Sugar water and crushed oatmeal for hatchlings?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by KellyAndMark, Oct 13, 2014.

  1. KellyAndMark

    KellyAndMark In the Brooder

    I have been doing a lot of research on what to feed hatchlings. We have raised chicks from 2 days old and on but this will be our first experience with incubating and hatching a whole brood!
    We've only ever fed medicated starter and regular old water.
    I've heard crushed oatmeal and sugar water is good?
    Thoughts on which is better or can we feed either or .
  2. Both.

  3. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Songster

    Dec 10, 2013
    My first 2 batches of chicks were raised in a brooder and fed only starter and water until they were 6 weeks old. Then I introduced small treats and a bit of grit. I was scared to death I would feed them the wrong thing and kill them. My 3rd batch of chicks were hatched and raised by a momma hen. They ate everything from day one. Starter, any bugs they could catch, grass, any kind of treats I tossed out for the other chickens. It didn't hurt them at all. Momma hen led them to all kinds of tasty morsels. I take a pan of warm oatmeal to them on occasion and my chickens of all ages love it.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I've heard of giving sugar water to chicks that are shipped, but not sure why you'd need to give it to birds you hatched yourself. Your own hatch will have plenty of access to water and feed right away (although it's common not to eat or drink much the first few days, cause they absorbed that whole yolk) and shouldn't be stressed at all.

    I don't see a problem with oatmeal, but also don't really see the benefit of it. I also just feed plain ol feed and water in the brooder. My broody hen raised chicks get the same, plus whatever momma teaches them to eat.
  5. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    I agree with donrae. Just water ( and the feed ( after 48 hours). The reason you withhold feed in the beginning is the chicks need to uptake that whole yolk as feed. If they don't, it impairs their health. That said, I see you are in Canada and don't know your availability across the Line. Starting at hatch, I also put Poultry Nutri-Drops or Goat Nutri-Drench in my chicks water for the 1st month . It is made by a specialist company and doesn't need to be digested. Sugar is ok to meet a simple need, but it still needs to be digested. The Bovidr Labs products meet a whole range of nutritional needs and mainline directly into the bloodstream without digesting. 50% uptake in 30 minutes, 99% utilization by the creature. Full of all the good extra supplements chicks need, it gets them off to a strong start. It's an emergency nutritional supplement. I have used it with good success on my collies and poultry since 2002. When I use the Goat Formula, I use the instructions for the poultry Formula. Tho Bovidr Labs formulas are species specific, they also meet the scientific guidelines for a universal formula. So you can substitute one for another in a pinch. I used Beef Nutri-Drench on my collies with good success. Just use the usage and dosage instructions from the formula made for the species you are supplementing. Here is an article I wrote about the products when used for combating travel stress. The knowledge transfers to other stressful situations. ( yes, I know the utilization numbers are skewed in this article, use the ones I wrote above)
    Another thing you can do to help your birds grow is provide the correct grit at the right age. We don't think much about grit ( other than to scatter it around for the birds) but it is really quite a scientific supplement. Feeding he right grit at the right age helps the birds develop a healthier, stronger gizzard. We do not so much see the advantage in superior or ability as the birds grow. It is when they reach producing age that we see the benefit of a larger, healthier gizzard. When they are grown, this can result in up to 20% more eggs...or in broilers, laying on notable more weight before processing. Gran-I-Grit is cheap, about 5-6 dollars for 50 lbs. Here's an article I wrote on that :
    As for the oatmeal, I agree with donrae. Oats are a good supplement, however, if you want the chicks to fully benefit, then feed them diced sprouted oats which are 4-7 days old ( "green feed" as opposed to sprouts 1 thru 3 day old which are "grain feed") . Sprouted oats are historically the very best grain to sprout for poultry. I use Plotspike Forage Oats ( not feed oats), they are non-GMO, being created by specialized line breeding at Louisiana State University and released for sale in 2002. I get mine at Tractor Supply for 20.-24 dollars for 50 lbs. That makes a couple of years of sprouts! They also carry a 25 lb. bag.
    Feed to bowel tolerance, if the bowels get soft, back off for a day until they firm up again. To read the history plus hows and whys behind the sprouting plus age of sprout to feed, see pages 24 thru 29 of this BYC thread:
    Best Success,
    Waterford English Light Sussex
    in western PA, USA
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
  6. beachnutx6

    beachnutx6 Chirping

    Jan 29, 2014
    I was told if you give them crushed oatmeal it helps with pasty butt. I started them on the oatmeal by day 3 and no more pasty butt!!! I also added ACV to their water (we had one plain water and one with the ACV). Dry oatmeal is still their favorite treat!
  7. KellyAndMark

    KellyAndMark In the Brooder

    Thank you so much everyone !! We'll probably stick to regular h2o and give a little oatmeal after a few days !
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I've brooded lots and lots of chicks in a brooder over the years, and have never once cleaned poop off a chick's butt. I have no idea what I do differently, but I'm amazed other folks have such an issue with it. The only thing I can think of is lots of folks seem to overheat their brooders.
  9. AndreaMcChick

    AndreaMcChick In the Brooder

    Feb 8, 2018
    There is a lot of info out there that oats are actually toxic to chickens. It causes them to get a lot of mucus in their guts. I would personally avoid it for any age bird.

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