I'm getting some chicks (egg layers) tomorrow for the first time, and I want to do the best I can to keep them going. I was going to get a medicated chick starter feed & the one I see at my local store is Manna Pro, is this a good brand? Also, should I be getting a vitamin/electrolyte water supplement too, or is that not really necessary? When do they need to start eating the "rough stuff" for their crop, and does that just come w/the food? Ive been doing a lot of research but I find so many different options I don't know where to start. Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance :)
I want to make sure my babies are getting the right nutrition to thrive. Any recommendations?
This is what I do and I've never had any issues, including health problems. I feed my chicks Purina medicated chick starter. I don't feed treats or anything else. I put them out in the coop when they reach 6 to 8 weeks of age and then will throw them a worm every once in a while. We also start throwing them some scratch during the day. When they start to lay or reach about 20 weeks of age I switch to Purina Layena layer feed and will also start giving them some leftover veggies, bread, etc. Not much though because I think the layer feed is all they need to thrive. The bottom line is that even if you were to feed just the chick starter and then the layer feed, your chicks will thrive and produce wonderful eggs. That's assuming of course that the coop is clean, they have fresh water, etc.
I've never used vitamins/electrolyte supplements. I think sometimes we over think what it takes raise healthy hens. You can keep it simple and they'll do fine. The only other advice for new chicks would be to make sure their butts are clean and they don't have any poop build up on their butts. This is usually only a problem for the first week or two.
Edited by mikecnorthwest - 3/10/12 at 8:16am
I'm not sure how good the Manna Pro chick starter is, but I know the layer feed is low on calcium. I usually use Purina chick starter. I used to be a hard core anti-medicated feeder, but after dealing with coccidiosis once, I decided that maybe the medicated stuff wasn't so bad. x) I start mine off on medicated feed, and after 6 weeks, mix medicated and non-medicated together.
I also start offering very fine grit for them to peck around in at about 2 weeks. Granite or Oyster Shell grit works fine.
If you have a chick that starts looking listless or sick, immediately put him on electrolytes. I get a lot of rescues, and sometimes electrolytes are the only thing they'll take for a days. But if your chicks are happy and healthy, then electrolytes aren't really necessary. :)
Have fun with your babies!
I'm the proud owner of a flock of wonderful chickens, ducks, and geese, 5 rabbits, 1 dog, 1 cockatiel, 1 betta, and 2 cats.
Check out my blog, if you're into that kind of thing: http://www.trainedbyahorse.blogspot.com.
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I'm raising chicks for the first time and mine are 4 wks old. I've been using the Purina medicated chick starter, too. It's quite amazing how they literally seem to have doubled in size between 3 wks old and 4 wks old. I had one with pasty butt at about 5 days old, so I put apple cider vinegar in the water for about a week, which seemed to help. I was worried about her, but once I got her cleaned up, it didn't reoccur. Honestly, the biggest stress for me has been keeping them at the right temp. Once you get through the first week, they seem to get pretty good at self-regulating and moving to a cooler spot if they're warm. I'm getting excited to put them out in the coop in a few weeks, because they are starting to get a little stinky for my laundry room. Enjoy your new chicks!
Purina medicated Start & Grow is what I use until they are about 20 weeks old. Then I switch to Purina Layena pellets.