WHAT TO FEED YOUR CHICKENS
Food for baby chicks is vastly different form the food that is given to adult chickens. They should be fed the right amount and type of feed, if you want them to grow well and be healthy and prevent the spread of diseases as well. Many farm owners will give their chickens their own specially formulated chicken feed.
The problem with these home made chicken feed mixtures is that they often lack the nutritional content of chicken feed. If the homemade food is being given to the chickens, ensure that the ingredients are fresh and haven’t been treated with chemicals or pesticides.
These can interfere with the overall development of the tiny little chicks.
Use the best quality chicken starter feed that you can find for the little chicks. Again, the human comparison is valid. Would you prefer feeding a newborn nutrient-rich milk or a sugary grape soda? Usually, the best kind of food for baby chicks is known as chicken starter feed and is available in most poultry shops. Keep in mind that all vegetarian poultry mixes are not natural for the little ones. In nature, they would consume little bugs and need animal protein to grow.
An all-vegetarian fare can make chicks malnourished. An ideal situation for the baby chickens would be one where they are allowed to roam free and eat as many bugs, plants and weeds as that they can get ahold of. This is the best way to optimize their nutrition.
For beginners, the pre-made commercial chicken starter feed will also eliminate the headache and unnecessary tension of figuring out what to give the chickens. The feeds have a healthy balance of protein, vitamins, minerals and other nutritional elements that are necessary for the chickens to become healthy and strong and lay eggs.
Don’t give other mixes or food to the little chickens, as it will interfere with the nutritional balance of the commercial food given to them.
The feedbag label will tell you about the suitability of the feed for each stage of development. It will also mention the amount of nutrients per serving and the quantity that should be fed to chickens. The well-prepared diets are sufficient for the little tiny chickens and the additional use of vitamins isn’t required.
Table scraps may be fed to the chickens occasionally, but not very liberally. Table scraps that consist of grains such as barley, wheat or corn can be given as additional treats when training the chickens. Don’t give them these treats with daily food as it can interfere with the daily food that is being given to them. You may also feed them lettuce, tomatoes, and many other fruits and vegetables, if you’d like, but the commercial feed is more economical and efficient.
Your chickens will usually feed until their bellies are full. In order to make sure this happens, you should top off the chicken feeder in the morning and then again in the late afternoon. Your chickens will usually help themselves to food when they are hungry and will leave the rest when they are full. Make sure to clean their feeder containers everyday and never feed them leftover feed. Chickens are not the cleanliest animals out there, so if you don’t take care of their hygienic needs, the likelihood of them contracting illness greatly increases. In case you can’t get chicken starter feed, you can get by with breakfast cereal for the first few days or even really well-mashed hard-boiled eggs. In general though, the sooner you get them started on the feed, the better off they will be.
Make sure that you are providing clean and fresh drinking water to your chickens. Water is also an essential part of the small chicks’ nutrition. If the little ones get dehydrated, they can die and unfortunately, they have no way of letting you know that they are thirsty.
This is why your chicks’ water feeders should ideally be kept at an elevated level. This will prevent the bird droppings from falling in the water. Make sure that you change the water containers at least twice a day to ensure your chicks’ optimal health.
If for some reason you are not able to change the water twice a day, then make sure you at least do so when the water is murky and dirty. Clean drinking water should be provided to chicks at all times. The temperature of the water should be closely monitored and kept around 90 degree F. This may seem high but will actually prevent the little chicks from becoming too cold and getting sick.