Natural option for chicks instead of feed?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by HeatherAllyce, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. HeatherAllyce

    HeatherAllyce New Egg

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    I don't actually have any chickens yet, but we are buying in the spring and I like to plan early. I plan on feeding my flock fodder, scraps, mealworms, free range and fermented whole grain feed(homemade) if necessary. Is there a natural option for chicks or do I have to go with starter feed?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    You can do as you please. Some people are successful at mixing things.
    However, chick starter is formulated to provide all the nutrients chicks are known to need in the correct ratio. It is hard to beat that simplicity.
    Essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals need to be complete but also the correct balance of energy and fats.
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    If I'm brooding chicks I feed a good quality chick feed. Too many deficiencies can be caused by an incorrect diet and you don't want your chicks to develop deformities or keep them from growing correctly.

    When my hens raise chicks, I offer them starter and they consume some but mother hen gets them outside and finds and feeds them a more natural diet and does a good job if good range is available.

    So if your looking to raise chicks more naturally than a hen is needed to do it right.
     
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  4. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I would recommend the starter feed, but you can always ferment it. I'm going to give it a shot with my new shipment of chicks and see if I think it makes a difference.

    Also after the first week, as long as they have access to chick-sized grit, you can add in some other options as treats as long as it comprises no more than 10% of their regular food intake. So, you could start some fodder and insect supplementation that way.
     
  5. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    IMO not giving starter feed is a risk not worth taking. Unless you have hundreds of chickens, making your own feed is likely to be more expensive than buying it -and you know that with a proprietary feed you are sure to give your chicks a nutritionally balanced diet.

    CT
     
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  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    A year or so ago, I put chicks in 3 different groups as they came out of the incubator. 2 had bulk dry feed and 1 had fermented feed. One of the first two groups was also getting probiotics in the water. The problem I had was that the container I used for fermented feed wasn't big enough and they were out nearly time every time I checked them. There's actually less total feed per same amount of space because the water content blows it up and for baby chicks it's hard to come up with an appropriate sized feeder that will fit in a brooder and yet allow the chicks to access it. So in the end the 2 groups with the bulk dry starter feed grew much faster.
     
  7. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think I have everything arranged so I won't face a lot of those challenges, but they are good to know about!
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I'm sure my results would have been different if I had been able to provide FF 24/7.
     

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