How old before they can eat something other than mash?

my three chickens

In the Brooder
12 Years
Jan 13, 2008
41
4
32
So many questions with my new chicks!

The current one:
How old must they be before I can start feeding them things other than mash/crumbles? For instance, I'd like to give them some clover from the garden (delivered to them--it's too cold yet to go outside).

And... does this mean I should feed them grit? And if so, is there a natural version of grit that I can collect from the garden? The closest feed store to me doesn't sell it.

Thanks!
 

hypnofrogstevie

chick magnet
12 Years
Jul 12, 2007
7,365
14
261
Newton NJ
how old are your girls. they can have layer pellets and grit is just crushed pebble. you can also give oyster shell for calcium. If they free range they pick up the little pebbles in the grass
 

my three chickens

In the Brooder
12 Years
Jan 13, 2008
41
4
32
Oh, they're still babies--five days old or so. Still in the brooder, so not picking up pebbles from the dirt yet.

How long should I wait?
 

silkiechicken

Staff PhD
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
13 Years
Jan 25, 2007
21,494
964
393
Everett WA/Corvallis OR
You can give them a bit of clean sand or dirt from their future run so they can play in that and get some grit, plus, start getting exposure to organisms in their future environment. If you use run sand, don't put too much at one time so you don't overwhelm their systems.

Treats are fine now, just very tiny quantities as you don't want to over load their systems. I usually start treats as a few grains of rice at like a week old. But not more than maybe a grain a chick till they are older.
 

ruth

Life is a Journey
12 Years
Jul 8, 2007
4,273
118
271
Woodville, MS
I feed mine scrambled egg from day one, also cooked rice, and shredded cheese - they love all three once they try it and it will be a feeding frenzy after that. Once they are eating that I start on diced up everything else - tomatoes, greens, veggies, fruits. I put them outside on grass at two weeks old if it's at least 70 and sunny.
 

MissPrissy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 7, 2007
24,434
102
371
Forks, Virginia
I try to wait until 4 weeks on treats so that I know they know the crumbles are the normal feed and what they should be eating. With that said this 2 weeks old bunch of chicks I hatched are growing fast and they are BIG. I have given them meal worms on several occassions to give them plenty of protein. They are eating more than 2 quarts of starter a day and that is 12 chicks. At 4 weeks I will introduce them to boiled egg, cooked rice and homemade yogurt as their treats plus whatever green leafy veggies pieces I might have. As they have plenty of starter feed available I don't worry too much about grit as I sprinkle the starter into their treats.
 

ruth

Life is a Journey
12 Years
Jul 8, 2007
4,273
118
271
Woodville, MS
Miss Prissy is right - it's important that they are also eating the chick starter food. Mine are consuming it faster than I can fill their bowls. I bought some day olds a couple of days ago and a few more today and they are eating me out of house and home - I had to buy large feeders since the little bowls I was using were being emptied like a shark feeding frenzy. So, like Miss Prissy said, as long as I see the newly hatched/day olds eating and drinking their starter food and water - I start adding cooked egg - it's so high in protein and vitamins that I believe it's really good for them.
 

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