Chick Scratch & Grit???

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by WendyGrama, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. WendyGrama

    WendyGrama Out Of The Brooder

    59
    0
    29
    Jun 25, 2011
    Cottonwood, Arizona
    OK, I have raised chickens before but usually I had a banty to do all the 'Mommy' bit sooooo.

    When to introduce chick grit (if you can even find it NOT, I put standard grit thru my sieve) and sprinkled it lightly on the floor with some of the chick mash to start with???

    When to introduce chick scratch (if you can find that NOT, I will be using organic mixed grained cereal)

    When to add fruits, veggies, grass & clover clippings etc.

    When to let them out on the ground to scratch about???

    I have read so many do's and don'ts on this subject I am totally lost and yet my almost 2 week ole chicks seem way ready for more and I know our ole banty used to have them out and about daily after about the first 3 or 4 days soooooo.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    453
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    You will read many different answers, as you already know. You just have to do what seems most sensible to you.

    I supply grit (the fine stuff like you do) when they go outside -- for mine, that is from day one as I raise them all in the coop, or actually a broody usually raises them. They're never in the house, anyway. I feel they should be allowed out to scratch about when they want, which as you say, is usually around day 3 or 4. I think the important thing about treats is quantity -- they need the nutrients in chick feed, and if they are out nipping grass and hunting bugs, I don't like to give much in the way of treats. I'm more generous if I feel it adds nutrition, such as scrambled eggs. I'll find something to use if I want to bribe them, and if I have a goody like apple cores I'll let them have them, but as a daily thing I give the older ones some BOSS or other seed, and for young ones, I don't give anything at all on a daily basis, just when I have a leftover or scrap that they'll like -- or a chunk of watermelon in hot weather, but that's mostly just water.

    At 2 weeks they are ready for pretty much anything you want to throw at them, as long as you limit quantity so they won't miss out on basic nutrients.

    All in my opinion, of course.
     
  3. WendyGrama

    WendyGrama Out Of The Brooder

    59
    0
    29
    Jun 25, 2011
    Cottonwood, Arizona
    Thanx Much, my feelings exactly and I am working on the outdoor pen right now so they can start with some cool evening exposures in a safe location. When confused I will just go back to the old homestead in my mind and replay what the broody Mom's did with the chicks. My plans is to let one or two hens set every year and not go through this day old mail thing. So two roosters a Welsumer and a Seabright.[​IMG][​IMG]:jumpy:jumpy:jumpy:jumpy:jumpy:jumpy:jumpy:jumpy:jumpy:cd
     
  4. BoltonChicken

    BoltonChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    501
    3
    111
    Apr 14, 2011
    Bolton, Mississippi
    When to introduce chick grit (if you can even find it NOT, I put standard grit thru my sieve)

    At about two weeks I started putting a tray of dirt about 4" deep which contained fine pebbles and sand into their brooder. They immediately started scratching, dirt bathing and picking up some grit. They know
    which size they need at that age. Amazing, isn't it!

    When to introduce chick scratch (if you can find that NOT, I will be using organic mixed grained cereal)

    Anytime after they start picking up grit you can start feeding them grains, bugs, etc. I cannot imagine a feed store (ANY feed store) that does not carry Chicken Scratch. Every major milling company makes it, and have been doing so for over 100 years. Maybe you confused them by asking for "chick scratch". Anything is possible with the level of help you have available these days. [​IMG]

    When to add fruits, veggies, grass & clover clippings etc.

    Anytime after they start picking up grit.

    When to let them out on the ground to scratch about???

    This is something that you will get many different answers on. I am supposing that you mean let them out of the run to free range. I would wait for them to start their roosting at nightfall first. Give them a week or so to get used to doing that, and then let them out around sunset or a little after. They should stick around the coop/run area in about a 60 foot radius and go back inside to roost as it gets darker. You should stay with them the first few times (at a distance) to protect from possible predators. I would not leave them outside alone until they get to be fully adult and big enough to whip the cat.

    Good luck!​
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011
  5. WendyGrama

    WendyGrama Out Of The Brooder

    59
    0
    29
    Jun 25, 2011
    Cottonwood, Arizona
    That all sounds very common sensical! The local and main feed store did not have any grit on hand, I had to order a 5 pound bag of chicken grit and then sieve out the finer bits. I will try putting a pan of local dirt in and see whats up.

    For now they have been introduced to wee bits of watermelon, cantelope and cooked egg yolk mixed with some fine organic multigrain hot cereal mix. For about 4 days now I have been calling to them and throwing out bits of their chick mash laced with some fine grit. Today they got a small dish of the fine grit and were picking thru that too.

    I am hoping to get them out on some grass next weekend in a wired in portable cage, but still have so much to do to get the run & coop ready too. All of the run foundation is ready and survived our major micro blast this weekend, now to finish framing up and wiring over. I'm still waiting for the handyman to show up and drill the anchors in the cement pad to start the coop itself. These guys are gonna be flying right over their indoor pen in no time!

    Thanx for your advice. As for scratch they had that but advised against it and had never heard of 'chick' scratch or grit. Told me it would likely kill the chicks to introduce it before they were actually laying age... basically said you feed them the chick starter until they lay and then you feed the next level of 'chicken' food.

    Like how did chickens every survive without humans????

    Thanx Again!
     
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    16,224
    672
    396
    Nov 18, 2007
    Florida
    My Coop
    You only need to supply grit when you are feeding the chicks other foods or treats. A chicken's food goes, as is, into the crop, where it is slowly funneled into a very small " stomach" for some digestive additives--then to the Gizzard, where it is 'chewed', that is, ground into material that can be digested as it moves into the intestines and so on... The Gizzard is best able to break down whole grains and other chunky bits that they eat when full of grit. Longest lasting grit is Granite. All other rock and stone is much softer, that it wears down fast and that is why granite grit is best choice and works really well for best utilization of feeds. My baby chicks are given free choice and they choose it with pleasure, Chick grit is fine Granite, as soon as they are given anything besides Starter Crumbles. Their tiny gizzards are at optimum function at an early age. I get my chick grit at our local TSC.
     
  7. BoltonChicken

    BoltonChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    501
    3
    111
    Apr 14, 2011
    Bolton, Mississippi
    Told me it would likely kill the chicks to introduce it before they were actually laying age...

    Where in the world to these feed stores find their "experts"?? Once chickens have grit they can eat anything an adult chicken can eat!

    I would take my business to another outlet.​
     
  8. WendyGrama

    WendyGrama Out Of The Brooder

    59
    0
    29
    Jun 25, 2011
    Cottonwood, Arizona
    OK, at 2+ weeks, they now have free choice granite chick grit and have been having some fine organic cereal grain, cooked egg yolk, melon, yogurt and fish oil. They all seem to be doing great, in fact I am going to have to screen over the top or have chicks running loose in my studio space. They have been on medicated chick starter since day one.

    However, about 3 days ago I started noticing some good sized, loose milk chocolate brown poops, not watery, not really bloody looking, just not really formed, not many but always 4 or 5 a day when cleaning out space. Can't tell which of the 11 are doing this even checking them daily. 2 had full but soft crops for a day but that seems to be ok now too. Sooooo is this normal at just pushing 3 weeks? I have stopped giving any grain and am mixing their medicated feed with the egg yolk, yogurt & fish oil now, they love it.

    They are in a big floor space, no heat lamp during the day, in fact an ice pack on the really hot days, and heat lamp from about 8 or 10p to 6 or 8a depending on the weather. They love the big space and its keeping their 2 water's way cleaner. I'm still using just a sheet for bedding and change it daily, washing them up with white vinegar rinse and hanging in full sun to dry.

    They have also been exposed to our local dirt thru rocks and branch in the space. So whats up with milk choc poops??? Is this really normal??? [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  9. BoltonChicken

    BoltonChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    501
    3
    111
    Apr 14, 2011
    Bolton, Mississippi
    More than likely nothing to worry about as chicken poop comes in many textures and colors, most all of them normal. All of them are covered at:

    http://www.chat.allotment.org.uk/index.php?topic=17568.0

    which has more information than you can believe. My chicks came up with a concoction that looked like melted chocolate. It changes every few days.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2011
  10. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    For treats, I like to start with sprouted fenugreek and sprouted mung beans. They are high in protein and vitamins. Fenugreek is a legume and they just go crazy over it. I just buy a couple pounds from an online spice store and it lasts a long time. Clover sprouts and alfalfa sprouts are great, too. Then, I start giving bits of garlic chives, tomatoes, hornworms, etc.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by