I am not sure if this post belongs here or in the raising chicks area. At what age can I introduce greens to the chicks? They are 1 week old today and scratching around in their brooder like pros. I have a lot of dandelion greens starting to make an appearance in my yard. Can I give them some each day for eating? Thanks everyone for advice!
What age can chicks start eating greens?
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I have given my chicks in the brooder a small clump of short grass with the dirt still attached as early as Day 3, since that's when mom takes them out and starts showing them the ropes. (I've seen hens feeding their chicks dirt on Day 3.) I only put in about a couple of tablespoons of dirt/grass at the most for about 15 chicks, though, and I have no idea if that's safe or not. I have had no casualties ... yet. Sometimes I wish I was as smart as a mother hen; they know all this stuff without even thinking about it.
Disclaimer: What works okay here with my chicks may or may not work for yours. So don't try this at home. Swim at your own risk.
PS (Edited) I mention dirt because it can work as grit in the chicks' gizzards to grind up the grass, weeds, tiny leaves. I haven't given grass or leaves, etc., without either chick grit or dirt already attached to grass. I look for a place where chickens haven't been running around before to dig the grass clump so that I'm feeding them very pure, pristine dirt and not a bunch of old chicken droppings by accident.
Edited by Spangled - 3/1/12 at 4:08am
In free-range setting with hen, my chicks do not seem to eat much vegetation until 4 weeks old. By time they are 8 weeks old greens are an important part of their intake. Otherwise insects and other critters dominate intake.
- Don't Panic
I start my chicks with finely chopped greens about the third or fourth day. The first day they may not each much, but they'll gradually begin to catch on that it's good. By the second or third day they usually swarm the bowl. I chop them progressively coarser as they grow older. By the third week I put it in whole. This is usually greens such as people eat like turnips, mustards, collards, kale, and the like.
Just enough that they can clean up in about fifteen minutes or so.
I am just starting a flock of three Buff Orpingtons. They are about three weeks old and all female. I accidentally dropped a leaf or two into the cage and they ate it up before I could grab it. Do you think that they need more greens? It is my first time and I can't help but get worried. I had a rooster before but a wild animal got him before he got that old.