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Do chicks need a constant food supply

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hiya! I have 4, 1 weeks old chicks. Do they need a constant food supply? I have raised chicks before without a constant food supply and they were perfectly happy and healthy. Just wondering if it is better to keep food in the brooder? Thanks! ūüėĄ
post #2 of 6

You should keep food in their feeders when it is empty or low.

I just wait till it is empty and refill and refill. You know how it is.

You just don't want them to starve.



post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
post #4 of 6

My chicks go to sleep at night.  There is no light in their brooder - will never use heat lamps again!  So when the sun starts to go down, they give a yawn and a stretch, wander under their "broody hen" ( in this case a cave) and sleep quietly through the night.  They do this from day one.  So they don't eat at night at all. 


I have absolutely NO scientific proof to back this up, but this is has been my experience.  Watch a broody hen with her chicks.  She doesn't heat every square inch of the area they are in.  She's just there, and the chicks are running all over the place exploring their surroundings, eating, drinking, and imitating the adult behavior they see.  If they get spooked or chilled, they dash under her for security and warmth, but within minutes they are back out. They do this regardless of outside temperatures - even with snow on the ground!  They are healthy, strong, curious and grow like crazy.  At night, as the sun goes down, they snuggle under her and go to sleep, sleeping all night through. Mama doesn't have a night light under each wing.  Very rarely, if ever, does a broody hen raised chick end up fighting pasty butt.  And they are generally very calm, confident birds.


So we pick up chicks, stick them in a box with a heat lamp that heats everything around them - the air, the walls, the floor, the bedding, the feeders, the waterer - and that light is on them 24/7.  Even if a few fall asleep, others are still awake to tromp over top of them, waking them up again.  They eat 24/7 because it's there.  This frantic running around all the time takes a lot out of them.  There's never a calm, quiet night with uninterrupted sleep.  They feather out rather slowly compared to broody raised birds because they seldom get the amount of chilliness they actually require.  We are constantly fiddling with temperature, but no matter how high we raise that lamp it's still there, shining on them all day and all night.


Some folks have found that picking up the food at night resulted in chicks that were screaming and running all over the place madly. They aren't wanting that food because they are hungry - they want it because they are awake and they need to be doing something!  And, of course, with them constantly awake, they use up more energy - energy that could be going toward building strong little bodies.  Heat lamp chicks are raised successfully every day - I did it too and all of my chicks survived.   But when I changed over to using a cave, no lights, and a more natural approach to raising them, the changes were remarkable and very obvious.


It's up to you, in the end.  As you have found with previous batches of chicks, a little time without food isn't going to kill them!  People who are feeding fermented food usually have set feeding times as well.  So do what works best for you, your situation and your chicks!  If there was only one way to raise chicks, this entire web site would take half an hour to read!  ;)

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Oh my gosh. Thank u so much for the advice! Which breeds of chicken do you have?
post #6 of 6

Right now I have Red Sex Links, Easter Eggers, a Buff Orpington, Marans, Light Brahmas and Buff Brahmas.

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