Feeding chicks meat/veggies? Alternatives for commercial feed?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by tiffany62590, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. tiffany62590

    tiffany62590 New Egg

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    Jan 1, 2015
    Florida
    I'm getting a batch of 15 chicks in a few weeks and plan to raise them free range (I live on 10 acres and have lots of room!). My goal is to raise them as naturally and organically as possible - meaning, I hope to feed them as little commercial food and medications as possible, especially once they are full grown and have access to pasture and can forage. I know until they're bigger that I'm probably going to end up using an organic brand of chick starter feed, but is it ok to supplement that with veggies and maybe very finely ground beef for protein? Has anyone ever raised chickens without using commercial feed, and if so what did you use instead?
     
  2. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Since you are in Florida, this idea will work better than for someone with a harsh winter. If you give them other things make sure they can get grit to digest it, either commercial or from the dirt on the weed ball of proffered plants. You will need to give them Starter in youth. Do not allow them to get nutrient deficient, give them commercial feed if they look like they need help in the food department. Be aware that they likely will not lay nearly as "well" as a chicken given layer, there will be less eggs.
     
  3. matt44644

    matt44644 Chillin' With My Peeps

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  4. newwestchick

    newwestchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Tatiana has been brooding her batch on a home devised diet, with success over the last two weeks. Her recipe is her:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/945823/17-baby-chicks-hatched-on-christmas

    I've been supplementing my organic starter with our winter greens, meat, sprouted lentils etc. and the chicks are HUGE and very active.

    Like the other poster mentioned - if you're giving anything other than starter make sure they have access to grit. Commercial grit can be offered freely or sprinkled on their food. I also lay clumps of sod in the brooder so they can scratch out the tiny bugs and worms, they also eat the dirt and get some grit there too.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    A point on fleshes like cow and pig and the like is that chickens do not naturally eat it. The fats, acids, and nutrients are different than worms and grubs. I would not give them too much of it and instead offer worms and bugs.
     
  6. tiffany62590

    tiffany62590 New Egg

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    Jan 1, 2015
    Florida
    Thanks for all the help! :)

    Is it safe to give chicks just regular sod/grit from the yard? We have never used pesticides or anything on our land (we have added nothing at all to the soil in the 2 decades we've lived here) so I'm not worried about that, just don't want to give the chicks anything that could...I don't know, choke them or make them sick lol.
     
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    After I have my chicks eating well, and knowing what their feed dish is all about, I dig a piece of sod, being sure the grass is clipped short. Then flip it over, set it in a pie dish or on a piece of cardboard, and let them have at it. They'll give you quite a show as they go to town on that sod!
     

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