how old do chicks have to be to digest scratch?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by chickengirl1193, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. chickengirl1193

    chickengirl1193 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So we are about to get hit with two huge snow storms so I'm trying to think of ways to keep my chickens warm and occupied while they are cooped up. One think I do with my adult chickens is to throw scratch under some hay to keep them occupied since they dont want to go out in the snow.
    My question is, when can I give whole grain scratch to my chicks? They are EEs that are 5 weeks old. I give them grit free choice and I know that scratch takes away from the protein and nutrition in their food but at the same time a small handful for 8 chicks to keep them from pecking each other wont hurt as long as they can digest it..
     
  2. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    All my chicks get their first whole grains by 3-5 days old, mostly barley, millet, and oats etc. to go with their grower, dry oatmeal, boiled eggs and dry dog food. When my chicks grow big enough to swallow the smallest corn grains in my scratch feed is when my chicks eat their first whole corn, that is if the chicks are fast enough to beat the older chicks to these small corn kernels.

    I have seen day old chicks struggle for an hour or more trying to swallow a whole kernel of corn, and once in a while the day old peep is able to gulp a whole corn kernel down. I was never able to see that it hurt one of my chicks, and I don't think that it will harm one of your birds either.
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  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    They're fine to have it at this age. Pretty much anything an adult bird can eat, your chicks will be able to at this point. Just have the grit, as you mentioned, to aid digestion.
     
  4. chickengirl1193

    chickengirl1193 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay thanks so much :) they will be happy
     

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