What to feed chicks to make them healthy???

kay-chanSeptember 29, 2009

I just bought some chicks and im not sure what to really feed them except starter chick scratch. But i want them to have all the nutrients. What should i feed them? Plus what do i give them when they get older? Please Help!!!!!

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marlingardener

Kay-chan,
You are off to a good start. Follow the instructions on the starter feed bag, then switch your pullets to layer feed. Make sure they have clean water (they will foul it regularly and as I remember, it needs changing about twice a day) and clean bedding.
When they get to be big girls, giving them food scraps such as apple peel, cooked rice and pasta, cooked meat and vegetables will give them variety. The layer feed actually contains all they need, but they do get excited about treats!
May I suggest that you handle your poultry frequently? That makes it so much easier to examine them later. Also, if you train them to come to you, it sure helps if they free-range or get out of their coop. I feed my girls treats on a metal plate. By "pinging" my fingernail on the plate (and I hate to confess) making kissy sounds, I get the whole flock practically sitting on my feet.
You're in for a lot of laughs, and some great eggs! Enjoy your chickens and take good care of them.
Chickens in Your Backyard, A Beginner's Guide by Rick and Gail Luttmann is a great book for poultry keepers. It is published by the Rodale Press and available on Amazon, or by calling Rodale at 800-848-4735.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 7:57AM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

How old are the chicks? It sounds like you are doing well for them, but I'd include some goodies to keep them occupied and happy. A big, grassy dirt clod; roots, grass, dirt and all is a GREAT thing for them if they don't have daily access to dirt & grass. Make sure the grass is trimmed off short so that they don't ingest long strands, which could get balled up in their crop and cause an impaction. The grassy dirt clod give them green matter, dirt for grit (and later on for dustbathing in), protein in the form of bugs they find in there and last but not least, something to explore, scratch in and climb up on and dive bomb their siblings from when they play. :)

Also diced foods like grapes, cooked spaghetti, scrambled eggs, tomatoes, cooked ground beef, etc. Anything healthy for you is healthy for them, and vice versa. No raw eggs or raw meat, no chocolate (can be toxic) or sugary junk foods. Just make sure you dice it up so they cannot choke on it.

Chickens also LOVE live mealworms, it's like Crack for chickens. *L* You can get mealworms at most pet stores, they must be kept refrigerated so ask at the counter. Live crickets are good too, and both provide food and entertainment for the chicks and you (watching chickens play 'Chicken Football' with goodies is hilarious).

I've got more info on my chicken site, here is the page on chicks but I suggest reading the entire thing:

http://jackshenhouse.com/VSChickHensBroodiesChicks.htm

Like marlingardener, I've got my own 'call' I use that the chickens know means 'food!'--no kissy noises though, I do the old standard 'Chick-chick-chick'. :) It's a good idea to settle on your own call and use it when you want them to come to you, and chickens will learn really quickly what the call means! They are VERY food motivated. :)

Enjoy your chickens!

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 2:17PM
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lmieke(NW TN)

I don't know what I'm going to do when I run out of watermelons this fall. My girls LOVE them and with my garden right next to their big pen, they know when I'm coming to them with one.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2009 at 11:20AM
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marlingardener

lmieke,
Cantaloupes are fun food for hens, too! I cut one in half, toss the halves in the coop, and later go out and retrieve the paper-thin rinds!
I don't know who enjoys treat time more--me or the ladies.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2009 at 11:44AM
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nhsuzanne(z5 SW-NH)

When I run out of watermelon for the season I turn to sugar pumpkins for the girls. They love them too. Also, I buy big bunches of Kale (full of vitamins and calcium) all winter long to keep them in some kind of green. It's pretty inexpensive.

Marlingardener, I am continually amazed at how thing they get those rinds!!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2009 at 4:21PM
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kay-chan

thanks for all the tips for the chicks! I'll be sure to try those treats for them and maybe check out those books too! "chicken in the backyard"! cause they are gonna be in my backyard later when they are bigger, though i live in the city, i have to bring them back inside every night later when its cold and predators. thanks for the tips!!!!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2009 at 5:36PM
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marlingardener

Kay-chan,
We chicken keepers sometimes get carried away-we should have explained that the watermelon and cantaloupe are given to grown hens. If you want to chop up a little bit of melon without the rind, it shouldn't hurt your chicks.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2009 at 5:43PM
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kay-chan

LoL...if my chicks can eat big melons i would feed them right now, tho right now they seems happy with bits of grapes and starter, though i don't know what to do with the youngest, cuz all it does is sleep.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2009 at 8:49PM
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dreamgarden(z6)

velvet_sparrow-"Chickens also LOVE live mealworms, it's like Crack for chickens. *L* You can get mealworms at most pet stores, they must be kept refrigerated so ask at the counter."

Crack for chickens? lol!

Velvet, would you recommend feeding worms purchased from a bait store?

Another suggestion is "chicken tetherball". You skewer a cabbage on a string/twine and hang it in the coop so they have something to peck during those long winter days when they aren't allowed out.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 6:50PM
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