What to Feed Newborn Chicks: Newly Hatched Baby Chicken Food

When the baby chick just hatched, they need special attention and care to keep themselves steady and healthy for rapid transformation. Give the birds enough nutrition to start their life and good health to become fully feathered chickens. It is important to feed a newborn chicken properly. Their diet is versatile so feeding them is not a difficult task.

You can feed them commercial food or homemade food, which you will find in your kitchen, so know which food is best for them.

What to Feed Newborn Chicks

What to Feed Newly Hatched Chicks

Baby chicks need essential nutrients like 18% to 20% protein, vitamins, minerals, grains, probiotic fats, etc., for immune health. It introduces them to fresh water and teaches them how to eat. The food quality and quantity change every week. Allow them time to adjust to their bedding. Place a heat lamp at 95 degrees Fahrenheit and maintain enough heat source.

Starter Food

Keep the babies in the incubator for the whole day, then move them to the brooder. They absorb sustaining yolks into their bodies before coming out from the shell. You do not need to feed them or drink anything the next 48 hours after hatching. Give the babies starter food in the brooder, and the food must meet the nutrient. You can make the starter food or buy it from any retail store.

Chicks grow quickly in the first few weeks, and they cannot eat adult chickens’ food. High nutrients foods can damage their kidneys. Change the four in 3-4 weeks of age.

Commercial Food

Buy a good branded food as it is blended perfectly with all the important nutrients for chicks growth. Commercially made foods have balanced carbs, fats, and minerals. Buy them unprocessed whole grain, chick starter mix which is soy and corn free. Feed them until they are 8 years old.

What to Feed Newly Hatched Chicks


Baby chicks need fresh and clean water for their well-being. Water supports all the essential body functions in the early stage of development, so a lack of water affects the chick’s health and metabolism. Put a small water pot or chick feeder near them to see what they are doing. If the chicks are not drinking water, dip their beaks into the water to drink water and familiarize themselves with it. Healthy chicks teach others how to drink, so you do not have to introduce all of them to drink. Just monitor them closely for a few hours and make good access.

Add some electrolyte powder to the water sometimes.

Homemade Baby Chicks Food

Homemade food is a fantastic alternative to commercial food. It is easy to prepare, and chicks will love to eat. Mix whole grain bread and boiled eggs, soak it in milk. Put the mix on paper and position it around the feeders. Mashed eggs and oats are also a great food for chicks. They have a natural tendency to eat, so check the next day. Once they are familiar with the food, use feeders to feed them.

After 1 week, they will eat spinach, lettuce, meat scraps, cabbage, and other leafy greens but do not give too much. Slowly add barley, whole wheat, sunflower seeds, dairy products, etc., which are rich in proteins and other nutrients that increase bodily function. A good chick food list are,

  • Grass
  • Watermelons
  • Bananas
  • Apple
  • Berries
  • Tomatoes
  • Worms
  • Crickets

Three-week-old chicks can eat healthy food slowly, giving them adult food in limited quantities. They can eat forage so observe them for a few days. Baby chicks eat green vegetables and small worms in the wild. Sometimes they like to eat oilseed, canola seed, etc. They start to seek other delicious food outside, like frogs, bugs, or small mice.

What Can You Feed Baby Chicks If There is No Food?

If you do not have the starter food or forget to buy some from the local chicken feed store, quickly blend some scratch grain and uncooked oatmeal, and mix these two ingredients 50/50. Do not feed the chicks for long; it is only an emergency food option. Keep enough food for them in both summer and colder months.

What is the Best Chick Food?

The best food for chicks is organic chicken starter feed. It is packed with a balanced amount of organic carbs, calcium, zinc sulfate, vitamin D3, E, A, B12, folic acid, etc. The food must be served at room temperature.

Medicated or Non-Medicated Food

Medicated food is necessary when they are weak and rising in poor condition. The baby chicks do not need medicated food if you regularly clean the brooder and care for them. Commercial poultry farms need medicated foods for the chicks, but backyard flocks are healthier.

What Food You Should Not Give Baby Chickens

Some food contains toxins that you should not give to baby chicks. They will feel sick, and you have to treat them immediately. Some toxic foods are onions, avocado, eggplants, pickles, peanuts, etc.

Is It Okay to Feed the Baby Chicks Grit

The answer depends on what they are eating. You do not need to give chick grit when eating starter food. When they start eating supplemental food, it slowly adds grit to their food and helps their digestive system.

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