HELP! My chicks eat EVERYTHING!

Pet Duck Boy

Songster
10 Years
Dec 12, 2009
1,373
17
161
Orlando, FL
It might sound fine at first, but now it's really worrying. If my chicks can swallow it, they will eat it. Whether it be seeds, plastic, wood shavings, paper towel! They just won't quit! I had them on shavings for a week straight without a problem. And suddenly they ignore their food, and start gulping down every single small shaving in sight. They eat ALOT, enough to make their crop hard. I tried paper towel, but then they ripped that up and ate it too! I switched to a towel, but my parents absoloutly HATE that. The towels only last a day before I have to remove them, and by then they are covered poop so they can't be used again. How the heck do I break this? It's really annoying, worrying, and just plain stupid. I havn't changed much in the last few days at all, one of the chicks just decided to try some shavings, and it liked it. So they all started eating it. they seem fine otherwise, playing, jumping, flapping, drinking. They only eat their food when there isn't anything else to eat. If there's shavings, they'll eat that instead of chick starter. Do I need to keep them on something they can't eat for several days? Will eating this stuff harm them in any way?
 

AnnainMD

Songster
9 Years
Feb 1, 2010
270
1
121
Eldersburg, MD
I am no expert, at all, hopefully someone else will chime in here...

Are they hungry? Are they bored? I remember reading somewhere that someone used newspaper covered with 1/2" hardware cloth (with the sharp ends tucked under) to prevent spraddle leg, but that way they also couldn't peck at any litter. They would change the newspaper everyday, the chicks had traction from the hardware cloth and they didn't eat any litter.

How old are they by the way?
 

Revelle

Songster
9 Years
Jan 30, 2010
339
2
121
Silvis
I think I read a thread where someone's chicks started doing the same thing just because of an addition of a fan. So maybe something changed unnoticeably to you, but noticeable to the chicks?

I think they can have problems if they continue eatting pine shavings. I heard it can end up blocking their vent if it's not digested all the way. :x (Not completely sure, barely remember where I read that?)
 

Pet Duck Boy

Songster
10 Years
Dec 12, 2009
1,373
17
161
Orlando, FL
Quote:
LOL, that was my thread. I turned the fan off, but they still continue this behavior. Whatever it is, I can't really tell if anything is wrong. They seem fine otherwise and I havn't changed anything. The chicks are 17 days old. I kept them on shredded paper for the first week, and then switched to shavings. There was only a few nibbles, but everything was fine until now. The thing is, I thought they only loved to eat wood shavings. But nope, as my thread title states. They eat anything. I had a few pieces of plastic fall in, and the chicks ate it. I brought in grass clippings from outside, which they ate. But I also had a few seeds from my bird feeder mixed in, and they ate that too. My point is, they are eating things young chicks shouldn't, and it has me worried.
 

Mrs.Puff

Songster
11 Years
Apr 16, 2008
627
3
151
Southern Iowa
Take away the wood shavings. They will get pasty butt and then you'll be in trouble. Chicks that old can definitely eat grass and seeds, but they need some grit to help digest it. You MUST give them some grit. Chick grit (which is just sand basically) can be bought at some feed stores. Tractor supply carries it. A scoop of sand works just as well. I would only let them get at stuff they should eat, absolutely no shavings or paper towels. Eventually they will get hungry enough to eat the feed. Also you might consider.... is the feed fresh? Is it moldy or icky in any way?

FYI: When babies are raised by mama hens in the "wild" (free range), they are eating a variety of stuff by day two. Really.

Hope that helps!

PS: Old raggedy towels make good bedding. Just go get some at a thrift store. If your folks won't let you wash them at home, wash them at the laundromat.
 
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Pet Duck Boy

Songster
10 Years
Dec 12, 2009
1,373
17
161
Orlando, FL
Yeah, I'm making sure they get plenty of grit. It's almost like another treat to them. Ok, I guess I won't stay with wood shavings then. But they eat paper towel also. Should I keep them on a cloth towel for a few days and then switch to paper towel and see what happens?
 

Hangin Wit My Peeps

AutumnBreezeChickens.com
11 Years
Apr 20, 2008
6,396
32
263
Birnamwood, Wisconsin
Mine did/do the same thing...now that they are free ranging we try to keep things picked up but I really don't think you have to worry....I mean if anyone ever watched chicks or chickens they DO eat everything LOL It's normal...just try to keep things like glass or cig butts out of their reach because that can kill them. Mine have honestly eaten more pine shavings then I can even imagine and they are now two years old and they still eat everything. Did you ever try the head of lettuce or cabbage? That really helped mine not eat so much pine. Let them outside to munch up some grass and they will have a blast
big_smile.png
 

Pet Duck Boy

Songster
10 Years
Dec 12, 2009
1,373
17
161
Orlando, FL
I think I'll try the head of lettuce. I know, I worry too much. These are my first chicks so I wasn't sure if this was normal. Thanks!
 

Kiwibird

Crowing
Jan 24, 2008
724
1,915
407
NZ
Can you cage them outside on grass during the daytime? That way they can only eat shavings at night. We would consider them old enough here, provided they have shade and shelter in case of rain.
 

Revelle

Songster
9 Years
Jan 30, 2010
339
2
121
Silvis
Quote:
LOL, that was my thread. I turned the fan off, but they still continue this behavior. Whatever it is, I can't really tell if anything is wrong. They seem fine otherwise and I havn't changed anything. The chicks are 17 days old. I kept them on shredded paper for the first week, and then switched to shavings. There was only a few nibbles, but everything was fine until now. The thing is, I thought they only loved to eat wood shavings. But nope, as my thread title states. They eat anything. I had a few pieces of plastic fall in, and the chicks ate it. I brought in grass clippings from outside, which they ate. But I also had a few seeds from my bird feeder mixed in, and they ate that too. My point is, they are eating things young chicks shouldn't, and it has me worried.

gig.gif
My bad! I lost it, and thought it was solved.
wink.png


Right now it's reminding me of ferret mentality: If it's smaller, it's food!
 
Valley Hatchery

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