A stupid question from a first time owner.

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Werforpsu, May 3, 2016.

  1. Werforpsu

    Werforpsu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chicks are about 1 week (6 back sex links), 3 weeks (4 of unknown breeds/sex) and 7-8 weeks (1 most likely a RIR, sex unknown). They are all together in a large brooder.

    Should I be giving them something besides food and clean water? We bought Dumar chick starter/grower at TSC which is what we were told to buy. It says that it is formulated for through 10 weeks old. The food doesn't mention being medicated but says that if given as directed the chicks need nothing else.

    We haven't given them anything else like grit or treats and there is nothing in the water. I've have been reading a lot of posts on here trying to learn as much as possible and I can't figure out if I NEED to give them anything else, if I SHOULD give them something else, if I CAN give them something else or if I SHOULDNT give them something else.

    Thanks in advance from a newbie trying to keep the flock healthy and happy!
     
  2. Hholly

    Hholly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chick starter is a complete feed. But it doesn't hurt to introduce other things into their diet gradually. When they're a couple of weeks old you can start introducing some chick grit, in small amounts so they don't gorge themselves on it. I just scatter it on the floor of the brooder where their spilled feed ends up so they can pick at it and the feed together. Do this a few times before you give them any food that is not chick starter. Many folks give a shovel full of sod and dirt to get their systems used to the local coccidia, introduce them to grass and other goodies in the dirt, like natural grit, and worms. Always watch their droppings for blood and their behavior for signs of coccidiosis(huddling, lethargy, not eating). Medicated chick starter will help prevent coccidiosis, but if there is a heavy load of cocci in the environment, they can still get overloaded with it. You can gradually introduce them to things like greens, mashed boiled egg, strawberries, mealworms, and other treats.
    Good luck with them!
     
  3. Werforpsu

    Werforpsu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. I am experiencing some information overload and it has been really hard to know what to apply and when!
     
  4. DanEP

    DanEP Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chick grit is hard to find in my area so I just use construction sand from lowes for grit and have never had a problem. I also start with oatmeal for a treat as they love it and gets them used to eating from my hand and gets them started on a life of running to me foer trats when I call. This comes in handy when trying to get them back in the run later.
     
  5. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    I'd suggest that your 7-8 week old chicks should really be in a coop by now - better for them, and less stressful on the younger chicks in the brooder. Once outside, chicks should get sufficient grit from pecking around in the soil etc, but theres no harm in providing grit / sand. This link may be interesting ... https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/891051/the-science-of-feeding-grit-to-poultry

    Treats / additional foods should not constitute more than 10% of total daily feed. At a young age, i prefer to stick to proprietary feed as this provides them with a balanced diet (thats just my view, others differ, and nothing is caste in stone so do what you feel suits you best).

    CT
     
  6. RoseMary12

    RoseMary12 Out Of The Brooder

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    As for treats, always give them grit with it. Some favorites among my chicks are yogurt and raisins.
     
  7. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I start feeding treats with chick grit at about a week old after they've recovered from hatching/transport stress. I mince it finely at first and give healthful things like herbs, flax seeds, hard-boiled egg, etc.. It's my preference to introduce them to many, many new foods while they are still young and learning. It's not strictly necessary though.

    I do have two recommendations for you though.

    The first is to add a concentrated source of probiotics either in their water or mixed into their feed. I feed my chicks fermented feed which is full of good microbes, but before I did that I added ProBios powder to either dry feed or their water. It basically sets up their gut to be colonized by beneficial microorganisms--this will not only prevent the bad ones from overgrowing, but also help them digest their food optimally.

    The second recommendation is to feed a source of capsaicin. Doesn't have to be everyday, but once or twice a week is nice. There is a good scientific study showing that it stimulates the immune system of the gut. Cinnamon and oregano will do this as well, but to a lesser extent. I like mincing up fresh hot peppers such as jalapeno, habenero, or thai chili and giving it to my birds with grit, but you can get some of the effects with powdered/dried sources too. Bulking up the immune system of the gut will help the chick become naturally more resistent to parasitism, esp coccidiosis.
     
  8. Werforpsu

    Werforpsu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for all the advice!

    I have given them: yogurt, raw/dry oatmeal, watermelon rind and halved grapes. Only a little each day (I have more watermelon rind in the fridge staying good because I didn't want to overload them).

    I also bought chick grit and have been putting some in the brooder. They have been eating it.

    One grit question.....Do I need to regulate how much I give them or will they self regulate how much they need? I know that as adults, people will provide grit in the coop and the adults self regulate how much they need. Will chicks do the same thing?


    LOL---I just gave them yogurt and they apparently remember it...they are very excited!
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2016
  9. FarmerMac

    FarmerMac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have more eggs than what we can sell so I feed mine some hardboiled eggs mixed with spaghetti noodles and crumbled starter feed. I mash the eggs with a fork and cut the noodles into itty bitty pieces, then mix it with the starter feed so it be a little moist. They love it, is funny to see them get a piece of noodle and run around while the other chicks try to get it.
     
  10. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Saint Louis, MO

    They'll gorge on the grit, so regulate it. They don't need a whole lot of it, so I just sprinkle it with the treats when I feed them.
     
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