What Do Baby Chicks Eat?


What Do Baby Chicks Eat?

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The best pets are chickens. They provide years of pleasure with their boisterous personalities, fresh eggs, food for your lawn, and more. Additionally easy to feed, chickens will consume practically any leftovers.

Choosing what to feed young chicks doesn’t have to be complicated. Like adult chickens, baby chicks are flexible and able to eat a variety of things. You have the option of purchasing or making your own commercial chick starting feed. Many people learn that they can make their own nourishing, affordable chicken feed with a few grains and their regular kitchen trash.

Although the diet of a young chicken can be very flexible, there are some foods you might want to think twice about giving to the hens. We’ll go through the nutrient-dense foods that young hens like here, as well as the leftovers you should compost.

What Do Baby Chicks Eat?

For roughly 48 hours after hatching, baby chicks don’t need food or water as long as they are kept warm and dry. This is due to the fact that they take the egg yolk directly into their bodies before cracking the shell.

Baby chicks are allowed to eat a variety of meals like their parents when that time limit has passed. What young chickens should consume and what they may eat, however, are two distinct issues.

1. Worms

Worms are chickens’ favorite food. Chickens are bred to prefer worms since they are a part of their natural environment. Red worms and mealworms, both of which are good sources of protein, can be readily consumed by baby chickens. Don’t overfeed your hens; only give them the right amount of worms to satisfy their appetite.

2. Crickets

Crickets are edible by young chickens, and they do so in nature. Crickets are a great snack because they are high in protein, fat, and carbs when eaten in moderation.

3. Tomatoes

Because they contain the harmful substance solanine, tomato leaves are toxic to young chickens. Because the shrub, leaves, and flowers contain the deadly solanine, they are all poisonous. Vitamin K, folic acid, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants are abundant in tomatoes. Any distorted tomatoes from your garden ought to be thrown out.

4. Oatmeal

Oats are a superfood that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein. Baby chickens may occasionally consume both heated and uncooked oats. You can boost the nutritional value of oatmeal by mixing in some birdseed and plain yogurt!

5. Strawberries

Strawberries are a particular favorite among chickens. Magnesium, iron, copper, vitamin B, and potassium are all abundant in strawberries. Strawberries are also a great source of antioxidants that fight inflammation and safeguard the health of your chicks.

6. Bananas

Bananas with brown spots are a great food source for your chick chicks! Bananas are safe for baby chickens to eat, but avoid giving them underripe ones. Along with magnesium, copper, and healthy carbohydrates, bananas are a wonderful source of vitamin B6 and pyridoxine.

7. Apples

Apple slices provide an excellent substitute for formula milk when feeding young chickens, but for simpler digestion and swallowing, break them up and remove any seeds. Apple sauce is yet another excellent choice. Apples are rich in fiber, potassium, and vitamin K, in addition to carbs.

8. Lettuce

In addition to lettuce, baby chicken can eat kale, turnip greens, and chard. With its high concentrations of phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, vitamin K, and folate, romaine lettuce gives your baby chicken almost all of the minerals it needs. Iceberg lettuce, however, has poor nutritional value and might cause diarrhea.

9. Watermelons

Watermelons are safe for young chickens to consume, but their rind or seeds should never be given to them. Babies may find watermelon to be a useful source of fluids on sweltering summer days. They aren’t particularly nutritive else.

10. Grass

The majority of mature chickens comb the grass looking for insects and eat any small pieces of grass. Day-old or week-old chicks typically don’t want to eat grass. However, because it promotes foraging, owners do give their chicks an option.

How To Feed Baby Chicks?

If your chicks are less than a week old, you can help them learn to eat by feeding them with an egg carton lid or a shoebox lid. The feeder shouldn’t be placed precisely beneath the heat source, but close by.

As chicks get older, they frequently peck and splash around their feed dishes, spoiling the food. To stop the mess and costs associated with chicks walking on their food, think about purchasing a plastic or metal chick feeder.

Make sure there is enough food in the coop to prevent the hens from eating too much or too little. Make sure the trough is large enough for the majority of the chicks to eat at once in order to minimize bullying.

A lot of water is needed for chicks. Women especially drink a lot of water. To keep your flock hydrated, water needs to be replenished numerous times per day. To help your chicks start off well, think about adding vitamin and mineral supplements to the water for the first week.

It is not advisable to use water bowls made of paper towels, comforters, or other materials since chicks will step through them, kick the bedding in them, and poop in them. Commercial waterers help with these issues to some level, but the water dishes still need to be cleaned frequently throughout the day.

Put each hen’s beak in the water as soon as they arrive to help them learn to drink. Make sure the waterer is big enough for the birds to get to yet deep enough for them not to fall in.

How Much Do Baby Chicks Eat?

Baby chicks require beginning meals that have been properly milled and are tailored to their needs. Laying breeds consume about 1 pound of feed every week. This means that you’ll need about 6 pounds of feed each chick to be able to feed them up until the age of 6 weeks, when they switch to a different developer feed.

For their quickly developing bodies, chicks under the age of six weeks need food that contains protein. The percentage of protein can range from 20 to 22%. Some flock caretakers may decide to feed their flock’s chicks pharmaceutical beginning feed.

Until they become larger and start eating finer-milled beginning food, baby chicks do not always need the grit for their nutrition. In fact, some experts believe it’s preferable to wait until baby birds are also consuming other foods in addition to chick feed before giving them grit.

Chick grit should only be used as a supplement; the diet is not enough to keep them alive for the first several weeks. They can confuse the roughage for food and eat too much of it, which would make their digestion problems. This can be avoided by feeding your chicks only chick starter feed for the first few weeks.

Six Weeks and Above

Juvenile chickens need roughly 1 pound of grower/developer food each week during the first week after hatching. When chicks begin to lay, this typically happens between the ages of 16 and 24 weeks.

Birds need a diet of 14–16% protein during the first six weeks of their lives, from the time they are 6 weeks old until the time they are producing their eggs. Please be aware that some feed brands go straight from starter to layer without a grower or developer formulation. Verify that you are providing your feed according to the directions.

What is The Best Feed For Baby Chicks?

What is The Best Feed For Baby Chicks?

  • Protein: Between 18% and 20% more protein must be added to a newborn chicken’s feed during the first few weeks following birth. During a chicken’s critical growth periods, protein helps in the development of muscle, enhancing strength and bone integrity. By week 19, chickens should gradually reduce their protein consumption to 16% of their diet.
  • Vitamins: Both fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins are necessary for poultry. Apart from vitamin C, thiamine, folic acid, biotin, niacin, and riboflavin, they require all of the major vitamins.
  • Minerals: Make sure your flock consumes a balanced diet that also contains minerals. Among the minerals needed by young birds are magnesium, iron, calcium, copper, and phosphorus.
  • Grains: Among the most popular components in chicken feeds are soybean, wheat, and cornmeal. These grains provide chickens with food that is rich in protein, oil, and critical vitamins.
  • Fats: Linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid, is added to oils to increase the chicken’s fat content. Fat reserves in chicken are mostly made up of fatty acids, which oxidize vitamins and minerals.
  • Baby chicks typically get 90% of their nutrients from their mothers’ milk. In addition to their meal, poultry also require a consistent supply of water. The amount of water consumed by hens is around three times that of humans (one quart per four chickens).

    What Are The Natural Predators of Baby Chicks?

    In commercial chicken production, predatory behavior is rare. For backyard flocks and organic chicken growers, predation is a significant concern. The way flocks are housed and maintained makes a difference.

    Numerous predatory creatures that can cause harm and financial losses prey on poultry flocks. Chicken flocks are typically more vulnerable than turkey flocks because of the size of the chickens. Predators are more likely to prey on chickens than other animals. A few of the predators that might prey on chickens include weasels, coyotes, foxes, and members of their family. Even domesticated animals like dogs and cats can consume poultry.

    Predators frequently kill chickens as they are fledging, especially if the attack occurs at night. Undefended nests are the ideal prey for predators.

    How To Protect Baby Chicks From Predators?

    Fortifying the coop is the first line of defense against predators. This should be every chicken keeper’s goal. Strong fence, overhead protection from raptors and wild birds, and sealing any openings or holes would greatly reduce the likelihood that a predator will harm the flock and provide excellent biosecurity. Depending on local laws and customs, you can choose to capture or hunt predators.

    How Can We Keep Baby Chicks Warm in The Cold?

    How Can We Keep Baby Chicks Warm in The Cold?

    The easiest way to keep newborn hens warm and content is to use a 250-watt infrared heat lamp, such as one that emits infrared radiation. While incandescent bulbs, electric heat pads, and hot-water radiators shouldn’t be utilized since they don’t consistently give warmth at the right temperature, screw-in ceramic heaters are highly effective in this regard.

    The temperature of your brooder box can be altered by raising and lowering the lamp. A few days before adding your chicks, start the lamp. Use an indestructible thermometer that can be adjusted to the chick’s size in order to determine the appropriate location for the heat lamp. Age-related adjustments are required for the chick’s exposure to light, temperature, and lamp positioning. The Cooperative Extension Service at Virginia Tech has suggested temperature ranges that are shown to the right.

    Once you’ve changed the temperature, observe your chicks’ behavior. Comfortable young ones can often be seen moving around the nest in different ways. Typically, chilled chicks will congregate near the light and cheep loudly. Chicks that are overheated often become separated from one another, their beaks flapping open. Until the birds are at a comfortable height, adjust the lamp’s height.

    It may be possible to determine the chicks’ favorite temperature by looking at their legs. Chilly chicks have icy limbs that feel engorged or swollen to the touch. The limbs of hot chicks may appear dry, emaciated, and dehydrated.

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    How long do baby chicks need a heat lamp?

    After the fourth week, you won’t need a heat lamp if indoor temperatures average about 75 degrees. However, until they are fully feathered at six weeks of age, chicks need additional heat in barns or garages, which may run at 60 degrees.

    When can baby chicks go outside?

    6 to 10 weeks old

    How long do chicks stay babies?

    By six weeks of age, the majority of chicks are fully feathered. As a result, they no longer have any chick down and have developed genuine feathers, which enable them to control their body temperatures.

    Do chicks need heat at 3 weeks old?

    This week, temperature will be the main adjustment you’ll need to make. Older chicks don’t always need it to be as warm. The ideal temperature for week one is 95°F. Reduce the temperature by 5° each week beginning in week two until it reaches a minimum of 70° in week six.

    What month do you get baby chicks?

    The optimal time to have chicks is in the spring, usually in April. Mail-order chicks must be transported at least six weeks before outdoor daily temperatures of seventy to seventy five degrees Fahrenheit and below, so that they won’t be affected by bad weather.


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    Sarah Green

    Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author