Cornish chicks, also known as Cornish game hens, are a popular breed of chicken that is primarily raised for their meat. These birds are typically ready for processing at a younger age than other chicken breeds, making them a popular choice for those who want to raise their own meat.
However, in order to raise healthy and robust Cornish chicks, it’s important to ensure that they are receiving the proper nutrition from the moment they hatch.
You may also want to read about the best chick brooder heater.
Feeding Cornish chicks
The first thing to consider when feeding Cornish chicks is their diet. When the chicks first hatch, they rely on the nutrients in their egg yolk for their first few days of life. After this, they will need to be fed a diet that is specifically formulated for their needs. A good quality chick starter feed is the best choice for Cornish chicks. These feeds are designed to provide all of the essential nutrients that growing chicks need, including protein, vitamins, and minerals.
It’s important to choose a chick starter feed that is appropriate for the age of your Cornish chicks. Young chicks will need a feed that is high in protein, usually around 20-22%. As they grow older, the protein content can be reduced to around 16-18%. The feed should also be free from antibiotics and other additives, as these can be harmful to the chicks.
In addition to a good quality chick starter feed, Cornish chicks will also benefit from some additional supplements. One important supplement is grit. Grit is small stones or sand that the chicks ingest to help them break down their food in their gizzard. Without grit, the chicks may have trouble digesting their food properly, which can lead to health problems. You can provide grit to your chicks by scattering it on the floor of their brooder, or by adding it to their feed.
Another important supplement for Cornish chicks is probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help to improve the digestive health of the chicks. They can also help to boost the immune system, which can help to prevent disease. Probiotics can be added to the chicks’ water or feed, or you can use a pre-mixed supplement that is specifically designed for chicks.
When feeding Cornish chicks, it’s important to make sure that they always have access to fresh, clean water. Chicks can become dehydrated very quickly, which can lead to health problems. You should also make sure that the water is not too deep, as young chicks can drown in even a small amount of water. A shallow dish or waterer that is easy to clean and refill is the best choice.
Another important consideration when feeding Cornish chicks is the amount of food that they are eating. Cornish chicks are known for their voracious appetites, and they will eat almost anything that is put in front of them. However, it’s important not to overfeed them. Overfeeding can lead to health problems such as obesity, which can impact their growth and development.
Instead of feeding your Cornish chicks a set amount of feed each day, it’s better to provide them with access to feed at all times. This allows them to eat as much or as little as they need to maintain their growth and development. You can use a feeder that is specifically designed for chicks, or you can use a shallow dish that is easy for them to access.
Finally, it’s important to monitor your Cornish chicks for any signs of health problems. Young chicks are susceptible to a variety of health issues, including coccidiosis, which is a parasitic disease that can be fatal if left untreated. If you notice any signs of illness, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or diarrhea, it’s important to seek veterinary care right away.