Last Updated on December 30, 2021 by Guillermina
How often do you feed baby chicks? When taking care of baby chicks, the utmost care and a regular schedule are essential to ensure a healthy upbringing!
Have a new crop of chicks arrived at your farm? We’re sure you want to make the best environment for them to grow up – and diet is your number one concern! It’s not as easy as spreading around leftovers for the chicks to pick up with their tiny beaks.
Chick care is a fun and fulfilling hobby and business. New chicken breeders have an exciting journey in front of them. Read on to learn how often you should be feeding your baby chicks!
How Often Do You Feed Baby Chicks?
How much to feed chicks? The art of feeding newborn chicks that are days old is to keep a consistent feeding schedule. According to VCA Hospitals, It’s ideal for feeding the brood every 2 hours, translating to about 6 to 10 times every day. This should carry on from birth to one week old.
This changes once the chicks start to develop: you can begin to widen the intervals once they’ve gone through significant milestones in the first week of their life:
- When the chicks have not opened their eyes: feeding should be every 3 to 4 hours
- When the chicks have opened their eyes: feeding should be every 5 hours
- When the chicks start growing their feathers: feeding should be every 6 hours
Take care to feed them often, but with the right amount. There is a chance that newbies get overexcited and feed the chicks too much. This is bad for them as their digestive systems are still not in top form.
To feed them, you need to add some unique feeders to help them reach their food correctly. Before installing feeders meant for full-grown chickens, you can start with paper plates or shallow tin pans. This will teach them to look for special containers for their food within their living space.
How much to feed chicks? You should prepare 1 lb. or about 450 grams of feed for every single chick for every week.
Aside from the amount, you also need to look at the nutrient content of the feed you are giving the chicks. There is a more in-depth guide below.
What To Feed Baby Chicks?
The nutrient build of the baby chicks should be of the utmost importance when planning their diet. These are essential to the proper growth and health of the chicken.
- Proteins: need to make up at least 18% of the meal for energy support
- Grains: chicks need the extra energy received from healthy grains
- Fats: acids help break down and absorb all other nutrients, so the chicks receive the maximum benefit for what they are eating
- Vitamins and Minerals: support the bone health of growing chicks
Many feed manufacturers have put together chicken starter feed that features all the nutrients your chicks need. It’s much more convenient than having to mix your meals and supplements. It’s also much healthier than feeding your chicks leftovers with diminished nutritional value.
Chick starter comes in all sorts of varieties; even some treated with medication. Depending on the vaccination status or any indication of the vet, you might want to consider what kind of feed you will start your chicks on.
Aside from chick feed, some supplements have been made commercially available to chicken breeders. They have all sorts of benefits for the development of chicks and come in a wide variety of forms, including gels, powders, earth, and grit.
What About Water?
A chick set-up needs to hydrate, but they need to learn how to do precisely just that.
You need to provide fresh, clean, room temperature water in the brooder at all times. Since they do not have their mother with them, they will need to be taught how to drink and hydrate. This is as simple as gently taking their head and letting their beaks down into the water, allowing them to drink.
However, this doesn’t mean that they have automatically learned the art of drinking! You also need to check up on them every so often to make sure they are regularly drinking. If you see that they haven’t picked up the habit yet, repeat your demonstration.
This drinking behavior will also spread throughout the brood, where the chicks essentially teach one another to drink. Just make sure to make a successful case initially, as hydration is essential to the growth of the chick.
What About Warmth?
Just like how chicks were incubated to be brought to life, warmth and heat are essential parts of the growth of chicks. Regulating their temperature while they are small and defenseless is of utmost importance.
Adding a heat lamp to their home environment is essential. Make sure not to place them in an area where a draft is present. Keep their site as dry as possible.
Aside from the heat, make sure there is proper bedding lining the inside of the brooder. This serves as a warm space and a good surface to walk on and explore. After all, a good walk is essential for chickens, so don’t neglect this part of the brooder.
Always keep the bedding dry and clean – especially if any water spillage or droppings are in there. The warm, wet brooder will be an ideal place for harmful bacteria to invade if you do not take care of the comings and goings inside it!
There are a lot of factors to consider when setting up your feeding schedule for chicks. As they rapidly grow through their first days of life, you need to pay extra attention to their food, as well as their living conditions. They all come together to ensure that your chicks are set up for a healthy life!
How often do you feed baby chicks in your home or farm? Have you brought up chicks and hand-fed them? What kind of set-up did you have in your brooder? Let us know in the comments about your accomplishments and fun stories!