What Can I Feed Baby Chickens

What Can I Feed Baby Chickens?

Raising baby chickens, also known as chicks, can be a rewarding experience. Whether you are starting a backyard flock or simply caring for a few chicks, it is essential to provide them with proper nutrition for their growth and development. Here is a guide on what you can feed baby chickens to ensure their health and wellbeing.

1. Starter feed: Baby chicks require a specialized starter feed that is specifically formulated to meet their nutritional needs. It typically contains high levels of protein (around 20-24%) and essential vitamins and minerals. This feed is available in both medicated and non-medicated options, with the former helping to prevent common chick illnesses.

2. Water: Fresh and clean water is crucial for the overall health of baby chickens. Make sure to provide them with a shallow dish or waterer that is easily accessible. Check the water regularly and refill as needed.

3. Grit: As chicks start to consume solid foods, they require grit to aid in digestion. Grit can be provided in the form of coarse sand or small stones, allowing the chicks to grind their food effectively.

4. Treats: While starter feed should form the majority of their diet, baby chickens can also enjoy occasional treats. Some suitable options include cooked eggs (crushed shells and all), mealworms, and small pieces of fruits and vegetables. However, treats should be given sparingly to avoid nutritional imbalances.

5. Greens: Baby chicks can benefit from the addition of fresh greens to their diet. You can provide them with finely chopped lettuce, spinach, or other leafy greens. This not only adds variety to their diet but also provides extra vitamins and minerals.

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6. Fermented feed: Fermenting the chick feed can enhance its nutritional value and aid in digestion. To do this, soak the feed in water for 24-48 hours and allow it to ferment. The fermented feed is then offered to the chicks, who will find it more palatable and easier to digest.

7. Insects: Chicks naturally have a strong instinct to forage for insects. You can mimic this behavior by introducing small insects like mealworms or crickets into their diet. This not only provides them with additional protein but also satisfies their natural foraging instincts.

8. Herbs: Certain herbs, such as parsley, basil, and oregano, have antimicrobial properties that can promote the overall health of baby chicks. You can offer them small amounts of these herbs, either fresh or dried, to support their immune systems.

9. Grains: As chicks grow older, you can gradually introduce grains into their diet. Options like oats, barley, and wheat can be provided in small quantities, which adds variety and texture to their meals.

10. Avoid toxic foods: It is important to note that there are certain foods that can be toxic to baby chickens. These include chocolate, caffeine, avocado, raw potato, and onions. Ensure these foods are kept away from your chicks to prevent any harm.

11. Free-ranging: If you have a safe and secure outdoor space, allowing your baby chicks to free-range can provide them with natural foraging opportunities. They will find insects, worms, and other small creatures to supplement their diet, resulting in healthier and more content chickens.

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12. Consult a professional: If you are uncertain about the specific dietary needs of your baby chickens or encounter any health issues, it is best to consult a professional, such as a veterinarian or an experienced poultry farmer.


1. When can I start feeding treats to my baby chickens?
Treats can be introduced when the chicks are around two weeks old, but they should only make up a small portion of their diet.

2. Can I feed my baby chickens kitchen scraps?
Yes, but avoid feeding them anything that is toxic or spoiled. Stick to fresh fruits, vegetables, and cooked eggs.

3. How often should I feed baby chickens?
Provide them with starter feed and fresh water at all times, and add treats or other foods sparingly.

4. Can I feed my baby chickens bread?
While small amounts of bread are generally safe, it is not a nutritious choice for their primary diet.

5. Do baby chickens need grit if they only eat starter feed?
Grit is not necessary if they only consume finely ground feed. However, if they start eating larger solid foods, providing grit is recommended.

6. Can I give my baby chickens dairy products?
Avoid feeding them dairy products as they may cause digestive issues. Stick to their specialized starter feed and treats mentioned earlier.

7. How long should I provide starter feed to my baby chickens?
Continue feeding them starter feed until they are around 16-18 weeks old, at which point you can transition them to grower feed.

8. Can baby chickens eat meat?
Baby chickens are primarily herbivores, so meat should not be a significant part of their diet. Stick to their specialized feed and treats.

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9. Can I feed my baby chickens cooked rice?
Cooked rice can be offered occasionally as a treat, but it should not replace their main diet of starter feed.

10. Can baby chickens eat grass?
Yes, baby chickens can eat grass. However, ensure that the grass is free from chemicals or pesticides.

11. How long should I soak the feed to ferment it?
Soak the feed for 24-48 hours, or until it develops a slightly sour smell. This indicates that fermentation has occurred.

12. Can I feed my baby chickens leftovers from my garden?
Leftovers from your garden can be given to baby chickens, as long as they are safe and not treated with any harmful chemicals.

In conclusion, providing proper nutrition for your baby chickens is essential for their growth and overall health. By offering them a balanced diet consisting of starter feed, water, treats, greens, and occasional supplements, you can ensure that they thrive and develop into healthy adult chickens.

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