I am simply amazed at the amount of food my 6 week old chicks eat. I fill two quart size feeders with chick starter and they go thru this in no time. I recently started adding fruits and vegetables to their diet and they cannot seem to get enough. Kale, strawberries, apples, garden salad and even meal worms. Not feeding a lot of meal worms, just as treats. Should I be feeding more chick starter? We are working on the coop as fast as we can, currently they are still in their brooder. Decided on using the cup and nipple waterers. Has anyone used these? The gallon bucket type has worked ok in the brooder but it gets messy .
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I am no expert, and very new to chickens, but my chickens are a week older than yours. I found much the same, that I could not keep enough starter feed there for them, and they were getting to big for my brooder.
So, I made a coop, moved them out to it (they were 5 1/2 weeks old when they went out), started feeding them 18% Protein whole flock pellets along with table scraps and whatever other grass and bugs they can find. They have gotten larger much faster, I think they are using less feed, due to the other items in their diet, and overall are liking being outside.
I would encourage you to have them out, but again, I am no expert.
Edited by undertakingyou - 5/1/16 at 8:59pm
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Starter food is balanced nutritionally, so ideally any additional treats should constitute no more than 10% of total food intake. I would also suggest providing grit for them, since you are giving them additional food.
Re: the cup and nipple waterers - whilst opinions vary, if (and only if) you can assure that you will let your flock out of the coop at daybreak EVERY day of the year, then there's no need for water or food to be in the coop, so any leaks / spillage is not an issue. The cup and nipple waterers seem to be favoured by intensive, commercial operations but there is no reason not to try them, if you feel that you want to have water in the coop (a good idea if you cannot assure that they will be let out of the coop and dawn).