Can chicks eat Gamebird Starter?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MjsChickens, Jun 23, 2017.

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  1. MjsChickens

    MjsChickens In the Brooder

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    I am getting guinea keets, and I know that they cannot eat chick food since it doesn't have enough protein. I will also be getting chicks, so can they eat Gamebird Starter? I don't have a TSC, but I have a Dickey Bub and a local farm store. I can buy two separate feeds, but I want to be cost effective ;). Thanks for the help!
     
  2. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Crowing

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    Mine are eating gamebird starter since that's what I keep on hand for my fermented feed. I have never had any issues from it especially if, like me, you start letting them forage young as well.
     
  3. MjsChickens

    MjsChickens In the Brooder

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    Out of curiosity, at what age did you let your chicks forage? It's in the high 80's here most of the time.
     
  4. RonC

    RonC Songster

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    Mine started making "field trips" to the run daily at about 7 days. Going into the fourth week they rebelled and wouldn't let me put them back in the brooder. I'm too old to be chasing chicks so they moved to the coop.
     
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  5. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Crowing

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    They are three weeks old this past Wednesday and I have started letting them out of their little TSC brooder coop to explore my big run (about 800 sq ft) while everyone is out free ranging starting last weekend. I took about a week longer than normal because I have so many other broodies with chicks right now and didn't want them attacking the "strange chicks", plus we had a lot of rain. The main run is open while they are exploring but they haven't ventured out yet. I only let them out for a few hours in the evening when I am home to check on them frequently. This year I started raising chicks in February and even then they were ready to be out exploring and were laying about in the sunlight when it was in the 40s. I brood them outdoors with a heating pad, so they acclimate faster just like they do with a broody raising them.

    Usually when there is no mother to guide them they won't wander out into open spaces until they are quite a bit older. First they will stick to the run, then the outside perimeter of the run within a couple feet for a few weeks, then slowly explore further following the lead of the rest of the flock.

    I have done it this way for over a year with good results and very very few losses. Most of the time I prefer to have broodies raise my chicks, but that isn't always possible for one reason or another. It helps that I have pretty well behaved flock members (except the guineas). Even my guineas are getting nicer towards chicks, though - I think because I've had so many broodies this year so they never know if a chick belongs to someone who will run up and scratch their eyeballs out lol.
     
  6. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Crowing

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    I bought two Sebright chicks last weekend from a woman who said they were five weeks old but they seem slightly older to me. She still had them in the house with four other chicks in a round tub about 2 1/2 feet diameter, with a heat lamp and just enough room for the chicks and the food and water. When I got them home, they were TERRIFIED. They had no idea what dirt, trees, fresh air, the sky, sunlight, other chickens, ANYTHING was. I felt really really bad for them. They are slowly adjusting but so far are scared to death of the other chickens except they bully the heck out of the smaller chicks, and they are really skittish toward me. I really hope they end up adjusting okay because it took me quite a while to find silver sebrights near me.

    My point being, of course there are risks, but getting the chicks used to "chickening" early helps yield a well adjusted chick. They learn to socialize, do chicken things, where they are in the pecking order, etc and they also can develop physically by being able to run and fly and bounce around. These new Sebrights could barely fly up onto the roost since they had never been able to use their wings before.
     
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  7. MjsChickens

    MjsChickens In the Brooder

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    I hope your chicks adjust, and I plan on taking my chicks out on short trips once they're a week old. There are lots of bugs and grass to pick at out here :)
     
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  8. BlueShadow

    BlueShadow Songster

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    Yes, chicks can eat gamebird starter. They can tolerate excess protein far better than guinea keets can tolerate insufficient protein.

    However, as I posted in your other thread, I cannot strongly enough recommend that you do not raise keets and chicks together. I know they do fine together as babies (I did it myself), but since you intend to free range both sets of birds, I suggest the inconvenience of keeping them separate when they are young so that they can spend the rest of their lives co-existing happily. You will find numerous threads in the guinea section where people discuss guineas bullying their chickens, and the common theme in nearly all of them is that they were raised together starting as babies.
     
  9. MjsChickens

    MjsChickens In the Brooder

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    @BlueShadow I do have them separated, and I decided to get the chicks their own food and the guineas theirs for at least the beginning. I would rather have many happy years instead of one short one :)
     
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  10. BlueShadow

    BlueShadow Songster

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    Very good! In that case, it sounds like you have your birds off to an excellent start.
     

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