Raising chicks from the time they hatch until they are fully grown is not an easy task as such. You need to set everything early before they come out of the hatchery. Just as the brooder will raise its chicks as little as a day-year-old until they are fully grown, you will also need to provide them everything they need for proper and healthy growth. You need to give the chicks clean water, plenty of food and make their living space conducive. In the discussions today, you shall learn how to take care of the chicks and, more important, what you should feed them to ensure they are maintained healthy.
Your chicken’s health is determined by how you feed them and primarily how they start after they get out of the hatchery. Chicken keepers should ensure their chicks get proper dietary requirements from the day they get hatched all through their lifetime. Having some knowledge and ideas about the entire dietary steps in advance before the chicks hatch is paramount for the chicks’ well-being. When the chicks hatch, they use their yolk sacks that they absorb from the egg. The yolk will maintain them for 48 hours before you start to feed them. All through this short period, chicken keepers should have an advance idea about the essential food supply they should get for their newly hatched chicks.
The kind of foods to feed your chicks
Baby chickens grow fast at large; maturity is more rapid in week one and two weeks than other times of their life. Throughout this period, they need quality feeds to maintain their health at large. Chicks from hatcheries feed on balanced chick starter feed. These feeds are purposely meant for the chicks, and they should not feed on what adult chickens feed on.
Adult chickens feed on foods that have high calcium and low protein content. The chicks need food high in proteins for rapid growth. Foods rich in calcium are not recommended to chicks since they can lead to other complications like the irreversible kidney damage that eventually leads to death.
When looking for starter feeds, ensure you read through the labels to ensure you purchase the one that contains the exact nutrients your chicks need for healthy growth. Feed your chicks with foods containing a protein content of about 18%. It is also essential you choose non-GMO and organic feed as they are the best to maintain the chicks’ health. If possible, you can find unprocessed whole grain feeds for your chicks since these feeds are healthier and natural at large.
The quantity of feeds you provide your chicks also matters a lot. The amount of feed depends on the number of chicks you have. However, five found bag is enough to start with. Every chick should consume about one ounce daily for about a month. After this period, you can shift the feed to grower feeds.
Apart from the food they consume, you also need to provide them clean and freshwater in a separate clean bowl. Grit is also essential to the chicks; this helps for the digestive system’s proper functioning to break down food materials as required.
Can you make your starter feed?
Other people make their starter feeds for their chicks. However, this is not recommended as such. Providing chicks with quality and balanced food is the best way to maintain their health. Protein and calcium levels should be maintained exact percentages as recommended. Homemade feeds may not balance the nutrients as required for the health of the chicks.
However, if you lack the starter feeds, there are alternative foods to provide your chicks. You can feed them instant oatmeal, whole grain cereals, flaked infant cereals, and other recommendable chick feeds by professionals. However, since they can’t feed on large materials, you need to crush them into small pieces for them. Use a blender to churn them before you feed them. Never grind the feeds until they are in powder form; crush them a little, but ensure they remain grainy.
Even if there are alternatives to chick starters, it is good to buy quality feeds that have balanced nutrients recommended for your chicks’ growth.
Where to buy chick starter feeds
Chick starters or chick crumbs are readily available in all local pet shops and agrovets selling animal feed at large. You can also get them online from poultry feed selling companies. Most online companies sell processed feeds at large; if possible, look for a few that provide unprocessed, balanced options.
Other ways of raising healthy chicks
Baby chickens need proper care for them to survive. Apart from providing them quality feeds, there are other things you need to understand ensuring they are maintained healthy and comfortable. Below are other considerations to raise healthy chicks.
Ensure you keep the chicks warm.
Maintaining a lot of warmth for the chicks is paramount for their well-being at large. You need to ensure their living houses are kept warm all through. Baby chickens are reared in a well-constructed box, and temperatures maintained about 32 C. insufficient warmth in their stay box can make them die.
Maintain their box clean
Chicks need a conducive environment to survive. Their box should always be clean and warm. Ensure to clean their box daily and maintain them rested at all times. Apart from this, ensure you feed them in clean bowls always.
Provide them plenty of water
Chicks also need fresh and plenty of water just likes other animals and birds. Since they are fond of jumping up and down, you should check from time to time that the water in the bowl is plenty and clean.
Chickens are great investments you need to consider at large. They provide us eggs and meat for commercial and household consumption. Raising chicks is not such an easy task; however, you need to maintain them healthy for maximum production once they are fully grown. Provide them quality feeds and all the care they need to grow healthy and comfortable.