Things You Need To Know About Feeding Baby Chicks

Like all newborns, baby chicks are fragile and need special attention. From the day they hatch until about eight weeks old, they grow more feathers, turn their peeps into clucks, and replace the fuzzy nub on their head with pretty red combs.

Good nutrition provides the fuel baby chicks need to transform into fully feathered adults and to ensure their well-being so that you can enjoy a happy, healthy flock for years to come.


The Basics of Baby Chick Care

Baby chicks are born with feathers and can walk within a few hours of hatching. However, you will need to guide your chicks on how to eat and drink. After hatching, baby chicks still have the nutrients from egg yolks so they won’t need food and water for at least 24 hours.

Mimic how a mother hen shows her chicks where food is to create a safe and encouraging learning environment — scatter food over a brooder floor and use your fingernail to tap the feed.


Selecting the Right Nutrition for Your Chicks

The food for newborn chicks is called a chick starter. You can choose medicated or non-medicated options.

Medicated Chick Starter

Medicated chick starters help build immunity to coccidiosis, a common disease caused by coccidia. While the parasite is found everywhere, and all chickens carry them, the infection can be fatal for pullets.

Never feed medicated chick starters to adult laying hens or chicks that have been vaccinated. The medication and vaccine cancel each other out.

The Perils of Homemade Feed and the Importance of Professional Formulations

Avoid making your chick starters out of scraps and grain. DIY chicken feed may have nutritional deficiencies, which can cause illness and death.

Instead, trust Nature’s Best Organic Feeds. Nutrition experts carefully formulate the Grower Crumbles to ensure your chicks receive a proper balance of amino acids, protein, vitamins, and minerals for optimal health.


Advanced Feeding Techniques and Tips

You should know how and what to feed your chicks. Follow these guidelines:

    • Ensure troughs are accessible: When considering poultry feeder types, ensure the troughs are low enough for the chicks to see and reach. If any crumbles land on the ground, you should pick them up to prevent food waste and ensure hygiene.
    • Provide clean water: After 24 hours, baby chicks need clean and accessible water. Use a waterer with a drinking cup to reduce spillage and avoid hazards such as contamination or drowning.
    • Avoid giving your chicks treats: While baby chicks will eat anything, you should wait at least a month to give them treats. While they’re still learning to recognize their feed, treats can confuse them, and they may not receive the nutritionally balanced diet they need.
    • Include grit in their diet: Once chicks eat anything other than chick starters, they’ll need grit to prevent deficiencies. Avoid oyster shell grit because it’s dangerous, and the small chicks may learn to fill up on grit instead of feed.


Chicken Diseases and Treatments

If their diet isn’t correct, nutritional deficiencies can develop quickly in baby chicks.

Some common chicken diseases include:

    • Vitamin E deficiency: Also known as Crazy Chick disease, this deficiency may make chicks unable to walk, and their head may twist down, over their back, or sideways. Even after receiving vitamin E through their drinking water, the chicks may have a permanent head tilt.
    • Vitamimay B1 deficiency: This deficiency makes chicks unable to stand, and their head tilts up at the sky. When treated with vitamin B1, the chicks usually recover quickly.


Start Your Chicks on the Path to Healthy Growth

Nature’s Best Organic Feeds contributes to disease prevention. Our company has a legacy of quality and care for over 70 years — you can see the organic, non-medicated difference in our chick starters. Explore our store locater to shop our chick feeds in person, or contact our team for personalized feeding advice and support.