Giving new chicks treats and dirt!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by JenniferJoIN, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. JenniferJoIN

    JenniferJoIN Songster

    Sep 10, 2007
    Southern Indiana
    Hello all- I just received my chicks (from Meyer Hatchery) last week and have had a ball watching them and guessing what kind they are. (I got the brown-egg layers assortment... 11 hens and 1 silver wyandotte rooster, and one mystery chick!) I think my boyfriend is already sick of the "I think this one is a...." e-mails. [​IMG] Did I mention I'm new at the chicken-raising?
    I've been reading posts but haven't seen one to answer my question. My chics are 6 days old and doing great, but I was wondering what (or even if I should) I can give them as 'treats' at this age. I've been putting grass clippings in the cage to give them something to scratch at. And can I go ahead and put dirt in their cage for a dust bath? Hopefully I'll have pictures up soon so maybe I can get some help with "Guess what this chick is"!
    Another quick question is that some of their poop is runny... is this normal?
    Thanks to anyone with an opinion!
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Ok, so I'd not give them grass clippings since they will try to eat it and it can cause an impacted crop. Since you already gave them some, you'll need to give them scratch or dirt or play sand to eat to act as grit. If you give anything other than regular crumbles, you need to give some sort of grit to help them digest the food. I usually hold off on the treats for the first few weeks but you can give cooked rice, veggies, and yoghurt. Just do so in moderation and with grit.
  3. countrygirl4513

    countrygirl4513 Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    Portland TN
    I gave mine dirt to play in. It was so cute to see them dusting at such a young age. And they even got the occasional ant that came along in the dirt.
  4. JenniferJoIN

    JenniferJoIN Songster

    Sep 10, 2007
    Southern Indiana
    Oh no! In my pre-chick research, I had read grass clippings would help keep them from getting bored. I'll get some grit/sand today. Thanks!
  5. Cheryl

    Cheryl Songster

    so my chicks were outside yesterday for about 1 1/2 hours (at 2 weeks) and pecking around...looks like they were eating I need to give them grit? Is the stuff you give a parakeet OK?
  6. Windy Ridge

    Windy Ridge Songster

    Oct 3, 2007
    Honestly, I found that I could put something like a small piece of board in the bottom of the brooder for a while, and sprinkle their regular food on it, and they went crazy walking on the hard board and scratching at the food.

    (They were terrified the first time I put the board in, though [​IMG] !) Later, they were jumping up on it before I'd even had time to settle it down on the brooder floor.


    At first, I'd just leave my hand inside the brooder so they could get used to me, and then eventually, they'd eat the chick starter right out of my hand like it was a special treat. I also found they liked rolled oats (like Quaker), but I gave it to them in very small quantities, as it's low in protein and I didn't want to upset the balance of their diet. I really worry about that, but lots of people here worry much less than I do and have fun giving lots of treats.

    Mealworms are really good for them, too. If they're used to taking treats out of your hands, be prepared for a frenzy the first time you offer something like mealworms, though--OH MY GODS!

  7. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy Songster

    Aug 26, 2007
    Longmont, CO
    I was wondering this too. My girls are 5 days old now, and I just love to give treats, but I don't know what they can have.

    My pre-chick research says that grass clippings are fine too, and it helps keep them from pecking each other. It said a handful a couple times a day to help with the problem. But, it also said start grit at 3 days, so I've been doing that.

    Had to clean one bum today, but that's all so far.

    When can you give them scratch?
  8. JenniferJoIN

    JenniferJoIN Songster

    Sep 10, 2007
    Southern Indiana
    Mine are (almost) 5 weeks old now and I haven't started giving them scratch yet. But they do get to play outside a little bit now and they get bread. I think they're happy just gettin grass! [​IMG]
  9. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    I like chicks, too. They really are cute - - - wait, did I just say the "C" word?? [​IMG]

    Even though I like the little devils, I try not to give them anything except chick grower for many weeks into their growth. There is little point in it as they dont really need it.

    That being said, I have tried a few things. Hard boiled eggs mashed up seems to be okay. Milled oats (oatmeal) is a winner, as is Calf-Manna and C-M johnny-cake ( I actually like it, too . [​IMG] ). Green grass shreds in moderation hasnt done them any harm that I know of and is something that was recommended in the old books. Ditto for dark greens like spinach. But for the most part, they have sensitive little GI systems and I would avoid all the treats and stuff for several weeks.

    Dirt? Well, it was another recommendation from the old days, but more as a litter material. Of course it should be clean and dry and MOST importantly - it should not come from any spot where chickens have been raised in the past.
    I have never tried it as I always seem to have a huge supply of paper shreds or pine shavings around (I think this stuff breeds on its own...)

    At less than a week old, I'd suggest you just leave them alone, keep them clean with fresh water and feed them just chick crumbles as both feed and scratch. You can shove the goodies in them later.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2007
  10. momma-hen

    momma-hen Songster

    Jan 25, 2007
    My broodies have always taken their little ones out into the grass and dirt by 3 days old. I figure they know best. When i get a hatchery order, once they've settled in and realize whree and what the food and water is, I give them large clumps of grass-dirt and all- to dig in and peck at. Haven't killed a chick with this in +/- 40 years [​IMG]

    BTW, I think the crop impaction folks are worried about comes from long pieces of grass that they can't tear apart. Normally, when chicks eat grass, they would be breaking off a tiny piece....not a spaghetti length piece!

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