What to Feed Chicks | Feed Options
What to feed chicks? Chick starter feed consisting of organic cracked grains is ideal for raising chicks. Organic chick feed, as in a whole grain chick feed, accompanied with herbs and supplement boosts the immune system and creates healthier adult poultry. Whether you’re new to raising poultry or a seasoned poultry keeper, reading information on what to feed chicks is important.
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New products are released often and studies about what is best to feed is often modified. It is important to stay current on the feed choices available.
Ultimately, an organic chick feed is the best option to offer. However, many chicken keepers don’t know that an organic whole grain feed is, above all, the best for your flock.
In addition to an organic chick feed, natural supplements are necessary for building a strong immune system. Herbs, natural probiotics, and good livestock husbandry play a large part in ensuring that your chicks leave the chick brooder healthy.
Setting up the Brooder
Prior to bringing home chicks it is necessary to have everything you will need on hand and the brooder set up. Because chicks become chilled quite quickly it is vital to have a heat source ready prior to bringing young poultry home.
Take a look at the detailed article, Setting Up a Chick Brooder, for necessary information and tips on raising chicks. Everything you need to know on preparing for the arrival of young poultry can be found in this article.
Remember, stressed chicks can become ill quickly, make the transition to your property as seamless as possible. Here’s a quick peak at what is needed:
- adequate brooder box
- source of heat, for safety reason we prefer a Brinsea Ecoglow, though a heat lamp and thermometer can be used
- proper bedding for the brooder
- waterer and feed container
- chick starter feed (organic whole grain chick feed or chick crumble)
- chick grit
- herbs and garlic to boost the immune system
- raw apple cider vinegar as a natural probiotic
Make sure to learn how to prevent coccidiosis naturally while the chicks are in the brooder. Medicated feed is an option, however, not a necessity if you are willing to utilize a natural regiment with your young flock.
What to Feed Chicks
There are a few options for what to feed chicks. However, the best, and healthiest is an organic whole grain chick feed.
Chicks will consume two types of feed, starter and grower, while in the brooder. Each type of feed is designed to support a chick’s growth based on age. The specific feed provides the correct level of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Because we opt to feed our poultry as naturally as possible, medicated feed is not offered to our young flock. Instead a high grade feed, beneficial medicinal herbs, and natural probiotics are provided to build a strong immune system.
Remember, ducklings are better off not consuming medicated feed. Look for a feed option which is universal for chicks, ducklings, and other poultry.
Locally Resourced, Organic, Whole Grain Chick Feed
Feed stores carry a variety of poultry feed brands. Many offer an organic option, however, very few companies offer a whole grain option. There are very few companies which sell their feed at a feed store, their own brick and mortar location, as well as, online. Scratch and Peck Feeds is one of the companies which offers a variety of purchasing options.
Not to mention, Scratch and Peck’s grains are locally resourced, grown by family farms.
Starter feed is necessary for the first 8 weeks of a chick’s life. This feed contains the extra protein required to promote proper growth. Not to mention, this particular feed is small enough for chicks to consume, even bantam breeds.
Because of our choice to feed our flock as naturally as possible we offer naturally free organic grower by Scratch and Peck Feeds.
The organic grower contains cracked organic grains, organic flax meal, wild caught fish meal, and necessary vitamins and minerals for growing chicks. This organic chick feed contains the appropriate protein level to not only feed chicks, but also ducklings, turkey poults, and other fowl.
As mentioned, grit is needed to help the crop break down the grains. Offer grit as a free choice option or lightly add to the feeder. Young poultry will consume grit as their body needs it.
Between 8 to 20 weeks of life the growth rate in chicks and other poultry begins to slow down. At this point, a whole grain grower feed can be offered.
Scratch and Peck’s naturally free grower feed contains less protein than starter feed, however, the organic grains, organic flax meal, wild caught fish meal, and necessary vitamins and minerals are still present.
It is at this stage that the whole grains can be offered fermented or soaked. The process for fermenting whole grains is extremely easy to do, and the benefits of consuming fermented whole grains is incredible.
- Boost in intestinal health, forming a natural barrier to pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella
- Lower feed consumption, digesting and absorbing fermented feed more effectively
- Providing and preserving vitamins and minerals found in fermented whole grains; B vitamins such as folic acid, riboflavin, thiamin, and niacin.
- Fills the chicks, more so than crumble or pellet will.
- More of the feed is absorbed into the body, hence, creating less body waste.
Not quite ready to ferment whole grains? Soaked grains are also beneficial.
- Soaked grains plump-up, allowing for poultry to become fuller on a smaller amount of feed and aid in hydration.
- Improves the digestibility in consuming whole grains by reducing the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors found in grains.
Layer pellets should only be offered to hens which are laying. Layer pellet contains calcium, which is exactly what laying hens need. However, extreme amounts of calcium can become toxic to birds which are not yet laying.
Raising Chicks with a Strong Immune System
Aside from offering a high quality feed, immune boosting supplements can be offered. These items are natural and safe to offer on a daily basis.
- herbs, fresh or dried – oregano, thyme, sage, garlic, astragalus root
- raw apple cider vinegar (ACV)
A great way to ensure your flock is consuming these items is to infuse them in water. Make sure to offer fresh water daily (with or without herbs).
In addition to infusing herbs, add a small amount to the feed each day. Because these herbs are gentle in nature, do not be fearful of overdosing chicks or adult poultry.
Raising healthy, happy chickens begins in the brooder, and that means learning what to feed chicks.