How can I improvise feed for 3-4 weeks old chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Petra Pancake, Nov 7, 2016.

  1. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Chillin' With My Peeps

    Last week I bought (sort of unplanned) a hen with her two chicks which are now 3-4 weeks old. I've never had baby chicks before and the shop where I usually buy layer feed for my other hens doesn't have special feed for chicks. Until I've located a new source to get chick feed, what can I give them? So far, they've been eating layer feed but I read that that's not good for them because of too much calcium. How can I improvise? Should I give them and their mother rolled oats and wheat? Bread and vegetables? I'll try to get proper chick feed, but it might be another week or two until then.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    They need to be taken off the layer right away. Bread isn't good for them. They need higher protein.
    You can temporarily feed oats and wheat and supplement with some chopped up meat or fish.

    2+ weeks or more of 4% calcium in feed can cause some kidney damage in the chicks.
     
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  3. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    if you can find an "all flock" or "Flockraiser" Or even a "Meatbird" poultry feed, they can be fed to both sexes and any age chickens.
    Best,
    Karen
     
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  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I"m not sure where you're located, but here my local Wal-Mart and Bi-Mart carry chick starter. You might try looking in places like that, not just a feed or pet store.

    If you really have to improvise for a few days, I'd make it as varied as possible. Not sure why bread isn't good for them? Not as a sole ration, of course, but my birds get bread when we have old stuff and they're fine. Veggies, grains, fruit, those are all good. You'll also need some protein. check out beans, lentils, cat food, meat scraps, etc.
     
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  5. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you all for the suggestions. I'll improvise with oats and wheat (would fermenting/sprouting the wheat be a good idea?) and add boiled eggs or cat food for protein until I can get something more standardized. There must be some sort of all-flock feed somewhere. I live in the Middle East - the next Wal-Mart is probably hundreds (thousands?) of miles away, but as other people here have chickens and chicks as well, I'll ask around and hopefully find something.
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Most things like white bread have too much salt, sugar and just not enough real food in it.
    Since they're in the Middle East, their bread may be much better than it is here.

    Good suggestions on making it as varied as possible.

    Good point. Just ask your neighbors what they do.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2016
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  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Okay, I guess it just depends on your bread.

    I figure the bread I buy for my kids is good enough for my chickens. But I don't buy cheapie white bread, that's [​IMG]
     
  8. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Chillin' With My Peeps

    Uhmm ... I asked some chicken-keeping neighbors what they feed to their baby chicks. The answers were 1) "Layer feed, of course. Never heard of problems with calcium" , 2) "Couscous is good for them" and 3) "kitchen scraps and vegetables, what else?". As many chickens around here, including mine, are traditional "Baladi" barnyard mixes, maybe they have sort of adapted to that kind of food over the generations... I tried cooked whole wheat and rolled oats on mine today but they just turned their noses (beaks) up on that and didn't eat much -seems that the layer feed somehow tastes or looks better to them. As far as bread is concerned, all my chickens clearly prefer my home-baked bread over any commercially prepared one (and so do my husband and kids). Well, I'll keep trying to come up with some reasonable baby chick nutrition. In the meantime, the chicks look and behave fine and clearly have grown over the last week.
     

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