Baby chick questions

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Nicole310, Aug 31, 2014.

  1. Nicole310

    Nicole310 New Egg

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    Aug 31, 2014
    Hello Everyone,

    We have 3, 4 day old baby chicks, and this is our first time ever having chickens. The gentlemen who sold us the babies said to only feed them starter food for 5 months. I don't know what to do since so many people say different time frames. Some say only 8 weeks?? I was also curious to know when it's ok for them to walk around outside with supervision at all times? When can you feed them fruits, or veggies? When can you start picking them up and holding them? Please help!

    Thank you :)
     
  2. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't get caught up in hard and fast rules when feeding your chickens. Do hold off on feeding Layer feed before they actually start laying but you can feed chick feed their entire life if you wanted to. The one rule I have is finish the bag of feed. Don't throw that little bit that;s left over when you do change them over. I find that mine will eat the mash until about 4-6 weeks than they start wasting a fair amount. That's when I like to change over to crumbles. I introduce treats by 2 weeks. More to combat boredom than anything. I also give them dirt to play in by that time so the grit issue isn't one. It's really easy to lose chicks outside when they are less than about 6 weeks. I will put them outside when it's nice in a wire dog crate (cover the bottom and sides with hardware cloth or they will get out) for an hour or so but never loose. They typically don't get to roam around outside until they are about 3 months. By that time they have been moved to a grow out pen and have been outside 4-6 weeks. By than they know where home and food is and they are big enough to find.

    Start working with them now. Much easier when they are in the brooder than when they are in the coop.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2014
  3. chickenlover09

    chickenlover09 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Read this for their diet, they should eat the starter I believe until they are 8 weeks, then switch to a grower formula, and then a layer mash.
    When they are a few weeks old, you can take them outside for "outside fieldtrips" supervised of course. If you want to feed them fruits and veggies, you also have to feed them grit to help digest the food. Some chicks won't eat anything beside commercial feed until they start laying though. When my chicks reach 1 week old, I feed them an egg every other day, and they go crazy for it, they also sometimes get storebought mealworms.

    I wouldn't leave them unsupervised at all, unless you have a big, full "chicken proofed" backyard. There are many things your chicken can do, like fly up trees (very hard to get a chicken down), hop fences, and predators WILL attack your chicks. I lost my favorite little chick to a squirrel, yep a squirrel. When my chicks were little (and living in the coop, fully feathered), I would let them run around my backyard while I was doing my morning outdoor chores (feeding and watering the chickens, cleaning the coop, etc.). They loved digging for bugs and foraging in the weeds. They could pick up a disiese called Cocci (for short). It's deadly to chicks, but easy to treat with Corid from your local feed bin.

    You can hold them now if you want. I think it's good to socialize them. Some birds will like attention, and some will hate attention. My chick, Beakers, absolutely loves being held and will follow me and fly up on my arm. While one of my silkies, Intuite, will attack my hands and try to fly away everytime I pick her up (she's very good with the other chicks though). Be aware though, that your chick is not going to be afraid to poop on you. Literally whenever I picked my chicks up, I got pooped on. Make sure to throughly wash your hands after so you don't get sick.

    (here's the feed article) http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/11/feeding-chickens-at-different-ages.html

    Hope I cleared some things up for you, and welcome make yourself at home and have fun with your chicks!
     
  4. Nicole310

    Nicole310 New Egg

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    Aug 31, 2014
    Thank you for your helo! What is mash?? We are giving them organic chick starter. So you put your chickens in an outdoor coop at about 6 weeks?
     
  5. chickenlover09

    chickenlover09 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mash is just mashed food (when they get older there is also layer pellets, but mine prefer layer mash mash).

    Yes you can put them outdoors when they are 6 weeks old, or are fully feathered.

    Where I live, it's very warm (never below 70 F during the day and never below 60 F during the night), so I was able to move them outside at about 4 weeks, they also kept flying out of the brooder and much prefered the great outdoors.

    :)
     
  6. Nicole310

    Nicole310 New Egg

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    Aug 31, 2014
    Ah, ok. I read that article and it helped a lot! We live in warm climate as well, so we may put them out around the time that you have. Thanks so much!!
     
  7. Neptune

    Neptune Out Of The Brooder

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    Great information I just stumbled upon! Thanks for asking!
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    The normal way they make the chicken feed is to gather the ingredients and grind them all together to make a powder. That is Mash.

    If they want to make pellets, they wet the mash and force it through a round die, then flash-dry it.

    To make crumbles they slightly crush the pellets.

    Whether something is a mash, pellet, or crumbles tells you nothing about nutritional value. It’s just different forms of the same feed. The main reason there are different forms is that different forms work with different automatic feeding systems.

    If you look on the bag of feed, it probably has recommendations of what age to feed what products. Different manufacturers use different systems. One standard is to feed a fairly high protein starter for 4 to 8 weeks, then switch to a lower protein Grower and feed that until you switch to Layer. Some recommend a combined Starter/Grower until you switch to Layer. It’s not that critical. After 4 weeks, switch when that bag of feed runs out.

    One reason it sounds so confusing is that many different things work. You can’t say that there is only one way to do it and every other way is wrong. The only wrong thing to do is feed them Layer before they need it. The excess calcium can damage growing chicks.

    Some of us never feed Layer. We feed something else and offer calcium on the side, usually oyster shells.

    Definitely finish a bag. Don’t waste it.
     
  9. SFrati

    SFrati Out Of The Brooder

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    I have two sets of chicks. The first group is 4 weeks old and the second group is 1 week old. They are all living outside right now. They have a heat lamp on one side of the coop and a cool zone on the other. I have just started leaving the coop door open so they can explore the outside. Only the older birds are brave enough to check it out. When i bring them outside they are in heaven pecking at everything they see. it is currently 75-80 degrees outside during the day (sometimes hotter) and nights go down to 60. They seem very happy and get along great. I am having trouble with them being afraid of me. They always run away. Maybe i just need to be more patient and move slower.
     
  10. ChicopeeChicks

    ChicopeeChicks New Egg

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    I used to go and sit with mine a lot and let them explore me. They are 20 weeks now and I feel they "tolerate" me more than like me being around. I do still hand feed them their treats so they have to come see me or they don't get any!
     

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