Water – You can start giving your chicks water as early as day 1, but it’s not essential until days 2 or 3 of life. Don’t use a “bowl” of water. Chicks are small and can easily drown. Obtain a specific chick drinker/waterer from your local supply store. Baby chicks don’t necessarily know how to drink right away so you can train them by dipping their beak in the water source just one time. After that, they should be able to drink on their own. Check and refresh the water often since the dust and feathers can easily contaminate it.
Commercial Chick Starter – The chick starter feed is the main food for the hatchlings until they reach 6 to 8 weeks. This feed is readily available and is considered to have all the necessary nutrients your baby chicks need at this stage. The chick starter has a higher ratio of protein compared to other types of feed. Some poultry farmers also use the term chick crumbs to describe this type of feed.
Chick Grit –It's healthy to introduce a little bit of grit to your baby chicks as early as 3 days old. Chick grit (slightly smaller than regular chicken grit) is commercially available, and you can sprinkle it over their normal feed. Grit is required to stimulate gizzard development which helps chickens grind the food and properly digest it.
Special Treats – If you still want to give your cuddly chicks some special “treats”, we suggest alfalfa and/or worms. Alfalfa is a type of legume; thus, it has high protein content. Worms are always a favorite staple of almost all birds. They’re also a rich source of protein.
The chick starter feed should be placed in a feeder which can be found at any farm supply store. Using a feeder is better than simply throwing the feed on the floor. Pecking their food from the floor can be an unhealthy habit since the floor is often spoiled with their poop.
Provide the starter feed to the chicks at about 2-3 days of age. Before that, the chicks will have absorbed enough nutrients during the hatching process to keep them healthy.
There is really no limit in terms of the amount of food you should give your baby chicks. When the feeder is empty, fill it up! They’ll eat as much as they need. Don’t worry, you can’t over-feed them. If you have a light bulb or heat lamp inside your brooder, expect your baby chicks to eat 24/7.
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