My chicks aren't interested in treats...?

MaeM

Songster
Dec 9, 2020
101
198
106
Hi. I have two baby chicks that were born on November, 25th (according to the man who incubated them). Given that we're having a nice weather here (+68ºF), I started taking them to the yard. They love being in the sun and they've learned to dig in the soil with their little legs.

I've been feeding them with starter feed (still am). I've read that in this case it's not necessary to provide them with grit, so I let them explore the yard and maybe catch a few little bugs. The thing is, I can't get them to eat anything else. I can't get them to be fed by hand (which I believe it's a great way to bond. I'd love to bond with them :fl), and so far, they've ignored hard boiled eggs and lettuce. I only got them to eat oatmeal by mixing it with the starter feed. I don't know how to teach them to eat other stuff (and make them trust me, perhaps?).

Any advice?
 

MaeM

Songster
Dec 9, 2020
101
198
106
They are still too young for treats, they should be at least 8-10 weeks before you start giving them goodies.
Oatmeal isn't so good for chickens either, so I'd not give them any more.

Oops. I don't know where I read I could start with treats by the 2nd week. Thanks for the correction.

Is oatmeal not good at this age or at any age? Why is it recommended in so many websites???
 

nuthatched

Fishin' for Chickens
Nov 9, 2019
4,385
9,362
486
Rim Country, Az
Oops. I don't know where I read I could start with treats by the 2nd week. Thanks for the correction.

Is oatmeal not good at this age or at any age? Why is it recommended in so many websites???

I don't know about starting them on treats by the second week, I've never heard that before. Their digestive systems are still delicate at 2 weeks and they haven't learned to take small pieces yet so they could choke.

Oatmeal is very starchy and it doesn't have a lot of nutrients. It's so starchy that it can ferment in the crop if the chicken gets it stuck in their crop.
I don't know why people say you can feed it to them, probably something like the chickens really like it and it seems harmless enough. My dog really like chocolate chip cookies but I'm not going to let him have them. (Except a small, non chipped bite)
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,060
22,764
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Southeast Louisiana
Do you know how long a broody hen holds back from giving her babies treats? No time at all. She gets them to eat what we call treats about as soon as she can find some for them.

One of the first thing she does is take them to dirt. They peck at that dirt and get small bits of rock that they use as grit in their gizzards. After that they are ready for anything. @MaeM when yours scratch at the dirt do they ever peck? If they peck, they already have grit in their gizzard.

Don't worry about them not eating treats they are supposed to love. That's perfectly normal. Each chicken is an individual, each flock has its own dynamics. Some flocks totally ignore things that others love. It happens with mine all the time.

I'll tell you a story. When harvesting corn from my garden for canning I gathered a yogurt cup full of corn ear worms. I dumped that cup of caterpillars near a group of about twenty 10-week-old free ranging chicks. I expected them to devour them, after all they had been free ranging and finding all kinds of insects and other things to eat since they were 5 weeks old. But no. They carefully eyed that pile. Slowly so slowly, step by cautious step, the braver of them started sneaking toward that pile. A worm moved!! Run away!! Run away!!

They did not run far. Slowly so slowly, step by cautious step, the braver of them started sneaking toward that pile. A worm moved!! Run away!! Run away!! This happened three or four times before a bold young cockerel got close enough and built up the courage to grab one. That's all it took, that entire pile was gone in about 20 seconds. Some tried to play keep-away but most just kept eating until they were gone.

Keep offering your treats. Don't go overboard, go in moderation. You want treats to be a fairly small part of their overall diet for nutritional reasons. Eventually one will try it and then they will all think it is great. Just be patient. Keep giving them access to the ground so they get grit.

As for bonding, take a chair to where they are and sit there and read. Ignore them, let them get used to you being non-threatening. If you pick them up, do not wave your hands above them. They have an instinctive fear of hawks flying above. Pick them up from ground level. There is nothing wrong with picking them up to cuddle, just don't scare them. If you have to feed them something use the Starter, they'll eat that. Above all, be patient.
 

Sally PB

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
8,308
36,309
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Belding, MI
My chicks' first treat was some of their food mixed with enough water to make a thick mush. They ate that out of my hand every time.
 

Harry Frogfish

Chirping
Nov 6, 2020
38
109
86
Alger, WA
My chick's favorite treat is hulled hemp seed I get from the grocery. It is high in protein, omega 3 and other goodies. Mealworms are another fave. Maybe I've spoiled them, but mine turn their noses up at lettuce, cabbage and other greens. Then again, they free range so they probably get lots of greens as it is.
 

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