Concerns about Calcium and Baby Chicks and Other Silly Questions...

Contessa

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jan 21, 2010
88
0
39
Bethany, OK
Chalk it up to being a noob I suppose, but I am kind of confused.

I notice that people give chicks as young as a day old yogurt for probiotics. I also have read that people will give slightly older chicks grit and treats. Can someone please explain when these things are OK?

I know that too much calcium is very bad for chicks because it can ruin their kidneys. How much is too much? So for instance, I know that giving chicks layer feed at this stage would be catastrophicallty bad because the protien and calcium contents are wrong. Could giving the chick yogurt to soon also be bad?

When is it OK to introduce grit and treats? I know there's a really great list of acceptable treats here but I missed when it was OK to start. I see them pecking around in their shavings and feel bad because I think that they're bored with starter, but then I am a goofy human and they are chicks.... I don't want to give them anything that would be a detrement to their health or wellbeing because I might think they need more variation.

If anyone can point me to some good books on chicken nutrition (the easier to read the better - I have a short attention span and a toddler) I would greatly appreciate it too...

Thanks!
 

Pet Duck Boy

Songster
10 Years
Dec 12, 2009
1,373
17
161
Orlando, FL
From what I hear you shouldn't give anything besides chick starter until week one, Just to be safe. I've never delt with giving yogurt....so I can't say. But anything besides starter is a treat, and you should only give a small amount once a day. I find you can give boiled egg after week one, sometimes they'll take it. Other times they won't. But they are bound to take to it eventually. Offer new things every week. Chick grit is just fine sand and very small pebbles. I'm sure you could get away with play sand for grit. If your unsure about something, then don't offer it. I'm sure yogurt would be good for bacteria, but I just wouldn't risk it. You can offer grit from the start, as long as it's fine. They can pretty much gorge themselves on it. Grit is almost like another treat to my chicks. Good luck!
 

Domestic_goddess

Songster
10 Years
Mar 26, 2009
1,747
24
173
Utah
You will mostly likely get a difference in opinions. For me, I only us chick starter for the first 3-4 months and then start on scratch...until they start laying and start on layer pellets. I've never had to worry to much about the grit...only needed if you give them lots of treats and then will need help digesting. Mine free range in the yard and most likely get all the grit they need by foraging.
 

Contessa

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jan 21, 2010
88
0
39
Bethany, OK
Thank you both!

One of my co-workers recommended sticking with starter and adding scratch and then moving to layer just as you suggested. I did think that made sense. I would like to give them clean scraps and whatnot.

I'm kind of hesitant to rely soley on what they'll get from our yard for grit. Most of our soil is heavy with clay and I would be concerned that they'd find enough to help them break things up. That might be silly, but I tend to be a little overly cautious. I have to check the feed store here and see what they have available. I know a few places that are further away have most everything we would need. I almost picked up parakeet grit, but it had oyster shell which screamed "no no" to me.
 

Pet Duck Boy

Songster
10 Years
Dec 12, 2009
1,373
17
161
Orlando, FL
To tell the truth I'm actually using parakeet grit at the moment. I don't know why I hadn't looked at the ingredients before, it does have calcium! I already have a bunch of sand in my backyard, I'll just stick with that.
 

Contessa

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jan 21, 2010
88
0
39
Bethany, OK
Quote:
I don't think it did years ago. We had cockatiels and when we gave them grit it looked just like sand. Your duck is precious BTW!
 

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