When and what can I feed my chicks...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MontanaDolphin, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. MontanaDolphin

    MontanaDolphin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I did the "buy a bag of chick start & grow and get 6 free chicks" from southern states today, and I was wondering if and when I can feed them something other than the start & grow, like bugs (I just found 4 mealworms under a piece of wood around my garden pond). I didn't think too much about this, figuring I'd just feed them the start n grow until it was time to graduate to the regular feed...but I've seen in some posts on this forum that some people feed their adult chickens almost anything, like table scraps. So, I was wondering if and when it would be safe to give my new babies some variety? They are day old barred rocks. TYIA!
     
  2. DraigAthar

    DraigAthar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We give day old chicks starter feed and then start giving them other things as supplements as soon as they are interested, usually by day three. We feed them chopped up hard boiled egg, they love it. I give them mealworms or other bugs as soon as they seem big enough for it. I made the mistake of giving a week old chick a japanese beetle once and she got it stuck in her throat! I had to come to her rescue with a pair of tweezers. So I try to make sure whatever the treat is, it's small enough to be swallowed whole by the little peepers. :)

    Recently we had some leftover cornbread, the chicks FREAKED over it, apparently we had been depriving them of all joy in their lives until the moment we gave them a bit of cornbread. Heh.
     
  3. MontanaDolphin

    MontanaDolphin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What about lady bugs? Apparently the ladybugs had decided to hibernate in our attic...and when we moved in (January 19th) and turned on the heat, they started swarming in our den. I felt like I should be on that show "Infested!" there were so many! Will lady bugs be too big for them? What if one or two drop in the brooder with me being unaware of it? Will it hurt them? Thanks![​IMG]
     
  4. MontanaDolphin

    MontanaDolphin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also...what about grit? Do I have to buy something from the store? Or can I get a scoop of sand from outside (there used to be a pool here, hasn't been one since the previous owners moved out two years ago, so the sand has been exposed to the elements since then)? Is there anything else I can use from outside instead of going back into town to southern states or walmart? Thank you!
     
  5. DraigAthar

    DraigAthar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ladybugs don't taste very good to chickens, mine refuse to eat them. I know they make a substance that makes them smell bad to bug-eaters, I don't think it's poisonous but maybe with chicks I wouldn't risk it. They probably won't like the taste of them anyway. Grit, yes chicks need grit. I buy chick sized grit for them when I get their feed. You'll get mixed replies to sand from outside. Some people will say it's what momma hen would show them to eat, so what's wrong with it? Others will say it could have microbes in it that could infect your chicks, like coccidia. Your choice, really! As long as it doesn't have any chemicals in it. We avoid the sand that washes down our driveway because it's usually from winter roadway application and is mixed with salt, I never know if it's really safe for the birds.
     
  6. MontanaDolphin

    MontanaDolphin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The chick start I bought is medicated to prevent the coccidiosis, so I think I'm covered there. What if I were to wash the sand? Or boil it in water to kill any bad bacteria?
     
  7. DraigAthar

    DraigAthar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I dunno, I've never tried, so I can't really say! I know when I use regular garden sand to add to seed starting mixes, I bake the sand in a 250F oven for an hour to kill most things that would infect seedlings. But I dunno what's best to do for chicks. Sorry I'm not more help!
     
  8. MontanaDolphin

    MontanaDolphin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, since no one else piped in, I went ahead and got some of the sand out of the yard. I rinsed it really well, then spread it out on a cookie sheet and baked it in the oven at 250F for an hour and a half (added a half hour for drying). Hopefully it will be ok! Now, the question is, do the babies need grit with their chick starter food, or only when I introduce bugs and such?
     
  9. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    They only need grit once they start eating anything other then starter.

    As far as medicated chick starter and coccidiosis, it's helpful but it will not prevent coccidiosis. It contains such low levels of Amprolium and many people, myself included, have had chicks come down with coccidiosis while on medicated feed. I suppose it may help but it is no guaranty so the value of it is debatable. You just have to watch them for symptoms and treat right away if you suspect it. Medicated feed also serves no purpose if they are not exposed to earth while they are on it so they can build their immunity to the cocci organism.
     
  10. MontanaDolphin

    MontanaDolphin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, quick question about the grit. When I start feeding them something other than the starter, do I leave the grit in the brooder? Do I offer their "treats" on a bed of the grit? Do I only put some of the grit in there until they are done their treats? Thanks!
     

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