Have you just decided to bring to your backyard a group of baby chickens for the first time? Those lovely animals will offer you company, everyday activity and lots of eggs!
To raise them successfully, we must answer a very important question: What do baby chicks eat? It’s crucial to be informed about the nutrients required, the types of food which are allowed to consume, and the way for them to grow happily in a safe environment.
Necessary nutrients for chicken
When you start thinking about what your little chicks can eat, you need to consider that they need different types of food according to their age. In general, though, there are some nutrients that are essential for a healthy chicken.
- Protein is the first of all for every growing organism, even for humans, for the development of the musculature.
- Vitamins are also necessary for healthy growth. To raise a chicken you will need to provide them with vitamins A, B, and D which are usually included in packages of feed. Of course, you can give them other food that contains vitamins, like grain for Vitamin B.
- Grit is important for the digestive tract in their bellies when it is mixed with grains and other fibrous food. Just have in mind that it must be small for the babies and only give it when you don’t use chick starter.
- The number one danger for the little chicken is coccidiosis which can be prevented in two ways. Either you vaccinate them and then you have nothing to worry about, or you provide for them medicated food with Amprolium which protects them from the disease.
- Last but not least is water and it must be always available and clean for the chicks to keep them hydrated.
What do baby chicks eat
There are three main courses of action when it comes to baby chicken feeding. If you already own a broody hen then you can let the small ones grow with her help.
On the other hand, if you don’t own a whole family, you can either choose a commercial starter feed or make your own from the materials of your kitchen.
The first solution comes with the mother of your chicks who will escort and help them every step of the way. She will feed them with lots of things she will find on the ground, like worms and bugs.
Moreover, the most fascinating aspect of this case is that they will follow the steps of nature, by learning from the hen how to gather food on their own. You will see them start picking around eating greens, ticks, and mosquitos just like their mum does.
The question is what to do when you don’t already have a broody hen in the pen. You can consider buying a chick starter medicated or not (for the protection of coccidiosis as mentioned above). These starter feeds come in crumbles containing 20% protein which is necessary for the chicks.
Also, they usually include other nutrients like acids, yeast, vitamins, and minerals to assist them in growing with healthy organs.
If you are creative and you prefer to feed your chicks with homemade food, there are several parameters to look out for.
Firstly, the baby chicks must consume the crucial nutrients we mentioned above, and secondly, you must be careful to not give them something which might be bad for their health.
To make it easier for you, here are some choices you have that the baby chicks will eat blissfully:
A nice recipe is combining dry bread crumbs, salad, and eggs. Mix them all together and the little ones will not stop picking. Also, another option is cooked rice, crushed wheat, boiled potato, and stale bread for a lovely chicken mash.
Of course, you can always follow a simple road by mixing ingredients. For example, put together with oatmeal boiled eggs or cornmeal. Furthermore, little chicks can be fed with oats, lettuce, worms (if you are willing to gather some), and bread crumbs. Just use your imagination and prepare the perfect meal for your baby ones.
A third option when it comes to the DIY process is to create organic food recipes for many or fewer chickens. All you need are the following ingredients: Organic oats, wheat, green peas, sunflower seeds, fish meal, kelp and blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, egg, and greens.
I believe that you got the idea so far about what baby chickens eat and how to provide them with this certain food. An extra point is that either you feed them with commercial packages or homemade food, it is crucial to give them the supplements required.
There are several ready-made supplements that can help in your chickens’ growth, such as a gel to help them find the feed, vitamins to add to their water, and others to protect them from diseases.
How To Feed Your Baby Chicks
Raising and feeding little chicken can be tricky, so here are the steps to follow for proper breeding:
- Build a brooder area for them and put a special red lamp. Consider that the area will be used for the first 6-8 weeks and must be roomy. The lamp will keep your chicks in the right temperature of 95 Fahrenheit degrees for the first week. You will start reducing every week by 5 Fahrenheit degrees afterward.
- Buy a Chick Waterer and a Chick Feeder. Depending on how many chicks you raise, these are very helpful tools to have control over the amount of food and water.
- Spread pine shaving as bedding in the brooder area. It will keep them warm and safe.
- Observe them. When you let them inside, observe their attitude. If some of them have difficulties in finding the food or water, give them your assistance.
- Keep everything clean. It is important for the feeders, the waterers and the whole area to be clean because there might be a danger of any kind of disease.
To summarize, raising little chicks is an exciting activity but it comes with the responsibility of their welfare. These feeding tips will be of a lot of help so that your baby chicks will eat everything that is essential for their growth. Don’t forget that they are social beings so for the first time be sure to take more than one to create a loving family!