1. Meghann Badgero

    Meghann Badgero New Member

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    We have recently added 10 baby Chickens to our farm! We are very excited to feed them as naturally as possible....but are having a real hard time finding any information on exactly what and how much the birds need. We are not interested in feeding them a commercial grain feed at all. Currently we have been hand mashing worms and greens from the yard (red clover leaf, dandelion leaf etc.) and also grinding up grains (alfalfa seed, red clover seed, flax seed). We also add a tiny splash of whey to the water - not every time, but at least once a day for a boost as well. If anyone has feed their chicks with non-commercial foods, please share what you learned along the way! We want to ensure healthy, happy birds for our farm!
    Thanks!
     
  2. floot

    floot Junior Member

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    Meghan,

    The best way to raise organic healthy chicks is letting their mother feed them. Beyond this, if you have purchased babies then you have to replicate what their mother does. In this instance, I would recommend you buy commercial chick food so they get the best start and then let them raise their own broods.

    Get your babies some chick/turkey food at about 20% protein, that will get them across the line but you also have to take them out onto some clean dirt/lawn and let them play and pick and run around you. Share a bit of bread or something like that with them. This is a great time to train them.

    Understand we know that milk formula is not replacement for mother's milk for our babies but it works just fine when mums' cannot feed them for whatever reason. Your chicks are in the same boat. Fed them well but also enjoy them and by taking them out and playing with them, you will be doing them wonders.

    Chicks are inveterate pickers, they pick at things incessantly. Give them access to clean soil and scratch it with your fingers and call them by saying 'chook chook chook'.. They will respond, it is fun.

    Meghan, in australia we call chickens 'chooks', and I have raised a lot over the past few decades to the point that if I scratch the ground and say 'chook chook chook', a mum with a dozen chicks will run up to see what I have found.

    Have fun.

    Cheers,
     
  3. Ludi

    Ludi Junior Member

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    I fed my last batch of purchased chicks with feed which I made by grinding whole sunflowers, whole oats, and mixed bird seed (millet, sorghum) - no corn because it's all GMO here. Also every day I'd give them a large handful and eventually a small bucket of active garden soil or compost filled with small bugs and worms, and plenty of chopped weeds or greens. This was the healthiest batch of chicks I ever had, with 100% survival.
     
  4. chook-in-eire

    chook-in-eire Junior Member

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    When I raised small numbers I fed young chicks a (ground) mix of
    1000g Wheat
    600g wheat bran
    600g Oats
    1000g Buckwheat
    600g Millet
    500g Field peas
    200g Sesame seeds
    100g ground eggshell
    100g Seaweed meal
    I had worked this out very carefully, after studying much old and new literature, to meet all their nutrient needs.
    They also got chopped greens at hand (chickweed, fennel greens, Asian mustard leaves, dandelion), fine grit, cider vinegar (c. 1 tbsp/l) and garlic in their drinking water. It worked a treat. Very healthy, long-lived birds.
    Only for the fact that mixing and grinding became too labour intensive once I started hatching 80-100 chicks a year I might still be doing it. I now feed organic chick starter, plus greens etc.


    As to quantities: a rough guideline would be (per bird per day)
    Week 1- 4 10- 30g
    Week 4- 8 30- 55g
    Week 8- 12 55- 75g
    Week 12-16 75- 90g
    Week 16-20 90-100g
    from Week 20. 100-120g
    Much is down to your situation (climate) though. I live in a cool-temperate climate and incubator-hatched chicks have to kept indoors under heat-lamps for 6-8 weeks, plus the weather can be rather inclement here at times and there aren't many insects and such to speak off until May.

    HTH
     
  5. adiantum

    adiantum Junior Member

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    A few loose ideas:
    --Sprout, or at least soak, any seeds or grains you give them (good for adult birds too) It makes them more digestible and nutritious, replacing some of the need for greens.
    --Babies, particularly, need more protein than adult birds, and the natural source for this is insects and worms. Soldier flies, earthworm bins, maggots, roaches, termites....set up a zapper light or a light over a tray of water.....any way to get them to insects or insects to them.
    --With layers, and I think this applies to babies too, the biggest difference between a happy bird and an unhappy one is greens...fresh, leafy greens, or grass to pick at. This is why a lot of those odd supplements are added to conventional feed, and it's also why free-range eggs (and I don't mean eggs sold as such, which might be a travesty; but real free range eggs from hens who are out on green stuff) are so dark yellow in the yolk compared to conventional eggs.
     
  6. Lopezer

    Lopezer Junior Member

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    Well I own at least 15 chickens in my farm and I am proud that I fed them with quality commercial food. Till now there has not been any problem with the chicks. But yes of course the postings above is really helpful for us to know whether they can in take non commercial food also. I agree that the let feed their mother's milk instead of other organic food.
     

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