Do Baby Chickens Sleep A Lot? (Should you worry about it?)


For those who are actually beginners in keeping poultry, one of the most important things that they need to learn more about is the behavior of the baby chickens or the chicks. That’s because the chicks are the lifeblood of the entire poultry farm, as they will grow up to be the chickens that will keep up your entire business. So, in that regard, you might be wondering if it’s normal for baby chickens to sleep a lot.

It is perfectly alright if chicks sleep a lot. They are just like any other baby in the sense that they will spend many hours sleeping. That’s because sleep is necessary for them to grow up healthy, similar to how any other baby animal prefers to only sleep and eat throughout much of the entire day.

If you do notice that your baby chickens spend most of the entire day sleeping, you actually don’t need to worry because this is perfectly normal for them or any other baby animal to do.

Unless your chicks look a bit too lethargic during the times when they are awake, they are actually still quite healthy even if they spend a lot of time sleeping. That said, let’s get to know more about baby chickens so that you will be able to understand how to properly take care of baby chickens, especially relating to their sleeping habits.

Is it normal for baby chickens to sleep a lot?

Starting out a new poultry business may not be as easy as it sounds like because there are some things you need to learn about chickens in relation to what they need to stay healthy. No worry, that’s exactly why I created this website.

You just need to look at your business from a long-term perspective and not merely from the here and now so that you will be able to have a farm full of chickens in the future.

In that regard, arguably the most important pieces of an entire poultry business that is still at its infancy stage are the baby chickens or the chicks that come from the hatched fertilized eggs of your hens. That’s because you will be relying a lot on your chicks to carry your poultry farm into the future, considering that the chickens you will be raising several years from now will all be descendants of the chicks that are on your farm today.

Because of how important your chicks are to your poultry farm, you want to make sure that you know how to take good care of them and that they are as healthy as possible. This includes knowing the signs that will point out whether or not your baby chickens are healthy. This may lead you to observe some of the more common things that chicks do on a regular basis including the most common of them all—sleeping a lot.

So, when you notice that baby chickens sleep a lot, is that something that is normal to them or is it something that they do when they are ill or weak? Well, for starters, the truth is that chicks actually do sleep a lot.

Chicks are, after all, baby chickens. Like most other baby animals (including baby humans), they need to sleep a lot because of how they need enough sleep to grow. This is quite common when the chicks are still just a few days or a few weeks old, which is comparable to how a human baby is still just a few months old. So, at that age, baby chickens do still sleep a lot and would rather spend most of the entire day asleep instead of staying active.

So, if you do notice that your baby chicken is sleeping a lot, you don’t have to worry because sleeping a lot is a huge part of what will allow the chick to grow up well as a healthy chicken. Still, while you shouldn’t be worried, there are still some things that you should know more about the way baby chickens sleep and what allows them to have the best kind of sleep they need to be healthy.

How many hours a day do chicks sleep?

Now that you know that it is perfectly normal for baby chickens to sleep a lot because this is a part of their usual requirements for growth, you might be wondering how many hours do chicks sleep in a single day.

Chicks will sleep as long as they want and need to. There is nothing wrong if a chick uses half a day to sleep or if it actually spends only 8 hours a day sleeping. As long as the baby chicken wants and needs to sleep, it will sleep. 

In fact, baby chickens will actually sleep whenever they simply want to sleep, without even thinking about where they are or what time of the day it might be. I noticed that my baby chickens usually just decide to sleep wherever they are and then just fall asleep without a care in the world.

That said, baby chickens require as much sleep as they possibly need because they are growing chickens that will need to sleep well if you want them to become healthy adults. Then again, there are still some things you need to keep in mind when it comes to a chick and how it sleeps.

Baby chickens may sleep a lot, but they require plenty of light hours as well. Make sure that you provide your baby chickens with as much light as needed, and even more than the usual sunlight that they get. In some cases, 9 hours of dark and 15 hours of light should be enough.

Your chick should be sleeping throughout the 9 hours of dark time, but it should also steal a few hours from the 15 hours of light to get enough sleep. Meanwhile, some might not even sleep at all during the 15 hours of light that they get but would probably stay active.

Still, during the first week of a chick’s life, that is when you will notice that it will actually spend most of its days asleep to the point that it would be quite normal for you to notice them sleeping for more than half the day. Again, this is perfectly normal during the first week, but the chicks will soon begin to become more active in the coming weeks.

How to know if the chick is just sleeping or if it’s sick

While we did say that it is very common for baby chickens to sleep a lot while they are still quite young and to spend most of the entire day asleep, how could you even tell if the chick is just sleeping or is actually quite weak or sick due to an illness? After all, chicks that are also sick and weak tend to sleep a lot as well.

The first thing you need to look at is whether the chick is actually active during the times when it is awake and not asleep. If it seems depressed or if it doesn’t have the same energy as some of the other chicks, it might be sick. It is also common for weak chicks to refuse to eat during an illness and would rather just sleep.

Another thing you need to look at is whether the chick is actually getting bullied or is purposely isolated by its brothers and sisters. This is quite common because chicks usually walk around in flocks. And if one of the chicks that is a part of the flock is getting picked on or is isolated by the other chicks, then it could mean that the chicks themselves know that this one is weak and ill. Kind of like the runt of the flock, if you ask me.

In such cases, it would be best to give more care and attention to chicks that display such behaviors. They won’t just merely sleep the entire day but would also show obvious and clear signs of illness. This is when you should be quite concerned about the baby chickens because you don’t want to end up leaving a chick behind just because it is weaker than the others.

How can you tell if a baby chick is happy?

On the other hand, let us now look at some of the other signs that would point to the possibility that the baby chicken is not only healthy, but is also happy. These are the signs that would tell us that the chicks have been raised properly and are actually getting enough food and rest while they are still young. Happiness, of course, is an indication that the chick will end up into a fine and healthy adult.

The first indication that chicks are actually happy is that they are quite active whenever they are not sleeping. These baby chickens should be moving around a lot while exploring their immediate surroundings, all while showing a pep in their step. The chicks should also be playing around with one another in a manner that looks safe and friendly enough.

Be aware that chicks are babies . . . it is normal for them to sleep a lot.

Feathersite

You should also try to look at how the baby chick is sleeping when you want to know whether or not it is happy. Happy chicks, when asleep, look very peaceful and should not look like they are tired or gasping for air, which can be signs of weakness in the chick. Also, happy chicks should not be spending the entire night chirping and chirping as if they are looking for their mother. Instead, they should be sleeping quietly during the night.

As long as your baby chickens are playful and are eating and sleeping well, then that should be enough for you to know that they are healthy and happy. Again, the number of hours spent sleeping should not be an indication of whether or not they are weak as long as they are actually active and happy during the times when they are awake. 

Related article: Are Hens Happier with a Rooster? (Pros and Cons)

Do baby chickens need light at night?

Another major factor that you should know when it comes to raising chicks is the amount of light that they get. That’s because light affects the rate at which a chick grows. That’s because they get plenty of the warmth that they need from artificial lighting.

Chicks that are kept with their mothers do not need light at night. The 12 hours of light that they get during the day should already be more than enough for chicks that are reared by their mother.

That’s because these chicks get the warmth that they need to stay healthy and to survive from the hen herself.

Then again, when the days are a bit shorter, expect your chicks to grow a little slower because they also need light to grow. You might want to augment their growth by providing light to them at night, but only for a few hours. Aside from that, as long as the chicks are kept warm and were fed right, they will be able to survive up to 12 hours of darkness.

Meanwhile, when it comes to chickens that are artificially reared, what you need to know is that they would require at least 15 hours of light. There are even some experts that would tell you that 24 hours of light should be the most ideal scenario. This means that you should be providing baby chickens with light from the sun during the day and light from an artificial source of light during the evening.

The type of light you need to provide your chicks should come with a good combination of warmth and lighting. That’s why there are some who would combine red light bulbs and daylight bulbs to give the chicks the warmth and the daylight that they need. You can also stick with a good reading light while keeping a heating pad under the chicks’ rearing pen. Whatever the case may be, the important part here is to make sure that the chicks have a good combination of light and warmth.

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Patrick FROMAGET

I want to share everything I know about chickens to help you take better care of yours! I grew up raising chickens at home and have learned a lot over the years. I hope you'll find my articles useful and learn something from them.

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