Feeding alternatives for chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by soldieratheart, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. soldieratheart

    soldieratheart Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 7, 2009
    Coopertown, TN

    Raising my first batch of chicks here, and they're all 2 weeks old and doing great. But I am starting to wonder about the feeding... what can I feed for treats? Most especailly, can I mix my own chick feed... I would love to do that, it seems a little easier to make interesting and tasty and switch ratios around for growth. On that note, can chicks, or chickens, eat wild bird feed as a treat? Can I buy some suet, or a samll bag of the dry wild bird mix, and let them enjoy it occasionaly (and how occasionally?) Right now I have a cheap little wire bird feeder hanging in the brooder and have been giving them some bread (plain, store-bought) in there every other day or so. They love it, but I'd like to swtich it out for something healthier.

    Does anybody else have these questions or know the answers? I am scared to kill my little chickies but long for something more than plain ol' chick starter feed... seems so boring!

    Thanks for any input!
  2. sjarvis00

    sjarvis00 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2009
    Shawnee, OKlahoma
    I often pull fresh vegatables, squash, sometimes apples or pears cut up they also love melons,
  3. possumqueen

    possumqueen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 17, 2009
    Monroe, North Carolina
    I've seen where folks will cut a cabbage in half and hang it cut side down in the pen. The girls get on that like white on rice.

    Meal worms are popular, too.

    And broccoli florets.

    One old friend of mine said her chickens LOVED cooked veggies!
  4. LauraSBale

    LauraSBale Chillin' With My Peeps

    you dont want to feed them to many treats, their feed has what they need to grow, I give my chicks when they are about 3 days old, as mix of ground old fashion oats, flax seed, corn meal w/ chick grit, i give them about 1 teasp each once a day, then when they get about 2 weeks old, i put in some cut up grass, as they get older, you can start to give table scraps, like left over tomato's, shredded carrots, cucumber, cooked rice, as grains go, just make sure they have grit or able to dirt, i give the one under 15 weeks maybe 2 to 3 times a week a scratch mix, for 10 i give about 2 cups. My older girls that are a year or so i give them scratch mix every other day and i have 14, i give them about 4 cups, you really dont want them to stop eating there feed,

    as for making your own rations, you have to make sure you get your mix nutritionally right, with the rations of vits, minerals, fat and so forth.

    bird seed is fine to give as a treat,
    suet is good to give in the winter, for that extra fat.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2009
  5. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    2 WEEKS OLD. They shouldn't have much besides chick starter till they have more bacteria in their gut and are able to utilize grit properly.

    Yes, chicks in the wild manage, but modern chickens get the best start with access to starter for a while longer yet.

    Read the "Learning Center" area, esp in the "how to" section, here is a link to "The first 60 days"


    bread is a total junk food for them, be careful with it even with grown chickens. I use it for a bribe and a treat occasionally, they're much better off without it though!
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2009
  6. LauraSBale

    LauraSBale Chillin' With My Peeps

    I will give bread once in a while but when it a whole grain, or the 10 or 12 grain breads. and that may be once a month
  7. soldieratheart

    soldieratheart Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 7, 2009
    Coopertown, TN
    Ooooh... thanks for the link PortageGirl. I've been clicking around the site but hadn't come up with that page yet.

    Good to know that bread is not a very good snack for them... I kinda suspected it but didn't know my options.

    So... I guess they will have to deal with starter feed mostly? I will add some chick grit so they can have a small amount of wild bird feed mixd into their feed as a little "extra", maybe? (The kind I got is the all-purpose, organic kind with millet,oats, cracked corn, cranberries, etc.) when they are big enough to go into the unheated coop later this fall, I might let them have some suet once a month or so. Other than that, treats only 1-2 times a week, huh?

    I like the idea of mixing a small bit - maybe 1/4 cup / trough - of the mix I got into their feed to add variety, as the feed itself will ensure that they have the necessary nutrients. But I'll stick to a weekly ear of corn or half-cabbage and such otherwise, when they are a bit bigger.

    I guess I just like having something special because I would like them to be pet-tame, so I like having a scrap of treat to bring them whenever I stick my hand into their brooder. They are already rushing to see me when I walk into the garage, and cluster to my hand and let me stroke them a bit and peck my hand gently as they know that I will have a goodie there! I do want to keep that up without ruining them, so maybe just a dried cranberry or two or even some of their feed will do.

    Thanks for the feedback! I hope that sounds like a good plan?
  8. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well, you should scope out the FAQ and other links here...


    I'd say at 2 or 3 weeks, they could have a little yogurt... applesauce maybe? be careful, till their digestive tracts are all primed is all. You wouldn't feed a human baby steak would you? That's what feeding seeds to them before they get grit working would be like. Another thing to worry about is scours, (the runs), and feeding them veg too early can cause that.

    THis treat page is great, but again, not till they're older!!!

    If they're out with mama, watching her and pecking at what she pecks, they start getting small sand and dirt and stone (i.e. grit) in their crop very early, not like in our controlled conditions in a brooder. Chick starter gives them balanced vitamens, nutrients and protein so that's the trade off of a less than natural start.

    Sorry to write a book here, I'll go away now! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  9. LauraSBale

    LauraSBale Chillin' With My Peeps

    just a thought i wouldn't mix the any thing in to there feed, they will scratch out all the feed to get to the good stuff, they you will have feed all over and most of it will go to waste, put it another bowl or feeder or just throw it on the ground and the eat it up [​IMG]

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