Please help!!!


7 Years
Nov 8, 2012
Hi! We are bringing home tomorrow 3 Golden Buff baby chicks and as first time owners we have a couple of concerns... We have a great temporary brooder, we are building them an amazing chicken coop and we've gotten all the supplies we read we needed for them like the pine shavings, the lamp, feeder, feed, water, etc... We plan on letting them free-range with supervision during the day & on giving them plenty of healthy treats but we are not sure about how much we should feed them and how often or what kind of treats would be appropriate for chicks so young. Also, when should we start letting them free range? We would appreciate any advice on the matter or any links were we can get more information. Thank u! :)
I let mine start to free range after they were 6 weeks old. This was my first flock so for the first few days they were out I was like an over protective mother. We started out feeding them the medicated chick feed from our local Agway, than after 18 weeks (I think) we changed their food to a layer feed. When ever we have left over scraps of beans, noodles or veggie we give it to them. We give them all fruits except for citrus fruits cause they dont enjoy them that much.
I would keep them in the brooder until they are fully feathered. You can maybe take them outside very supervised from time to time before then but only for a little bit because they will get very cold. Once they are fully feathered (generally 10 weeks ish) lock them in the coop for 3 days to a week so that they get "homed" and will come back at night. Then you can start letting them free range. Be aware of the predators in your area.

Most people free feed their chickens - leaving feed available all of the time. Unless you have a meat specific breed, they will not over eat and prefer to graze throughout the day.

Start them on a chick starter (generally people do a medicated but some prefer not) At about 8 weeks or so you can switch them over to a grower feed. I would not start them on a layer feed until all of your birds are laying (layer feed has calcium mixed into the feed and when birds have no way to expel this calcium through egg laying it builds up in their system and can cause kidney failure and other problems).

Once they get to about 20 weeks add a separate container of oyster shells or some other calcium source. If the calcium is separate your birds will only eat it if they need it. This way as your birds start to lay they can eat calcium as need. Once all of them are laying you can switch to a layer if you want.

Chicks can have all sorts of snacks. I usually give my very young chicks shredded carrots, scrambled eggs and mealworms.

Welcome to chickens!!
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This is a link to a nice list of treats.

I was over protective and ran food introduction the same way I did with my child. Shaking my head in dismay here. I waited until they were in their first molt before I gave them food. I started with crushed up grit available to them and cooked rice and then moved on to one new food every couple of days. Now they are all grown up and eating everything I offer. It is great fun to watch them try to figure out something new. I didn't know about yogurt until recently and seeing them circle the bowl was fascinating.
Thanks everyone! All the advice is deeply appreciated :) We'll be picking up the girls tomorrow and soon we'll sharing some pics of them and the coop in progress!

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