When can you feed chicks treats?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by melissaglisson, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. melissaglisson

    melissaglisson Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 6, 2014
    I am wondering if someone can tell me when I can start giving our new chicks more than just chick feed. They are about 2 weeks old now. How old do they have to be before they can have fruits, veggies, etc? When do I need to start giving grit and oyster shells? Thanks!
     
  2. chickencoop789

    chickencoop789 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can probably give them things like scrambled eggs and yogurt now. Those foods don't need grit. Things like fruits and veggies need grit, though. I would wait a few more weeks before you give them any treats that need grit. Their digestive system is still new and might not be able to handle grit at this age. But honestly, my chicks didn't show any interest in treats until they were around six weeks old.
    DO NOT give them oyster shell until they start laying. If you give them oyster shell now, the increased level of calcium in their diet will cause bone growth defects and could possibly kill them.
     
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  3. LTygress

    LTygress Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've given my chicks treats from the first day they show interest. But the treats I give are usually mealworms. Once they see the mealworm move, it's all over! And I've never had a problem with doing it, either.

    Although I've tried vegetables, mine just don't seem to have any interest in them as babies. So you could probably try, but if they aren't interested, don't be surprised. As a matter of fact, even my older chickens weren't really interested in many vegetables until they were closer to a year old.

    But mealworms, earthworms, crickets... that's a whole different story!
     
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  4. chickencoop789

    chickencoop789 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Very true! [​IMG]
     
  5. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    From the day mine hatch and jump out of the nest they eat whatever I throw in the pen, along with their never empty feeder of chick starter.
    As long as they're eating store bought feed they don't need any added grit because it's small & soft enough to digest easily. They only need extra grit when fed coarse grains and don't have access to dirt, sand, small rocks etc that are usually found in the pen or run.
    You don't need oyster shell if you feed store bought feed because it has the needed amount of cal in it.
     
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  6. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Obviously there are many ways that people feed their chicks, as attested to by the various answers you've already received.

    I like to make sure the gizzard is developed early, so within the first couple of days, my chicks start getting "chick" size granite grit. The way I understand it, a gizzard that is developed earlier will do better at food utilization their entire lives than a gizzard that isn't developed until later, but I don't remember the exact time frames on the study I read years ago. How much do I provide? I sprinkle the "chick" size granite grit on top of their feed just as if I were lightly peppering my dinner plate. I often run my finger through the feed which hides the grit because I have seen some chicks get greedy and eat it all like it's a special treat, which it's not! I don't provide very much at all and not "free choice" until about 4 months, when they are switched over to regular-sized granite grit, when I believe they're capable of handling it free choice.

    Also, the feed we feed our chicks does have a few bigger pieces in it, so I feel like it's safer to have a smidge of grit in their gizzard just in case ... not to mention when I see them eating a bite or two of paper towel or shavings.

    I have given them meal worms within just days of hatching and watched the veritable feeding frenzy.

    When the chicks have been raised with their mothers, she has a spot of grass all scratched up with dirt showing and she is teaching those chicks to eat the dirt (grit) from about day 5. I assume it's the same when they are out on the range, where she teaches them to eat all manner of items from the git go, but she does spend time at the feeder before heading out to teaching them to scratch and chase in the meadow.

    I don't worry about giving chicks I'm raising any fruits and veggies until they've reached about 5 months as I don't want anything to displace their specially formulated feed which is preparing them to be good layers. They might get occasional scattering of grain (wheat, barley, oats) at around 2-3 months, just to get them used to the idea that I throw grain to them. But it's not much and it's more to train them for later than anything. Sometimes I might also soak/ferment some seeds for them, but not enough that it will replace very much of their specially formulated feed.

    Oyster shell free choice at around 6 months or first egg from that group. Also, I don't switch to layer feed until about the time the first one from that group lays an egg.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2014
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  7. AshleyRae

    AshleyRae Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 8, 2014
    I just got my first chicks a few days ago. I want them to be ok with being handled. Is there something I can give them while holding them? I could probably do worms but I'm not crazy about the idea of them eggs. I get the feeling its ok but I'm just not there yet.
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    What eggs?
     
  9. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I bet she's talking about feeding eggs to her chickens. ;)
     
  10. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Well if that's the case then what's up? The chick was eating egg for 21 days before it hatched. It's nearly a perfect food for almost all living omnivores and carnivores.
     

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