Feed Questions - 1 more day until I get my first set of chicks!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Bridgette1221, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. Bridgette1221

    Bridgette1221 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 29, 2009
    I'm getting really anxious for Thursday morning to come, which is when I'm getting my first set of chicks, but the closer it comes the more I'm concerened I know everything I need to know about their care. First off, I must say thank you to everyone here. Ya'll have been so helpful and kind and I really appreciate it! I'm wanting to know what you all feed your baby chicks when you get them? I have read about the chick starter I think its called but also saw a few posts about something called mash I think it was... what exactly is that? Also I read that they need grit... not quite sure what that is either. Do you recommend the medicated feed? Also I noticed that some of the hatcherys offered immunizations before they ship them but the feed store I'm getting them from said they do not offer that.... is that something I can do or need to do? Or is the medicated feed enough? I just want to give them the best start they can have and would appreciate any advise on the subject. Another thing I noticed was some of you gave sugar water to the chicks.... is that for ill chicks only or all? Is there any supplements I need to be buying for the chicks water? Oh man, I have so many questions... I hope I'm not being a bother. One more thing ... I read on here where some of you have taped a toothpick, match, Q-tip ect to a chicks leg.... under what circumstances would someone need to do that?
     
  2. BorderKelpie

    BorderKelpie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 1, 2009
    outside Dallas
    Hi, and congratulations!
    Exciting and scary, isn't it?
    You'll be ok.
    Ok, first, I feed starter mash to my babies for the first 7-8 weeks. I go with unmedicated, but that is your decision. The medication is a coccidiastat. If you are able to keep them VERY clean (not sterile, though) you don't need it. It's up to you.
    Second, you don't need grit if they are eating mash, but if you offer any treats, it would be a good idea. I use parakeet grit for babies.
    Third, I don't have mine vaccinated, that doesn't seem to be a huge issue with small family flocks, check with your vet if you are concerned. Athough, for Mereck's, they should have already been done for it to give them full benefit.
    Ok, sugar water, offer that for their first watering when you first get them. After that, go with straight water. The sugar just gives them a boost when they are stressed from traveling.
    The leg splints are usually for spraddle leg, you shouldn't have to worry about that, just make sure they have solid footing, not slippery bedding. Pine shavings are ok, newspaper is not. Do not use cedar, the oils are toxic.
    Ther, I hope I got your questions. Now go get ready for your new babies! I wish you the best. Have fun with them!
     
  3. PostalChick

    PostalChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 29, 2009
    Central CT
    My thirteen young ladies are a month old today-I can't believe they all lived! (first time with chickens for us). Anyhow, I fed them 'chick starter', it came in a little bag from the local hardware store. I think it is a brand called Nutrena. Looking at the bag, it does seem to have medication. It is the only kind they have there. I just fed them that, and clean water.

    Just this week, I started buying regular chicken feed-same brand-since they were going through a bag of chick starter in a few days. This bag is 25 lbs so should last awhile [​IMG] There is another kind called 'layer mash' which I guess I will use when they're closer to laying age. I think all these feeds have grit in them. All I feed my chicks is the feed, and now that they are getting big, an occasional treat (a waffle, leftover carrots, ect).

    It really has been easier than I thought. No one's legs spraddled, and I really expected some to die but none did (so far).
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I'll add my $0.02 worth. Seems like this glitch here is changein c h i c k to hen, as well as e g g to rooster.


    I'm wanting to know what you all feed your baby chicks when you get them? I have read about the chick starter I think its called but also saw a few posts about something called mash I think it was... what exactly is that?

    Feed comes in three sizes. Mash is ground up pretty fine. Crumbles are larger chunks. Pellets are larger still. Start your chicks off with mash. It is wasteful, but is easier for them. If you don't have mash, no worries. A food processor can make some from crumbles. Pellets for chicks should not be available. When they get older, you can switch to crumbles. They should be less wasteful.

    Feed chick starter until they are about 6 to 8 weeks old. Make sure it is chick starter and not for ducks or other animals. Then you switch to a grower ration. And when they are ready to lay, either 16 to 20 weeks old or you see the first e g g, switch to layer ration.

    Also I read that they need grit... not quite sure what that is either.

    Grit is small rocks or sand that they use in their gizzards to grind up their food. Oyster shell is something totally different. If they only get c h i c k starter, they probably do not need grit. You can check to see if the food has grit. I like to offer grit free-choice when they are about 2 days old. My reasoning is that you cannot always control everything they eat. What if a hard-shelled bug fatally wanders into their area? It is just something that I don't see causes any harm and may do some good. Just my personal opinion.

    Or is the medicated feed enough? I just want to give them the best start they can have and would appreciate any advise on the subject.

    The medicated feed is totally different from vaccinations. It's too long to get into depth about t it here, but you can do a search on "cocci" and find a lot of information. The medicated feed is not an antibiotic, btw. I consider it insurance against coccidiosis. It does not prevent cocci, but increases their chances if they get a bad case. Keeping the brooder clean will go a long way to prevent cocci.

    Hope some of this helps.
     
  5. Bridgette1221

    Bridgette1221 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 29, 2009
    So the wet mash is just .. well wet? lol Just add a bit of water? Once again, thanks to all of you for your wonderful advise.
     
  6. the_great_snag

    the_great_snag Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2007
    Staples, Minnesota
    Most feed stores should offer chick starter feed in 50 pound bags. Most of the literature I've read says that the best plan is to feed them only chick starter the first few weeks. If you do this, you do not need to worry about grit. I don't think a pinch of grit would do them any harm though. Just sprinkle it over the feed like you were salting it. I used to buy "chick grit" from the hatchery where I used to live, and it is essentially parakeet grit but a lot cheaper than the puny boxes you get in the pet store.

    I have also read that you should NOT feed layer ration until they are old enough to start laying.

    Most of the hatcheries have instruction sheets which will give you their recommendations on feeding. I would tend to trust them, as it's in their best interest to ensure you give your chicks their best start in life.

    Just hit any hatchery website and read up is my best recommendation.
     

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