What to feed new chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by RazorZroman, Oct 4, 2016.

  1. RazorZroman

    RazorZroman Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 4, 2016
    My Coop
    I have 4 silkies and I am expecting chicks in 8 days. What should I feed them if I want to do it as natural as possible? I know that I should use chick crumbs but is there any way to do this even more natural? Any help is appreciated, Thanks!
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    I guess if you can get organic starter / chick feed thats probably as good as you can do. Proprietary feed contains all the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and well-being so I personally, would not seek an alternative.
    2 people like this.
  3. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    If you want to maximize the nutrients your chicks will get from the chick starter crumbles, you might consider fermenting the feed. This process converts the feed into a more nutrient efficient substance, also teaming with natural probiotics.

    Natural yeasts colonize the crumbles and the result is a superior food. I've been fermenting the feed I feed my flock for several years and the results are stunning. I have six and seven-year old hens who are still laying. I rarely have sick chickens. The bottom line is the chickens love the taste and there is virtually zero waste.

    Check over on the "Feeding and Watering" forum for Bee's thread on the subject. Fermenting is very simple and easy.
  4. FarmerTony

    FarmerTony Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 7, 2016
    Organic starter grower or if you house them outside, a big pile of sugar will draw ants for them to eat.

    The most natural way is for them to scavenge from momma.

    I just feed them Dumor 24% starter ration and let them forage freely. At 2-3 days they are ready to forage for themselves.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2016
  5. RazorZroman

    RazorZroman Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 4, 2016
    My Coop
    So I should let mama do everything after a few days, they are free ranging in an old garden full of weeds and plants.
  6. RazorZroman

    RazorZroman Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 4, 2016
    My Coop
    Thanks, I will try that.
  7. HeyHouse

    HeyHouse Just Hatched

    Oct 3, 2016
    Good advice above, but I also try to supplement with raw egg yolk to give them the best start. That's what they eat in the egg after all!

    You can mix it in with their crumbles. I use a ratio of about 10x crumbles per 1x yolk by volume.
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    So you are hatching them with a broody. That information helps. Are you going to let the broody hen raise them with the flock? I’ll assume you will.

    I don’t know the quality of forage in your garden but it sounds like it could be pretty good. If the quality of forage is good Momma could raise them on that alone. That’s how broody hens have been raising chicks since there were broody hens. I’d still supplement their feed though.

    I don’t know what you are feeding your hens, but the growing chicks should not eat Layer feed. The excess calcium can possibly damage them. If you are feeding the other hens Layer the chicks will get to it. I suggest you feed them all the same feed and offer oyster shell on the side for the hens that need the excess calcium for the egg shells. The ones that need it should eat enough for the egg shells, the ones that don’t need it shouldn’t eat enough to harm themselves. If they are foraging for the majority of their feed this isn’t that big of an issue but I still consider it good practice to not feed them something that could harm them.

    I don’t care if you treat the feed, add supplements, go organic or regular, all that is up to you. I’d have a feeder with the feed where they can get to it, then leave everything else up to Momma. My broody hens normally take their chicks to a feeder first thing when I let them out in the morning, then spend the rest of the day foraging for food for them out in the grass and weeds. They get grit from the ground and by foraging where the other chickens have pooped they get any probiotics the adults have and start working on flock immunities and strengthening their immune systems. To me that is the best way to raise healthy chicks (strong immune systems) and it is about as natural as you can get.

    To provide water where the chicks can get to it, I use white pet bowls in the shade in summer and black rubber bowls in the sun in winter. Until the chicks get big enough to be safe I fill them with clean rocks so the chicks can walk on the water instead of getting in and drowning. Clean water is essential for healthy chicks. Totally dump it out at least every two days, don’t just keep refilling it. That breaks up the life cycle of the pathogens that cause coccidiosis and keeps mosquito larva from developing into adult mosquitoes.

    Good luck on the hatch.
  9. RazorZroman

    RazorZroman Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 4, 2016
    My Coop
    Thanks for writing that massive essay! I will do the yolk thing but make sure only the chicks get it, I don't want my chickens getting a taste for yolk and start eating the eggs! Anyway, thank you all for the advice and I will make sure to use it!

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