When can chicks forage?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by TheHalfWayCoop, May 9, 2011.

  1. TheHalfWayCoop

    TheHalfWayCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 6, 2011
    Campbellville Ontario
    Our chicks are about 3 weeks old now, and being that it's really sunny and warm today I took the brooder out to replace the litter and sanitize. The chicks came out too. They're foraging in the grass right now, is that okay or are they too young for that?

    Thanks!
     
  2. comptonsgonecountry

    comptonsgonecountry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 12, 2011
    I'm new to raising chickens so don't take my word on this, but our chicks have been out foraging since the age of 1 week. At first it was for an hour but now that they are 4 weeks it's for hours at a time. It's been sunny and warm where I live. They love to roost and run about in our hedges in front of the house. They have not been out in the open much and I figure that's a good thing. Of course I'm in ear shot and eye sight of them.

    One thing I have noticed is that they recently have taken a liking to ants and other bugs that roam the dirt. They are scratching and flying machines. And for that, I hate keeping them cooped up in a brooder 24/7. Here is a pic of our little guys and girls.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Yes, they can forage! Just ensure that they have some chick grit.
     
  4. lovethepeep

    lovethepeep Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 3, 2008
    I let mine out when the weather outside the brooder matches what it is in the brooder... they love to be out and let the air up under their wings and scratch around for bugs![​IMG]
     
  5. TheHalfWayCoop

    TheHalfWayCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 6, 2011
    Campbellville Ontario
    Oh great!! Glad to hear it, they were having such a good time out there scratching and pecking I felt bad bringing them back in [​IMG] So I have to start them on chick grit now? Doesit just go in a bowl or do I spread it around?

    Comptons - GREAT foraging picture, that is so cute!!!
     
  6. swampcat

    swampcat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2011
    Brooklyn, CT
    Quote:So eating dirt and such stuck to little bugs doesn't count as grit? I will give a cup full of dirt and grubs to my 2 week olds in their brooder but never grit [​IMG]
     
  7. andrew6d9

    andrew6d9 Chillin' With My Peeps

    they are fine [​IMG]
     
  8. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Quote:So eating dirt and such stuck to little bugs doesn't count as grit? I will give a cup full of dirt and grubs to my 2 week olds in their brooder but never grit [​IMG]

    If you free range and you have some gravel in your soil, they will be fine. If your soil is not that way, then it is best to give them grit if they are getting food other than commercial feed.

    With just commercial feed, you don't need grit.

    You can use sand for tiny chicks, but when they are older, the size should be increased to gravel to be effective. You can offer all the different sizes you want, and they choose what they need. I have read a lot of people just give sand, and then let them out to free range when older.

    At my feed store, there is size #1, 2, and 3.
    #1= chick grit
    #2 = up to 7 weeks and I keep it around for my bantams
    #3 = adults

    But I don't free range and our soil isn't full of nice gravel bits in their run.

    I keep a bowl or two in the chicken yard of grit. Sometimes I mix it in the feed or throw it on the ground.
    My FIL says I'm wasting money on grit when they are on the dirt. Maybe he's right? [​IMG]
     
  9. swampcat

    swampcat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2011
    Brooklyn, CT
    Okay, thanks for the info. They like to venture into the sandbox, so I know they have access to sand-like grit. Living in New England, there are tons of rocks of different sizes in the dirt, so I'm not going to worry.
    Thanks for clearing that up for me!
     
  10. NottinghamChicks

    NottinghamChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Mine have been out since one week old, but they are with mom. I would not leave them alone if they have no mom to show them the ropes. They can safely forage as long as you are free of fertilizer and pesticides, and watching them so they are not a meal for something bigger than themselves.
     

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