What to feed baby chickens? Raising baby chickens is a fun and rewarding experience, but it’s important to know what to feed them to ensure their health and growth. Baby chickens, also known as chicks, have specific nutritional needs that must be met for them to develop into healthy adult birds. In this blog, we’ll discuss what to feed baby chickens to promote their growth and health.
You may also want to read about the best incubator.
When to start feeding baby chickens?
First, let’s talk about when to start feeding baby chickens. Newly hatched chicks can survive for up to 72 hours without food or water, as they absorb the yolk sac from their egg during the incubation process. However, it’s best to start feeding them as soon as possible to ensure they get the nutrients they need to thrive.
What to feed baby chickens?
The first food you should give your baby chickens is chick starter feed. Chick starter feed is specially formulated to provide all the nutrients baby chickens need to grow and develop. It typically contains a high percentage of protein, which is essential for muscle and feather development. Chick starter feed also contains vitamins and minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus, which are necessary for bone development.
What to feed baby chickens?
Chick starter feed comes in two forms: medicated and non-medicated. Medicated chick starter feed contains a medication called amprolium, which helps prevent coccidiosis, a common and potentially deadly disease in baby chickens. Non-medicated chick starter feed does not contain this medication, so if you choose to go this route, you’ll need to be vigilant about keeping your chicks’ living area clean and dry to prevent the spread of disease.
It’s important to note that you should not feed adult chicken feed to baby chickens. Adult feed contains different levels of nutrients and protein, which can be harmful to baby chickens. Stick to chick starter feed until your birds are about 8-10 weeks old, at which point you can switch to a grower feed designed for young chickens.
In addition to chick starter feed, you can also provide your baby chickens with treats and supplements. Here are some options:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables: Chopped up fruits and vegetables like apples, grapes, cucumbers, and lettuce can be a tasty and nutritious treat for baby chickens. Be sure to chop them into small pieces to avoid choking hazards.
- Mealworms: Mealworms are a great source of protein and can be a fun treat for baby chickens. You can buy them dried or live and offer them as a supplement to their regular feed.
- Grit: Chickens need grit to help them digest their food properly. Grit is made up of small stones or sand that chickens eat and store in their gizzards. You can provide your baby chickens with chick-sized grit to help them digest their food.
- Probiotics: Probiotics can help promote healthy gut bacteria in baby chickens. You can buy probiotics specifically designed for chickens and mix them into their water or feed.
- Calcium supplements: Calcium is important for bone development in baby chickens. If you notice your birds are having trouble walking or standing, it may be a sign of calcium deficiency. You can provide them with a calcium supplement in their water or feed.
It’s important to remember that treats and supplements should not make up the majority of your baby chickens’ diet. They should still be primarily eating chick starter feed to ensure they’re getting all the nutrients they need.
Another important aspect of feeding baby chickens is ensuring they have access to clean water at all times. Baby chickens drink a lot of water, especially during hot weather, so make sure their waterer is always full and clean. You can add electrolytes to their water to help keep them hydrated and healthy.