What Do Baby Chicks Eat? From Birth To The Laying Stage
Baby chicks are adorable and fluffy creatures that require special care when it comes to their nutrition. As a chicken owner, it is important to understand what baby chicks need in order to grow into healthy adult birds. In this article, we will cover what baby chicks eat from birth to the laying stage.
The First Few Days: What Do Newly Hatched Chicks Eat?
Newly hatched chicks have a yolk sac attached to their body, which provides them with all the nutrients they need for the first few days of life. During this time, it is important to keep the chicks warm and dry in a brooder box with clean bedding material. Avoid feeding them anything during these first few days as they don’t have fully developed digestive systems yet.
Days 3-7: Feeding Your Chicks Starter Feed
After the first few days, you can start introducing your baby chicks to starter feed. This feed is specially formulated for young chickens and contains a higher percentage of protein than regular chicken feed. Starter feed typically comes in crumble form, which is easy for chicks to eat and digest.
When feeding your baby chicks starter feed, make sure they always have access to clean water. Use a shallow dish or small waterer that is low enough for them to drink from without drowning. Change the water daily and keep an eye out for any signs of contamination or mold growth.
Weeks 2-4: Introducing Different Types of Food
As your baby chicks grow older, you can start introducing different types of food into their diet. This will help them develop strong beaks and digestive systems while also providing them with more varied nutrition.
Some good options for supplemental food include:
- Hard-Boiled Eggs: Chopped up hard-boiled eggs are a great source of protein and can be fed to your chicks once or twice a week.
- Fruits and Vegetables: Fresh fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, and lettuce can be chopped up into small pieces and given to your chicks as treats. These foods provide important vitamins and minerals that are essential for their growth.
- Mealworms or Crickets: Live mealworms or crickets can be fed to your chicks as a source of protein. Make sure to only feed them a few at a time to avoid overfeeding.
The Laying Stage: What Do Adult Chickens Eat?
Once your baby chicks reach around 16-20 weeks old, they will start laying eggs. At this point, you should switch them from starter feed to layer feed. Layer feed is specially formulated for egg-laying chickens and contains the right balance of nutrients to support healthy egg production.
In addition to layer feed, you can continue feeding your adult chickens fresh fruits and vegetables as well as occasional treats like mealworms or crickets. Always make sure they have access to clean water throughout the day.
Baby chicks require special care when it comes to their nutrition in order to grow into healthy adult birds. Feeding them starter feed during their first few weeks of life is crucial, followed by introducing different types of food as they grow older. Once they reach the laying stage, switching them from starter feed to layer feed is important for supporting healthy egg production. By providing your chickens with a balanced diet and clean water, you can ensure they live long, healthy lives.