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Three week old chicks extra, extra hungry

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by KristinKH, Mar 13, 2015.

  1. KristinKH

    KristinKH Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 4, 2015
    First, some background - when I got the chicks I also got some feed that included soy because that's all the store had that was organically grown. I'm committed to OG. Shortly after that I found some feed that is OG and has no soy, which I very strongly prefer. The brand is Union Point. The woman I bought the UP feed from said I should switch them over gradually so their digestive systems have a chance to adjust. No problem. I've been adding an additional 20% of the UP feed to the old feed every 4-5 days. I also give some freeze dried black soldier fly larvae as treats twice a day (yes, they have grit available), which they really like.

    Here's the problem - As of two days ago there's more Union Point food in the mix than the old brand and they seem to be acting a LOT hungrier when I check on them. Last night and this morning when I offered the larvae they gobbled them up like they were starving. They're pecking at the sides of the cage, which are cardboard, and at the raggedy edges at the tops of the pieces of cardboard (they're in a wire crate with cut pieces of cardboard on the sides). I'm concerned that they don't like the Union Point food and so are not eating enough of it but I really don't know. They're 3 weeks and 2 days old now, getting their feathers in, and otherwise looking good. They're active, talkative, inquisitive, playful, etc. I just checked in on them a few minutes ago and they clustered eagerly around the door to the cage, much more so than usual, like they couldn't wait to get treats (hungry looks). Only one shows much of a bulge in her crop. In the others I don't see any appreciable bulge in the crop. They've also gobbled up a LOT more grit today than usual, like they think it's food (or they're knocking it out of the dish).

    I filled it last night then changed it out completely this morning. I changed it out thinking maybe there was something in the bowl that was bothering them, something I couldn't see or smell. I can see from the volume in their feeder that they've eaten some, but I don't think it's as much as usual. I'm not very good at remembering things like "how much food is usually in the feeder in the mornings." The feeder is clean, the food is fresh, they have easy access to it. The only other thing that's changed, which I just this minute thought of, is that I switched their bedding from shredded paper to aspen shavings.

    Any ideas? Is it normal at this age for them to be like this? If they were emptying their food bowl, or even close, I wouldn't be concerned, but they don't seem to be eating as much as they used to.

    Thanks for your help.

  2. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 25, 2012
    I've commented many times on the protein requirement for chicks and chickens. Without seeing the tag that is sewn onto every bag of animal feed my guess is that your baby chicks are currently starving for the lack of a complete ration. This is especially true for the all important animal proteins that chickens need.
  3. KristinKH

    KristinKH Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 4, 2015
    The tag says 22% protein. Here's the URL for the company that makes it. Unfortunately, they don't list the ingredients or ratios online - http://unionpoint.com/products/
  4. KristinKH

    KristinKH Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 4, 2015
    I did some more research on Union Point feed and found quite a few businesses who use it for their flocks. These are people who are raising chickens for profit and are set on raising a quality product. They sell to some of the finer restaurants in the area. That kind of recommendation gives me confidence that it's good feed.
  5. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 11, 2011
    22% protein should be plenty, I feed mine a 20% ration.
    What may be happening is their favoring their treats over their feed. Mine do it all the time, chickens aren't dumb. They cluster at the run door when they see me coming with the scrap bucket and then scarf down what I throw out like they haven't eaten for days (even though their feeder is always full). Also, since the protein is high, they may just not be needing to eat as much of the new feed. What was the protein content of your old feed?

    If they're happy, healthy and active, I wouldn't worry about them to much. Maybe cut out the larvae treats for a bit and see if they take in more feed, but I don't really think that's necessary either.
    They may just be at the age where they're happy to see you, because they know you'll have something yummy for them ;)

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