chicks and greens

marlingardenerMarch 21, 2008

Our pullets arrived yesterday and are peeping, pecking and pooping just as they should. I was wondering when I could introduce a lettuce leaf, a bit of broccoli, etc. to them? As soon as they are old enough they will be in a chicken tractor for most of the day, eating whatever they find on the ground, including short grass, weeds, and "treats" from the kitchen like carrot scrapings. I'd like to get them used to eating a variety of things as soon as possible. Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

How old are they?

I give my baby chicks a big ol' nasty, grassy dirt clod to play on, peck, etc. Great fun and food, it provides grit, bugs, grass and entertainment. :) I just make sure the grass is cut short.

If yours are baby chicks (days old, cute and fluffy), just dice up the goodies you give them. Raw corn on the cob is good, just (carefully!) score the kernels with a sharp knife and give them the entire cob to peck at. Diced green grapes are good, as are scrambled eggs, cooked ground beef and live small mealworms (they will go INSANE for the mealworms!).

If they are older youngsters with their big kid feathers grown in (about 2 months old or so), just chop up the goodies to feed it to them. Cut long grass into short inch-long chunks so it won't bind up in their crops.

You may have to 'show' them what the new food is by 'pecking' at it with your finger tips, picking it up and dropping it a bit while doing your food call, etc. You are mama hen now! :)

I've got a section on baby chicks here on my chicken info site:

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 1:52AM
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Velvet, nice to see you back. You answered the question I had as well and signed on here tonight to ask about giving fresh foods and when. I don't get my big shipment until later this coming week but went ahead (couldn't resist) and bought 5 chicks at the feed store when I bought some chick feed on sale. 3 Americaunas, a Black Australorp, and a Production Red. They are a little over a week old, getting their feathers and look quite healthy. I have them in a box in the basement with a light and try to socialize with them quite often. Sadly, they still think of me as the big monster that looms over the box, no matter how I coo and talk nice to them, LOL. I pick them up a couple times a day. I thought if I brought treats to bribe them they might not get so frantic. I just took them chopped lettuce after reading this and they didn't know quite what to think. I thought I would take a few bigger chunks and see if that enticed them to peck at it. Lori

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 11:51PM
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My eight 14-day-old Australorp pullets LOVE lettuce! I diced some up and put in under a bit of their starter feed mix, and they tossed the mix aside to get at the greenery! Tomorrow I'm going to try them on diced grapes. Since they are in the guest bedroom in a brooder, I think I'll wait a bit on the mealy worms.
Thank you Velvet Sparrow! I have bookmarked your website, so expect a bunch of silly questions, since this is the first time we have raised chickens, but are so anxious to do the right thing. Thank heavens for a resource like you!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 2:09PM
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