6 Little Chicks in TN


In the Brooder
6 Years
Sep 13, 2013
After doing a crazy amount of research, I picked up my 6 chicks yesterday! I have a Barred Rock, Golden Laced Wyandotte, Rhode Island Red, Golden Comet, Easter Egger (the hatchery called it an Araucana/Ameraucana), and either a Buff Orpington (which is what I ordered) or another Golden Comet. I ordered these from Mt. Healthy Hatchery with a friend who ordered about 100 other chickens (50 broilers and a mix of layers; mostly Golden Comets). We had trouble telling if the one is a Buff Orpington or a Golden Comet since it's a tiny bit strawberry blonde (but not as much as the other golden comets and it has no red on its wings) but the other, very yellow, chicks had feathers on their feet (she ordered some light brahmas so I think that's what those were?). My friend did send me home with one extra, very yellow chick with no feathers on its feet, but it's slightly larger than the other chicks and kind of a bully. I think it may be one of the broilers (cornish cross). The bully is going back to her house tonight.

I'm brooding the girls with an EcoBrooder 20 and using poultry nipple waterers instead of a dish. I added a TINY drop of molasses to their water instead of electrolyte (they're all very active and didn't seem to need it, but I thought a tiny drop wouldn't hurt).

The chicks are about 2 days old and I have some questions...

Would it be ok to give them a clump of grass/clover with some dirt attached?
Would it be ok to give them a SCOBY from my kombucha?
Would it be ok to give them crushed garlic? (I've read the pros and cons of garlic and I plan to use it; I just want to know when it's ok to start giving it to them)
Should I soak some of their feed and offer it to them in a small dish in addition to their dry feed?

I want to give them probiotics via the SCOBY and introduce them to the organisms in our yard to help them get a colonized gut, but how soon is too soon? If I give them just some of the chopped up SCOBY, do I need to give them grit? Would a dirt clump from the yard be an ok grit substitute (we have mostly red clay)?
I also have water kefir grains that I could give them as probiotics, but I think the SCOBY might be better?

They're currently eating:

Hiland Naturals Chick Starter
Corn, Oats, Wheat, Sunflower Seed, Heat Processed Soybeans, Soybean Meal, Peas, Alfalfa Meal, Oyster Shells, dl-Methionine, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Monocalcium Phosphate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Kelp, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Iron Oxide, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide, Sodium Selenite, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Choline Chloride, Niacin, Vitamin E Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex(Source of Vitamin K Activity), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Biotin, PyridoxineHvdrochloride,ThiamineMononitrate,Dried Aspergillus Niger Fermentation Extract, Dried Bacillus Subtilus Fermentation Extract, Dried Trichodema, Logibrachiatum Fermentation Extract.

I'm in the process of getting them Countryside Organics soybean-free feed.

21% Protein
Organic Field Peas, Organic Corn, Organic Wheat, Organic Oats, Fish Meal, Organic Rice Bran, Organic Alfalfa Meal, Organic Flaxseed, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Silico Aluminate, Dried Organic Kelp, Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, Yeast Culture, Roughage Product (organic wheat middlings), Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Choline Chloride, Menadione Nicotinamide Bisulfite Complex, D-Calcium Pantothenic Acid, Niacin Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid, Manganese Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Dried Aspergillus oryzae Fermentation Extract, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Dried fermentation product of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Dried fermentation product of Lactobacillus casei, , Dried fermentation product of Lactobacillus plantarum, Dried fermentation product of Enterococcus faecium, Dried fermentation product of Bacillus coagulans, Dried fermentation product of Bacillus licheniformis, and Dried fermentation product of Bacillus subtilis.

Welcome to BYC! Glad you joined us!

I'm pretty new at this myself so I don't know the answer to all your questions. I started bringing mine outside to scratch in the grass on warm days when they were 3-4 days old. So I would think you would be fine bringing in a clump of sod

I wouldn't think you would need to soak any feed unless you are having a hard time getting them to eat the dry.

Can't help you on the other questions. Congratulations on the chicks! I have a few of the same kinds. I have a Barred Rock, a Golden Buff (different name for Golden Comet), a Black Australorp, and 2 English Orpingtons (a blue/black and a splash).)
My chicks always get a clump of grass in the brooder, or a bowl of loose dirt. I see no issues with feeding them the scoby, but it may need to be cut into pieces so they can get it down. The dirt is perfect to use as grit. I don't feed garlic specifically, but I do use alot of garlic when I cook. My hen raised chicks pick thru every kitchen scrap I put out. Unpasteurized apple cider vinegar is an excellent source of probios, and since its acidic it makes the gut inhospitable to parasites. Good luck with your chicks and :welcome
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Thanks for the answers! I brew my kombucha on Mondays so I'll pull out a scoby for them then. I think I'll go dig up a clump of clover for them and offer them some water kefir grains.
This morning I changed their weewee pad, gave them fresh water sans molasses, sprinkled some dried oregano and granulated garlic in their food, and gave them grass/clover with the dirt attached. They seem to like it! The bully went back to my friend's house last night.

Here's some pictures of my girls (I really hope they're all girls!!!)

Mable the Araucana/Ameraucana (AKA Easter Egger)

Betty the Barred Plymouth Rock

Lucy the Buff Orpington

Gertrude the Golden Comet

Ethel the Golden Laced Wyandotte

Scarlett the Rhode Island Red

The Bully
If your chicks were raised by a hen, they'd be out scratching in the dirt around day 3, so that's alright timewise. Mine would also be eating (or trying to eat) kitchen scraps, so I don't see the other things you're talking about being a problem. I don't wet feed down at all, my birds always eat dry feed just fine.

Not familiar with the scoby, so can't really speak to that.

I can tell you your barred rock chick isn't a barred rock, it looks like maybe an Australorp. A barred rock chick would have a white spot in it's head, to indicate it is barred. Your bird looks to have a solid head and has more white on the underside than barred rocks. I also don't think the first chicks is an ee, it looks more like a Wyandotte.

Actually, looking back, the orpington may not be, either.....orps should have white legs and yours look pretty yellow. Sorry to be a negative nelly, you just might have way different breeds than you thought!
I think Donrae answered your questions pretty directly but I thought I'd give my answers too.

Would it be ok to give them a clump of grass/clover with some dirt attached?
Yes. I put a spade full of dirt, with whatever vegetation was attached in the brooder on a regular basis. This gives them a chance to start developing immunity to various soil born organisms, like the protozoa that causes cocci. I also gave mine a little pan of fine dirt. They liked to dust bath in it, eat a bit for grit and generally lay in it, play in it, whatever.

Would it be ok to give them a SCOBY from my kombucha?
I'm not familiar with this but I googled kombucha and believe it's a tea-based drink? If so, and it has caffeine in it, then no. See the attached for a list of what chickens can and should not eat/drink. A little probiotics will be helpful (they have those small packets you can buy for a few dollars). This will spur good bacteria in their gut. You can also give them a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) that is non-pasturaiszed and "with the mother" in their water. You can get this most places, even Walmart stocks it. ACV is reported to kill bad bacteria in their gut.


Would it be ok to give them crushed garlic? (I've read the pros and cons of garlic and I plan to use it; I just want to know when it's ok to start giving it to them)
Not sure about the health benefits of garlic, some say it's good for you, I suppose, but either way, I'd say it can't hurt. In general, you can feed them whatever you find/have on hand that's on the above list I gave you the link to. I fed mine table scraps from the beginning. When they're that little, I chopped everything up in a food processor. They can be a little scared to try new things at first so be patient and give them time to get used to new foods. Also, give them small amounts at first of something new. For some reason, this encourages them to try it. One will try it and then the others will follow but it often takes your most adventurous chick to try it first.

One word of caution is to very much limit the amount of whatever you give them that is not chick feed. This should be a VERY small percent of their diet at first. They need all that protein and nutrients that is in the chick feed, which is formulated to be a balanced diet for them. So, think of this non-chick feed food you're given them as just a treat, not necessarily a staple of their diet. Also, as I mentioned above, if you feed them ANYTHING other than chick feed, they need grit. I would not recommend you bother buying special chick grit unless you want to. Just give them the clumps of sod and/or a pan of dirt to use. They'll know what pieces are good sized to eat.

Also, I caught bugs outside and brought them in and dropped them in the brooder. I free range so wanted them to learn early to catch and eat bugs. I gave them caterpillars (I found a bunch on my apple trees), wasps (I'd kill these first), moths, flies, lady bugs, grasshoppers, spiders, ticks, cicadas. Don't feed them earth worms as these can transmit gape worm. An earthworm or two in the sod is fine, just don't go dig up a bunch and feed them a whole mess of them. Also I wouldn't feed them any bug that may have insecticide on it. So, no ticks off your dog if they take that tick medicine but ticks from outside are OK. No cockroaches or spiders if your house is sprayed. You get the idea.

Should I soak some of their feed and offer it to them in a small dish in addition to their dry feed?
Na, you don't need to do this. Just put the chick feed in there as it is and they'll be fine.

You look like you're off to a GREAT start! Your brooder is nice and your chicks look terrific! Great luck to you!
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