Kefir for chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Woolly, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. Woolly

    Woolly New Egg

    Mar 20, 2012
    Greetings everyone.
    New here to BYC.
    I have seen several questions on using kefir water for your chicks and wondering how to go about it.
    This is what I do and am in hopes it will help others.
    Right after your chicks hatch put them in a brooder with 20 to 22% protein feed and tepid water
    (not ice cold) It is a shock to their little body to drink ice/cold water.
    After 24 hours mix 1 T Zoi greek yogurt (plain) with 1 T of finished water kefir ( when it has used
    most of the sugar and is just slightly sweet)
    Mix well and put in a clean plastic lid ,
    When putting the yogurt/kefir mix in the brooder take your finger and peck at it like you are
    their mommy and show them what it is. It they will not peck at it just keep pecking and
    then reach up and put some (what is on your finger) on one of their beak. The other will want
    to know what it is that they have and will start pecking at it.
    This is to get their gut going in a proper way and get the ben-bacteria going to prevent loose
    Peck at the yogurt several time the first day and you will notice they will take to it. Make sure
    you wash your hands before you do this. Being clean goes a long way.
    After 1 week of this you can start adding 2 T to each cup of water until they are out of the brooder.
    Hope this will help.
    You will notice that you chicks will not die and will be VERY healthy.
    It also helps them utilize their feed better.
  2. Woolly

    Woolly New Egg

    Mar 20, 2012
    ps ....The warm water needs to get changed several time when you are using warm water so
    bacteria does not have a chance to grow.
    Also you only need the warm water for the first three days and after that it is okay to give them cold tap water (if not chlorinated)
  3. Leahs Mom

    Leahs Mom True BYC Addict

    Feb 9, 2012
    Northern Indiana
    Question for you - I've read and been told many times not to feed dairy to young chicks due to possibility of overload on calcium. I'd like to do the yogurt/kefir and whey early but have been advised against it for this reason.

    What are your thoughts on that?
  4. Woolly

    Woolly New Egg

    Mar 20, 2012
    Hi there,
    I understand the concern about the calcium but in all
    my years of raising chicks and chickens I have not
    had any problems. The yogurt is primarily to boost
    the gut bacteria but it can be left out.
    With anything you need to observe them and if and
    adverse conditions arise it can be dealt with.
    This is what I do and you can see if it fits into what you
    want to do.
    I give the yogurt and water kefir for the first week to get
    their gut going good
    Then I add the kefir to the water as mentioned earlier.
    Then when they are put outside I give the greens like
    kale (rich in calcium ) once or twice w week.
    Along with the kale I give them all kinds of greens and
    weeds to eat.
    Two weeks before they are getting ready to start laying
    I boost their calcium with the yogurt again. 2-3 times
    per week mixed in with their greens (they also get grain).
    As they are laying I give them the shells from used
    eggs that have been baked in the oven for 10 minutes
    @ 350 degrees. I keep the crumbled eggs in a zip lock
    bag out of moisture and sun and sprinkle it on the grain
    each day.
    For us we have learned that with anything that we choose
    to do it is a mater of sanitation, observation and consistency.
    I hope that this helps. if you have any more question please
    feel free to ask.
    Sorry for delay in getting back to you. We are setting up
    a 30 by 72 foot high tunnel. What a job......
    Have a great day.
  5. siroiszoo

    siroiszoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2009
    Waller, TX
    Questions: I've been reading extensively on several threads that use fermented feed to achieve good health and nutritional absorption. It's made using regular hen scratch and/or layer pellets/ or any assortment of mixed grains.... with raw apple cider vinegar with the mother mixed in water with the grains to start the fermentation.

    Being TOTALLY new to kefir, I am about to get my first batches of milk kefir (I've also started water kefir) up and going. So far, at this rate, I will have plenty of extra kefir. So I'd rather be using the excess kefir with the feed if the chicks could handle it.

    * can you use milk kefir instead of water kefir? Seems like using milk kefir would make the yogurt unnecessary.

    * has anyone tried following your directions except that they try mixing the kefir directly into the grain instead of keeping it in the water bottle?

    I already start them out on fermented feed, but I have to make that and it takes time & extra effort. But if I'm already making kefir for me and have excess.... Just curious if anyone has tried it.
  6. ames25

    ames25 New Egg

    May 17, 2012
    We received an order of chicks from another company in the mail on the 16th. In the first three days, we lost three chicks, all the same breed. We had a few pasty butts but everyone has been fine for at least a week. We put them on chick starter, electrolytes and Murray's Best Immno Charge when we received them. In the last week or so I've given them milk kefir, two to three times. Tonight, my dd brought one of the chicks in asking me to listen to it. It sounds like it has Rice Krispies in it's tummy. The chicks seem fine. They are eating, drinking and running around. They just have snapping, crackling and popping coming from their tummy's. Any idea what's up?

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