How old do chicks have t be before they can eat fresh food?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Eggnog101, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. Eggnog101

    Eggnog101 Songster

    Jun 26, 2012
    I have silkie chicks arriving in April,and am wondering when I can feed them fresh food such as lettuce,carrots, bread etc. the first time we got chickens,we didn't feed them fresh food until they were nearly fully feathered. and, what foods should I start with?

    Thanks in advance for your time [​IMG]
  2. tinah

    tinah In the Brooder

    Mar 10, 2013
    I throw all sorts of stuff in my brooder: suet cubes, little hunks of pork, a slice of apple, celery leaves, scratch, a handful of grass, dried mealworms, a baby roach, and I'm sure I'm forgetting something. Some of it they eat, some they don't. What doesn't get eaten in an hour or so of the "exotic" stuff gets cleaned up. I started when they were about 4 or 5 days old. But then again I'm the type of person that stuck two sticks in there for the little guys to roost on, too.

    ps- make sure that you offer them grit too. I couldn't fimd chick grit, so I just a regular bag and offered them some. they pick through it for the smaller bits.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
  3. BarredRockGirls

    BarredRockGirls Songster

    Mar 6, 2013
    at 5 days i started w a hard boiled egg mashed up / they loved it . then i gave them really well cooked spaghetti pieces . omg thats hilarious!! its BY far their favorite so far . the chick grit i got for them from the feed store was way too big and they wouldnt regrind it - like they said they would- soooo i just used some sand i had . they love that too :)
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
  4. crazy4chickens5

    crazy4chickens5 Chirping

    May 26, 2012
    Usually to be safe I actually wait all the way up to 2 weeks. You have to remember how delicate their immune system and organs are. The chicks need to acclimate to everything before they eat live, potentially harmful foods. Make sure if you start really early to wash whatever you have VERY WELL. But then again, the chicks LOVE it! :) So the earliest you can start, in my opinion, is 6 days of ARRIVAL, not age, because that's an acclimation period. My chick's favorites are cut mealworms, greens like grass (don't ask me why), and crickets. Good luck with your future Silkies! :) What kind? I have a buff, and I used to have a Partridge.
  5. Eggnog101

    Eggnog101 Songster

    Jun 26, 2012
    Thank you for your oppinion, I think I'll wait for a week or two [​IMG] so excited for April 8th!

    We have to get eight so they stay warm enough on the trip. Three Whites, three Parthridges, and two Buffs.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    A broody doesn’t care how delicate their immune systems and organs are. The first thing she does when she brings them off the nest is take them where they can peck at the ground for grit and food. They also get dirt which contains any probiotics the flock has and any disease organisms the flock has so they can start to work on their immunities.

    They need grit before they eat about anything other than the prepared chick feed. The chick feed has already been ground up enough they don’t need grit for that. Any treats you feed need to be fed in moderation. The prepared chick feed needs to be their primary source of nutrition.

    There is nothing wrong with waiting a while to start feeding them other stuff. It’s a good idea for them to get used to eating their chick feed as a primary food source, but that only takes a couple of days.

    The stuff should also be in fairly small pieces to start with. When they are eating growing plants, for example, they peck off a small bite. The roots are firmly in the ground so they can peck off a small bite. If the plant is lying loose on the brooder floor, it’s a lot harder for them to bite off small bites.

    Something else you will probably notice. They may not eat a lot of that stuff when it first goes in the brooder. It takes one of them to be bold enough to try it to find out it‘s food. You’ll see a lot of posts on this forum where people’s chickens won’t eat certain treats. They have to figure out it is food before they get brave enough to eat it.

    Good luck with those chicks!!!!
    ArtGirlJenn likes this.
  7. Haley Clark

    Haley Clark Chirping

    Mar 2, 2013
    Western North Carolina
    I started giving mine little treats after about a week and they seem to LOVE small tomatoes cut in half, within 5 minutes the whole thing was gone, but remember if you give them a lot of runny food like tomato, etc. they can get runny poop which can be a pain on you, so give in moderation. Good luck and have fun with them![​IMG]
  8. heather21

    heather21 In the Brooder

    Apr 16, 2013
    I got my new babies on the 15th. How are yours doing?
  9. HooliganChicks

    HooliganChicks In the Brooder

    May 26, 2013
    Central Ontario
    Quote:Originally Posted by tinah [​IMG]

    I I started when they were about 4 or 5 days old. But then again I'm the type of person that stuck two sticks in there for the little guys to roost on, too.

    I knew I wasn't the only one!

    It was warm outside, so we took our two chicks out when they were 5 days old. They loved the grass, and the ants, and the dandelions, and the gravel, and the bugs. We stuck sticks in our brooder, too. They love hopping up on them.

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