in anything deeper. These type of feeders and waterers are ok to use for ducklings and goslings as well—but only for the first couple of weeks. After that, they’ll need something deeper.

8. Skipping vaccinations. All young poultry should be vaccinated against Marek’s disease. Kids and lambs are susceptible to a variety of infectious illnesses and should be inoculated as well.

9. Letting water troughs get too dirty. Water troughs and stations for all baby animals should be cleaned daily—and in the case of chicks, probably more often, as they tend to be quite messy.

10. Letting your animals roam at night. Most predators are nocturnal, so keeping your livestock, and especially your baby animals locked up at night or close to the house is a good deterrent.

Having baby animals around is always fun and exciting for the whole family. However, be sure to supervise children at all times when interacting with any animal, young or old. Maintaining good hygiene, including washing hands after handling and feeding baby livestock, is best to help prevent the spread of any diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans.

As always, if you have questions or need assistance with your new kids, lambs, chicks, ducklings or anything else, don’t hesitate to call us at 303-838-4677. We’re here to help!