Chick Starter?

ChaoSS

Songster
5 Years
Mar 24, 2014
322
46
103
Ok, so Chicken math got the best of me, and although I ordered 25 birds to show up in 2 weeks, I was at the Tractor Supply today looking for stuff to get ready and they were getting rid of the last 10 Cornish Rock's for a buck a piece. Figured I might as well get started practicing with chicks with some cheaper ones, in case any thing goes wrong, so I came home with a bag of chick starter and 10 chicks. They got them in on Thursday, (today is Saturday) and I'm assuming they probably hatched Monday or Tuesday, so about 5 days old I'd guess.


My question is about the chick starter. I remember reading that you don't need grit yet with starter, but I thought starter was basically powder? This stuff is "pellets" about 2-3 mm across, and a bit of it is powdered. Will this break down without grit or do I need to rush out and get them some grit?


Thanks in advance.


Also, I'd read you should put paper towels above the wood shavings, but they didn't have that on the shavings at the TSC, and they didn't seem to have any problems with it, and the paper towels are quickly becoming filthy. Just leave them out?


:edit:

The feed is Purina Start and Grow Chick starter.
 
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jjrj254

Songster
6 Years
Mar 29, 2013
136
15
116
I use that same chick starter for my chicks and I've never used grit and they all end up great
 

ladycat

Songster
10 Years
Apr 4, 2009
1,953
167
218
Between Wichita Falls TX and Waurika OK.
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Also, I'd read you should put paper towels above the wood shavings, but they didn't have that on the shavings at the TSC, and they didn't seem to have any problems with it, and the paper towels are quickly becoming filthy. Just leave them out?
I use plain shavings, no paper towels. I have no problems at all doing it that way.
 

ChickensAreSweet

Heavenly Grains for Hens
9 Years
Jun 8, 2010
15,100
621
398
Pacific NW- where the Douglas Firs grow
With commercial cracked feed like that you don't need grit.

You need grit with treats, whole grains/seeds, and grass clippings. If they are free ranging they will find grit.


With them being that old, just shavings are OK.

With your new chicks coming I recommend a few days of paper towels on top of shavings until they learn their food.

Also, in case you weren't aware, meat birds have different feeding schedule requirements. I have not raised them, but I am aware that they should have their feed scheduled in shifts, and don't live long natural lives...best to go over to the meat birds section of BYC if you need to research more about them.

Or ask here on this thread too...but I wanted you to be aware that they are definitely different birds.
 
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ChaoSS

Songster
5 Years
Mar 24, 2014
322
46
103
With commercial cracked feed like that you don't need grit.

You need grit with treats, whole grains/seeds, and grass clippings. If they are free ranging they will find grit.


With them being that old, just shavings are OK.

With your new chicks coming I recommend a few days of paper towels on top of shavings until they learn their food.

Also, in case you weren't aware, meat birds have different feeding schedule requirements. I have not raised them, but I am aware that they should have their feed scheduled in shifts, and don't live long natural lives...best to go over to the meat birds section of BYC if you need to research more about them.

Or ask here on this thread too...but I wanted you to be aware that they are definitely different birds.
Yes, thank you. I am aware of the differences. I was planning on free feeding for a little bit at least while they get settled in. It took them a little while to start eating, now they seem to be alternating between eating and sleeping for the most part.


When it comes time for extras, is there a slow introductory period? I'm used to rabbits, can't just take a rabbit that's used to nothing but pellets and feed it a bunch of grass. Do I need to take it easy when I introduce the greens? I'm growing a whole yard full of greens, plenty of weeds that my rabbits just love, so I'm sure the chickens won't mind a bit of that, but I don't want to kill them giving them too much up front.


Hopefully they do ok with free feeding for a little bit, the chicks I have coming are a mix of layers and DP and meaties, and when they show up I'm thinking these guys will still be in a brooder box, and I wasn't looking to do three different brooder boxes... Heck, I don't know that I would even be able to tell the difference between the different chicks I have coming until they start growing up a little bit.
 

dheltzel

Crowing
6 Years
Nov 30, 2013
4,594
1,482
321
Pottstown, PA
A chick's digestive system is a lot "stronger" than a rabbit's. I'd still start gradually with small amounts, because they might not choose eat it and then it just makes a mess, but give them a variety of different things, as you have them.

You will need to keep the 2 sets separate of course, that probably doesn't need to be said. By the time your new ones get there, the cornish x's can probably squash them like a bug!
 

ChickensAreSweet

Heavenly Grains for Hens
9 Years
Jun 8, 2010
15,100
621
398
Pacific NW- where the Douglas Firs grow
Quote: I agree with dheltzel in that starting small with treats is good. I don't know rabbits...been since I was a kid since I had rabbits (we have wild ones though).

They don't really seem to be that interested in treats when they are little chicks from my experience, but they DO enjoy a few very short grass clippings (1 inch or less for chicks and 1-2 inches for older chickens) and I think the vitamins that are in them are good for them. I start mine on grass clippings now at about one week of age. But I only give them what they can clean up in a little while. So just a handful or so.
 

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
24,530
13,025
707
Southeast Louisiana
This may be too much information and just confuse the issue, but when they make chicken feed, the company gathers all the components of the feed they want to make and grind it all together to make a powder. That is called Mash. To make Pellets, they take that powder and wet it with water to make a paste, extrude it through a die, and flash dry it. To make Crumbles, which is what you are describing, they partially crush the pellets. There are different reasons they make different forms, the big one is that different automatic feeding systems work better with different forms of feed.

Chickens don’t have teeth to chew up their food, so they use gravel in their gizzard in place of teeth to do that for them. But since the chicken feed has already been ground up real fine, they don’t need to chew it up. Their digestive system has liquids in it. When those crumbles or pellets get wet, they dissolve back into a wet powder.

Before you give them treats like grass, vegetables, or much of anything else they need grit to grind that up. I agree with the others to start small with that stuff. Chickens don’t like change and are often very suspicious of anything new. A lot of times when you offer them something new, they won’t touch it. But if one gets brave enough to try it, it’s usually not that long before they are all eating it.

Cabbage is one of the most mentioned treats on this forum. I’ve had grown chickens ignore cabbage before. They are not used to it and don’t trust it. I just leave it in the run. Usually a couple of days later it will disappear. One finally got the courage to try it. Just be patient with them. They will move at their own pace.
 

ChaoSS

Songster
5 Years
Mar 24, 2014
322
46
103
I was thinking about giving them a scrambled egg, or some egg and oatmeal....

Will the egg shell, crushed up, work as grit or should I just get some sand for them? I'll have to get sand for them soon anyway, but I'm not sure I was going to go anywhere today, but I don't need to feed them anything different today anyway.

And no, it's not too much info, it makes sense. It's kind of what i was thinking, I just asked because I had thought chick starter was just powder...

And I can give them grass and weed clippings, I was thinking if I scattered a little bit in the brooder it might be fun for them to have something to pick at. I was also thinking of dumping in some of the finely pulverized alfalfa that the rabbits get. After they get some grit in them, of course.
 
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