Whole food for chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by brandislee, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

    510
    13
    133
    Feb 15, 2011
    Southern Minnesota
    My apologies if this has been addressed in the past- I did a search and didn't find the answers I was looking for, though I was surprised not to so I may have missed it.

    I plan to eventually feed my chickens a whole seed/grain diet. I read the homemade whole grain feed thread and, despite the conclusion reached by the final post (takes too much energy so no one keeps it up!) I'm convinced that I can do it in a way that is relatively simple and cost effective (ish). Anyway... my question is, if you know from the start that you want to feed whole grains, what do you start brand spankin' new chicks on? Sprouted seeds? Cracked versions of the seeds you plan to feed whole later? Or should I start with a commercial chick starter and then gradually transition them to the whole grains? Anyone who has been there have any insight?

    Thanks! Anxiously awaiting responses!
    [​IMG]
     
  2. magicpigeon

    magicpigeon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2010
    I used to do this, before just switching to grass feeding and some layer in the morning. I started them on millet then just switched to scratch. Sorry if this isn't the thing you're looking for, I haven't grain fed for a long time, and my strategy is probably what most people would tell you NOT to do...[​IMG]
     
  3. wingsofglory

    wingsofglory Chillin' With My Peeps

    316
    3
    100
    Feb 15, 2011
    Palmer Alaska
    I've been thinking about this too.

    Was thinking about getting a grinder and grinding a mix of sunflower seeds and grains/lentils/peas. Shelled sunflowers I think.

    I do know you can get a vitamin/mineral mix to add to your own ground grains. Saw it in the back of one of the poultry catalogs McMurrays or Strombergs.

    Several times when I've had chicks and run out of chick feed and ran up to the feed store (only one) they were also out till shipment came in.
    What to tell the chicks - they can't eat for three or four days? I subbed with things out of the kitchen.

    Also, protein is easy to add to chick's diet. They LOVE cooked hamburger. They will become your friend even if they avoided you before. All of the sudden their eyes will track you when you walk by the brooder box waiting to see if you have more this time! Cooked leftover fish would also work. The feed store here mixes thier own mix and it is based on fish meal.

    Also fish meal is in their layer feed - and, no, the eggs do not taste fishy. It is Alaskan fish leftovers from the processors here - I'm in Palmer Alaska.

    Good way to avoid GMO proteins.
     
  4. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

    5,314
    230
    311
    Jun 11, 2010
    York PA
    The only thing I would suggest is if you are going to do this make sure you offer chick grit since the seeds would be harder to digest. You can actually use builder's sand as chick grit.
     
  5. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

    510
    13
    133
    Feb 15, 2011
    Southern Minnesota
    Thanks for the responses! I'm still not clear on what to feed new babies, though- I mean, it makes sense that they can eat seeds, because I imagine that's what the mother would feed them... but I also know that other mother birds partially chew/digest the food for their babes- do chickens do that? I think if I understood better how chicks eat and digest I could figure this out. I was kinda hoping that someone else out there has done this with their chicks and could guide me.

    And thanks for the millet suggestion- I have millet already, so that means I am set for at least the first few days.

    Ugh, it's like being pregnant for the first time all over again! You'd think with already having kids I'd be a little more laid back with this chicken thing!
     
  6. wingsofglory

    wingsofglory Chillin' With My Peeps

    316
    3
    100
    Feb 15, 2011
    Palmer Alaska
    Look for the post by someone who raises a certain kind of cockroach to feed his chickens. This would be perfect. This certain kind of tropical roaches can't live anyplace cooler than 80 degrees so they don't live in the house if they get loose. He has them in a box with a heating pad or something under it. They cannot crawl up the sides so they stay in the box.

    A mother hen takes her chicks out and scratches the dirt. I can't even see what they are eating, everything is so small. But probably little insects.

    The post is something like "better, baddest, best" .

    When I ran out, I think I offered them sesame seeds, crumbled wholegrain bread and leftovers. You can also scramble eggs and give them that.

    Be sure to give them chick grit. Sprinkle it on their food.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by