How to feed newborn chicks: proper feed and nutrition

Caring for chicks is a rewarding activity as well as crucial to ensuring the success of the chicken coop.
Chicks are very delicate creatures that unfortunately do not always have the means to survive, including the right nutrition that can help them grow healthy and robust.

Newly hatched chicks: what to do

Newly hatched chicks need to receive warmth to survive and the right nourishment to grow vigorously.
After birth, they need to be placed in an incubator for 36 to 48 hours to give them the proper warmth they need to survive. In fact, baby poultry chicks learn to manage their body temperature after 4/5 days after hatching, so the first few days of life are crucial for their survival.

How to warm newborn chicks

After the eggs hatch, to care for the newly hatched chicks, we use an artificial hen (thermal hen), a heating plate that is used to warm the chicks instead of a real hen. This allows the chicks to receive the warmth and support they might receive under a real hen. The heating plate does not produce its own light, unlike the infrared lamp, and the chick grows more properly, following the normal rhythms of daylight and night.

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Frizzle Ornamental Chicken

Do newly hatched chicks eat on their own?

Chicks are generally capable of eating on their own, but it may be necessary to wet their beaks and bring them closer to the feeder for them to drink.

How long can newborn chicks go without eating?

Don’t be frightened if you don’t see the chicks eating once they come out of the shell: they were well fed inside the egg, so they can survive even without feeding immediately: for the first 48 hours, the chicks will continue to benefit from nourishment from the yolk of the egg.

Chicks are considered newborns until they need to receive emanations from the infrared lamp: at which point feeding must be continued until they reach sexual development, around 5 months of age. By reaching the fourth month of life, the required protein reaches 20 percent of the total nutritional requirements. Once old enough, they can venture outdoors and try their hand at spontaneous foraging for food such as worms, insects and grass. From the fifth month they can supplement their diet with small amounts of bread, cheese, vegetables, and fruit, taking care to avoid giving them less digestible foods such as citrus fruits, potato peels, dried beans, rhubarb leaves, and onions.

What newborn chicks eat?

The diet of baby poultry should contemplate balanced amounts of minerals, vitamins, proteins and carbohydrates. Therefore, the wild diet they resort to does not always prove adequate to sustain them from a proper nourishment point of view.
To this end, we can either make use of the directions on the packaging or turn to an expert to fine-tune the right composition. In fact, on the market there are many types of feed for hen breeds that take into account the specifics of each category of hens they are aimed at (e.g., ornamental, laying…) so as to meet the type of development indicated.

A very nutritious chick feed can consist of a mixture of fine grains and flours made from: soybean extract meal, roasted whole soybeans, corn germ, wheat bran, whole salt vitamins, dicalcium phosphate, millet and legume flours, and corn germ panel.
Water and food, however, should never be missing from the feeders (twice as much liquid consumed as feed).

Newly hatched chicks feed on grains, flours, feeds, mixed in appropriate proportions, to derive the nutrition they need. Feed must always be dry: if it gets wet, for example because of rain, it must be disposed of, because providing it to chicks in that condition means exposing them to the risk of disease.

For this reason, feeding in the wild may be inappropriate to provide them with the proper nourishment. It is more advantageous to use industrial feeds enriched with vitamins, minerals and supplements to make them more nutritious, without overdoing the proportions.
The downside of this choice is that sometimes industrial products tend to encourage too much growth in chickens, so you may choose to mix them with flours, wheat, legumes, corn. To avoid making mistakes, it is best to follow the manufacturers’ instructions on product storage.

What feed for newborn chicks?

One idea is to provide chicks with the feed normally served to adults along with fragmented grains (millet, corn, wheat, etc.). A highly nutritious diet could include a common feed base supplemented with additional food (approximately 10 percent of the total) of fish, bread, fruit, tomatoes, vegetables, and meat. Meat products should be cooked to ward off the risk of infection.
Better also make sure to provide enough fresh water to our little feathered friends on a daily basis.

There are feeds containing coccidiostat that help counteract the onset of coccidia-related diseases in the intestines. In fact, chicks at this stage of their lives are not yet able to effectively defend themselves against infection (since coccidia can be ingested when young poultry move from the nest to the ground). Feed with coccidiostat unfortunately does not provide absolute defense against these parasites: alternatively, you can vaccinate the chicks and provide them with ordinary feed.

You must also have a feeder large enough to accommodate the entire mash by making it remain within reach of the chicks, with a base such that the chicks can reach it. The trough also clearly should not be so large that they risk drowning while drinking.

Feeding grown chicks

By the time the chicks pass the first month of age and enter the third month of life, they are old enough to be called pullets and pullets, and they can be fed feed containing 19 percent protein, which is less than the first-period variety and more than the variety intended for adult chickens.Want to raise your hens in a healthy and safe way? Try our power mills to provide them with well-digestible feed.