How often do you feed baby chickens

Chick Care: Feeding and Watering Dos and Don’ts

by Gail Damerow in Farm Animals, Horses & Pets

Newly hatched chicks are not entirely helpless, but like any other babies, they must have access to clean water and be kept well fed. Gail Damerow shares some expert tips to ensure you’re ready for your new arrivals.

Buff Orpington chick. Photo © gina pina, via Wikimedia Commons.

Newly hatched chicks are not entirely helpless, but until they grow a full complement of feathers, you’ll need to keep them warm, dry, and safe. Like any other babies, they must also be kept clean and well fed. Here are a few dos and don’ts for making sure you’re meeting your new arrivals’ food and water needs.

DO make sure chicks must have access to fresh, clean water at all times. A waterer should be the correct size for your flock’s size and age — chicks should neither use up the available water quickly nor be able to tip over the fount. The basin should be high enough to keep the water level between a chick’s eye and the height of its back. This way, a chick drinks more and spills less. Chicks shouldn’t be able to roost over or step in the water. The easiest way to provide water to newly hatched chicks is to use a 1-quart (1 L) canning jar fitted with a metal or plastic watering base, available from most feed stores and poultry-supply catalogs.

DON’T be tempted to cut corners and provide water in an open dish or saucer. Chicks will walk in it, tracking litter and droppings that spread disease. They’ll tend to get wet and chilled, and the stress will open the way to disease. Some chicks may drown. Damp conditions in a brooder — whether caused by spilled water or a leaky waterer — are to be avoided.

To minimize stress, chicks should drink soon after they hatch and eat within five hours. Photo © Gail Damerow, excerpted from Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, 4th Edition.

DO clean waterers daily. Use warm water and vinegar or other poultry-approved sanitizer. When choosing a waterer for your chicks, make sure to select one with a drinker that is easy to clean. A fount that’s hard to clean won’t be sanitized as often as it should be.

DON’T make chicks travel far for their water. Initially place drinkers no more than 24 inches (60 cm) from the chicks’ heat source. Later, as you move the chicks to expanded housing, make sure they never have to travel more than 10 feet (3m) to get a drink. When upgrading to a larger waterer, DO leave old waterers in place for a few days — at least until the chicks get used to drinking from the new source.

DO make sure chicks are drinking before they start eating. They seem to experience less of a problem with sticky bottoms if they a good dose of water before they get a belly full of feed, especially when the feed is commercially formulated chick starter.

DON’T feed layer ration to chicks, not even as an emergency measure if you run out of starter. The high calcium content of layer ration can seriously damage a chick’s kidneys. If you run out of starter, or you forget to pick some up and you have chicks to feed, you can make an emergency starter ration by cracking scratch grains in the blender or, if you have no scratch, by running a little uncooked oatmeal through the blender and mixing it 50/50 with cornmeal. Don’t use this mixture any longer than necessary, though — grains are high in calories and low in the protein, vitamins, and minerals a chick needs for good growth and health.

The end cut from a tissue box makes a handy first feeder to encourage baby chicks to peck for food. Photo © Gail Damerow, excerpted from Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, 4th Edition.

Soon after they hatch, chicks start looking for things to peck on the ground. If they don’t see anything else on the ground, they’ll peck their own feet.

DO sprinkle a little starter ration on a paper towel or paper plate to help them find feed. As soon as most chicks are pecking freely, remove the feed-covered paper before it starts to hold moisture that attracts mold. For the remainder of the first week, put the starter in a shallow lid or tray, such as a shoebox lid. When the chicks start scratching out the feed, switch to a regular chick feeder.

DO choose a feeder that works for your space. A good feeder prevents chicks from roosting over or scratching in feed and has a lip to prevent billing out (wasting feed by scratching it out with their beaks). If your space is limited, use a feeder that has a small footprint. One such style is a base, similar to a drinker base, that screws onto a feed-filled quart (1 L) jar, and has little openings through which the chicks can peck. If the brooder is roomy enough, a hanging feeder is ideal because it holds a lot of feed, so chicks are less likely to run out during the day; it minimizes feed wastage because chicks can’t scratch in it and are less likely to bill out feed if the feeder is maintained at the proper height (the same height as the birds’ backs). ; and it is easy to raise on the hanger to the proper height as the chicks grow.

A chick feeder that screws onto a quart (about a liter) jar has a small footprint, making it ideal where brooder space is limited. Photo © Gail Damerow, excerpted from Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, 4th Edition.

DON’T leave feeders empty for too long, and be careful not to let uneaten feed accumulate. Fill feeders in the morning, and let the chicks empty them before filling them again. Leaving feeders empty for long periods of time invites picking, but letting stale or dirty feed accumulate is unhealthful, so strike a healthy balance. Clean and scrub feeders at least once a week.

DO think about good gut health! Old-time poultry keepers spiked their chicks’ water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per gallon (3.75 L). Chickens like it, and the poultry keepers saw positive effects. Could they have known that the beneficial bacteria and yeasts naturally colonizing a chick’s intestines prefer acidic conditions? I doubt it. The science of probiotics is all pretty new. But we know now some reasons why it was/is beneficial. Encouraging the growth of beneficial gut flora fends off harmful organisms through a process called competitive exclusion. Chicks raised in an incubator acquire beneficial gut flora more slowly than chicks raised under a hen. To enhance their immunity, probiotics are available that are either dissolved in water or sprinkled on feed to give the chicks an early dose of the same gut flora that will eventually colonize their intestines. A hand substitute is live-culture yogurt, but a little goes a long way — giving chicks too much yogurt will cause diarrhea.

Text excerpted and adapted slightly from
Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, 4th Edition © 2017, 2010, 1995 by Gail Damerow. All rights reserved.
Gail Damerow

Gail Damerow has written extensively on raising chickens and other livestock, growing fruits and vegetables, and related rural know-how in more than a dozen books,… See Bio

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What to Feed Baby Chickens

Chickens 101 Nutrition Raising Baby Chicks

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 26 June 2020

Like all newborns, baby chicks need special attention. Chicks need egg-cellent nutrition to equip them to travel the journey from chick to fully feathered adult. From down to feathers, from peeps to clucks, from an almost imperceptible nub on the top of their heads to pretty red combs, a chicken undergoes the biggest and most rapid transformation from the day they hatch up until about eight weeks old when they are almost at three quarters of their adult weight. That’s quite egg-straordinary, I know! So, what type of fuel do these amazing critters need for this awe inspiring journey? Let’s stake a “peck” and egg-splore the nutritional needs of baby chicks!

First things first, a baby chick needs access to fresh clean water at all times. Water plays a key role in a baby chick’s overall health and wellbeing by aiding most of its bodily functions. Chicks and mature chickens alike consume approximately double the amount of water as compared to feed and therefore, a lack of it can seriously affect a chick’s health.

For starters, to get a jump-start in life, chicks begin by pecking at Chick Starter! Chick Starter contains all the essential nutrients a chick needs to grow and develop into either an egg-cellent egg layer or a robust cock-a-doodler! Typically, a chick will eat a starter mix up until eight weeks old; however, many commercial brands now sell chick starter as Chick Starter/Grower and it is fed up until Point of Lay in hens or at sixteen to eighteen weeks for the young gentlemen.  A great alternative to commercial chick starter is a wonderful concoction of two staple ingredients; eggs and oatmeal. Simply, hard boil some eggs, mash them up and mix with oatmeal. Although, if you are raising a large number of fuzzy little chicks, feeding commercial starter is a wise choice and is available at most farm supply centers.

As with humans, accurate nutrition in these early stages is essential to ensure your chick's growth. Even the smallest inaccuracies in these early stages could cause them serious health issues and even death. To become confident and learn all there is to know about raising healthy happy chicks into egg-laying hens, visit Chickenpedia. They have a comprehensive course that will give you step-by-step instructions at every step of the way. I highly recommend them to all my readers.

The anatomy of chick starter begins with a most necessary nutrient-protein. Next to water, protein, both plant and animal, is the second most essential nutrient for young chicks. This star body builder stimulates the growth of muscles, tissues and organs-it’s basically what makes your wee ones grow. Feel free to offer your young chicks some small worms plucked after a spring or summer shower-nature’s homemade protein! Carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins and minerals make up the rest of the cast of nutrients needed by your ever growing wee chooks. Rest assured, though, in the fact that commercial chick starter comprises everything a baby chick needs to mature into a lovely hen or dapper rooster.

Whilst I can give you some knowledge you get you started, it's our friends over at Chickenpedia that can give you a fully comprehensive guide to raising baby chickens. They cover everything you need, from food & water to temperature and vaccinations, so you can experience all the triumphs and avoid disasters with these precious little fluffballs.

Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty matter of offering your baby chicks grit. Do baby chicks or growing young chicks need grit? Basically, if your babies are only eating starter, then they really don’t need added grit. If however, you begin adding supplemental foods such as kitchen scraps and treats, then a little bit o’ grit is necessary to aid digestion. Grit is egg-actly what it sounds like-minute pieces of earth, stone, and sand. If you live in a nice temperate climate, and your babies are out and about much of the time, they will most likely “peck up” sufficient grit to balance out their diet.

Do you give your baby chicks shell grit? Tell us in the comments below, I would love to hear from you. 

An alternative to commercial chick starter, is to simply make your own baby chicken food. Although this choice provides you with the knowledge and peace of mind that your babies are getting egg-actly and only what you put into it, it is a complex process and can be difficult attempting to purchase all the necessary ingredients and then measuring out the egg-act quantities.

There really are no guidelines as to the amount of feed to offer baby chicks. Being the “always hungry” ravenous little critters that they are, it’s just fine to keep their feeders filled and at the ready. They will peck and peck until their little bodies let them know they’ve reached their fill. Then, being the egg-spert little poopers that they are, they’ll poop it right out again. Uh, oh…time to clean the bedding, yet again! Such is the life of a chicken keeper-aren’t you the lucky clucky one! Ha Ha

Oh and… I should also mention, click here to check out Chickenpedia. As a member, you will get access to the Ultimate Chicken Health Course. I highly recommend this to all of my readers because it has everything you didn’t know you needed to know (and lots of free guides). So, don’t wing it. Click here to check out Chickenpedia.

Sources and further reading

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diet in the first days of life, chicken feed norms

The diet of chickens, especially small ones, is different from the diet of adult chickens. Many breeders who raise chickens in the household are interested in how and what to feed the chicks so that they develop properly. For healthy growth, chickens require a balanced diet in sufficient quantities. The composition of the products depends on the direction and age of the chicks.


  1. What does healthy chicks eat?
  2. General rules for formulating rations
  3. What to feed chickens?
  4. General rules for feeding
  5. Feed for chickens of various ages
  6. Feeding frequency
  7. Feeding Features
  8. Farmer's Councils

What does a healthy chicken diet consist of?

Sources of proteins, vitamins, micro and macro elements are products of plant and animal origin, as well as substances synthesized in the laboratory. For the production of finished formulations in the factory, only high-quality proven raw materials are used. In feed for laying hens and broilers are introduced:

  • amino acids,
  • vitamins,
  • minerals,
  • probiotics,
  • antioxidants,
  • prebiotics,
  • coccidiostats,
  • mold inhibitors.

It is quite difficult to independently calculate the proportions and mix the components thoroughly without the appropriate equipment.

General dietary guidelines

The terms of growing meat breeds are 1.5-2 months, laying hens - up to six months. During this time, the bird should gain weight of 2.5-3 kg. To accelerate the growth of muscle mass in broilers, it is recommended to use specialized feed. It fully meets the needs of the bird in proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. The composition and consumption of feed should be appropriate for the age of the chicks. nine0013

At 1-2 weeks of life, the foundation of the skeleton is laid in chickens, muscle mass increases at an average pace. At this time, it is necessary to introduce a sufficient amount of proteins, fiber, and mineral components into their diet.

In the growth phase, chickens are gaining weight intensively. They need as many amino acids and proteins as possible, which act as a building material for cells, as well as complex carbohydrates. The dose of vitamins and minerals received with food is increased. nine0013

At the finishing stage, the amount of carbohydrates is reduced so that the broilers gain more muscle mass, and not fat. At this stage, it is important to prevent weight loss. For these purposes, finishing compound feed is introduced into the diet.

What to feed chickens?

Cereals form the basis of the diet.

Corn One of the most useful and nutritious ingredients. Corn is the leader among grains in terms of protein content, while it contains less fiber than other cereals. The product is easily digested and well absorbed. nine0006
oats Source of many amino acids. It is considered a dietary product, but contains a lot of fiber. In large quantities, it causes blockage of the intestines, so its share in the composition of the feed does not exceed 20%. Oats are given in a purified form, completely removing the film from the grains. The size of the fraction depends on the age of the bird. Sifted oatmeal is usually added to prestarter formulations.
Wheat nine0087 Contains a large amount of vitamin E, B. Feed wheat is usually used in bird feed. The percentage can be up to 30%.
Rye It is a source of a number of useful proteins, but contains too much mucus, which negatively affects the digestive system of chickens. It is added to some feeds in small quantities.
Barley nine0087 Practically not inferior to oats in useful properties, but also contains a lot of fiber. It is introduced into the composition only in a purified and sifted form.
Buckwheat Despite the fact that the product contains components useful for poultry, it is rarely used. Basically, it is added to granulated feed, because. in loose form, chickens do not peck it.
Bran nine0087 Products of processing grain crops are introduced to increase the caloric content of the diet. By themselves, they have no nutritional value, so they are rarely used.

Peeled vegetables are used as succulent feed.

Potato Improves poultry digestion, promotes the absorption of nutrients. It is introduced in boiled dehydrated form. In the process of preparing food, it is unacceptable to use green potatoes, since poisonous solanine has formed in them. nine0006
Beet It normalizes the work of the intestines, prevents its blockage, provides the needs of chickens for vitamin B2, carotene, sugar. It can be given both fresh and boiled. The content of beets in the diet is about 15%.
Pumpkin It contains a lot of vitamins and microelements. The product is added in an amount not exceeding 15% of the total volume. nine0006

Protein components provide the daily requirement for amino acids. Protein sources are also rich in vitamins and minerals. They can be of plant and animal origin. Amino acids are well absorbed by the body. Animal proteins are obtained from various types of flour:

  • fish. This product makes up to 8% of the diet, but is not used in broiler feed so that the meat does not have a specific smell; nine0016
  • bone. In terms of the amount of proteins, it is not inferior to cereals, and at the same time it is rich in fats (11%) and vitamins A and E. It is given to chickens from a month old;
  • blood. The product is rich in essential amino acids, but in high concentrations it provokes indigestion. Its share in the diet should not exceed 4%;
  • pen. This component is used as an available source of protein to balance the feed composition. It is added in small amounts (up to 2%). nine0016

Dairy products are also a source of well-digestible animal protein: cottage cheese or whey. Their inclusion in feed mixtures for laying hens increases the egg production and fertility of chickens.

Legumes are richest in vegetable proteins:

  • soy in terms of percentage and qualitative composition of proteins and amino acids is practically not inferior to products of animal origin, it also contains vitamins and minerals; nine0016
  • peas also provide protein requirements for poultry, although to a lesser extent; chickens do not eat it well because of the specific smell and taste, therefore, no more than 10% is introduced into the feed;
  • soybean and sunflower meal and cake are an inexpensive, highly digestible source of amino acids. In compositions for adult chickens, their share is 15-17%, for chickens and young animals - 10%.

General feeding rules

nine0005 Each individual should consume approximately 15-30 g of food per day: how much depends on the breed, weight of the chicks, and the intensity of their development. In general, the amount of feed each time should be such that the young hens will eat it in 30 or 40 minutes. The remains must be removed from the feeders so as not to deteriorate, and the feeders themselves must be washed and dried.

If the chicks do not eat the feed given to them often, then its rate should be reduced. If, on the contrary, the food is eaten quickly, then it is desirable to increase its volume. nine0013

Feed for chickens of various ages

PC-2 Designed for chicks under 7 weeks old. It is produced in the form of finely ground grains, designed for an insufficiently unformed digestive system, easily digestible, contains all the useful trace elements.
PC-3 Balanced mix for young animals 8-20 weeks old. Promotes rapid growth and proper formation of the reproductive system. It is produced in the form of grains with medium-sized fractions. nine0006
PC-5 Designed for broiler chickens from 2 weeks to 1 month of age. It consists of a complex of easily digestible components that stimulate a set of muscle mass.
PC-6 It has similar characteristics, but is designed for broilers older than a month.

All types of feed can be divided into three groups: nine0013

nine0005 Such compound feeds are developed mainly for laying hens. A large amount of protein increases the productivity of the bird, improves the palatability of the eggs, and makes the shell stronger.
carbohydrate Protein Vitamin
Promote accelerated growth and muscle mass gain. Their composition is dominated by cereals and vegetables. Chickens digest foods high in carbohydrates well, which cause a slowdown in metabolism and rapid weight gain. Such feeds are designed for broilers and increase the average carcass weight. Strengthen the immune system, help to survive the winter period. Usually produced in the form of concentrates, which enrich the main diet.

According to the form of release, the compositions are of 2 types.


Loose ones consist of fine-grained components. The disadvantage of such compositions is that they are worse absorbed. The chicken chooses tasty crumbs from the feed, and the less appetizing ingredients are thrown away. As a result, the bird receives less nutrients. In addition, a lot of dust remains in the feeder. However, it is impossible to completely abandon loose compositions. Chickens in the first weeks of life are not able to swallow and digest large granules, therefore they can peck only small grains. For broilers, loose compound feed can be introduced into the diet from the first days of life, and for laying hens - from the second week. When using dry mixes, it is important to provide the hens with sufficient drinking water. nine0013

Expanded feed is produced by short-term heat treatment under high pressure. Nutrient mixtures are in the form of granules and contain liquid components in their composition. The advantages of expanded compositions include:

  • neutralization of pathogenic microflora (salmonella, E. coli) and mold spores due to exposure to high temperatures;
  • improved digestibility, since the bird cannot choose individual pieces. nine0016

However, when heated, some of the vitamins are destroyed.

Feeding frequency

The first time chickens are fed on the same day they are born. Then, until the age of 7 days, the chicks of meat breeds are fed 6-8 times a day, from the 2nd week of life - 6 times, from the 3rd - 4 times a day, by the age of one month, chickens are fed three times a day. Chicks of egg breeds up to 1.5 weeks are fed 5-6 times a day, and by the month they are gradually transferred to 3 meals a day. nine0013

When choosing a mixture, it is recommended to give preference to complete formulations. However, if the breeder has enough of his own food, you can limit yourself to concentrated additives to enrich it. Such compositions are marked with the QC marking. Concentrates for meat and egg-bearing breeds solve different problems:

for broilers for laying hens
  • reduce the percentage of marriage in the livestock,
  • increase the average daily weight gain,
  • strengthen the skeleton,
  • promote the growth of muscle tissue, not fat, improve the taste characteristics of meat
  • prevent joint deformities,
  • prevent pen loss,
  • increase the number and size of eggs,
  • increase shell hardness,
  • nine0015 improves the nutritional quality of eggs,
  • increase hatchability of chicks

It is unacceptable to use concentrates as the main feed, since an excess of nutrients is no less harmful than their deficiency. BVMB is introduced into the composition of the mash, taking into account the age of the chickens.

Feeding Features
1st day of life Feeding of chickens of egg breeds begins immediately after they dry out. The first food for newborn chickens should be a hard-boiled egg. It is cut as small as possible so that the chicks can swallow small crumbs and roll it in semolina to prevent pieces from sticking to the paws and fluff. In the brooder where they are, they put a drinker with clean, boiled and cooled water. Newly hatched chicks are also fed boiled eggs under the brood hen. nine0006
2nd day On the 2nd day, the chicks are already given a mash of eggs and homemade low-fat fresh cottage cheese (the ratio of ingredients is 1 to 1). The formula for feeding day-old chicks should be fresh and fed every 3 hours.
1 Week From the 3rd day, chickens are fed with a more varied mixture of cottage cheese, boiled eggs, crumbly porridge from corn, oat or wheat chips (the share of cereals should be 65%). Finely chopped greens and boiled red carrots grated on a fine grater are added to them. You can give germinated grain or grass flour at the rate of 2-3 g per chicken per day. More than 5 g of such flour cannot be fed due to the high content of fiber in it. Separately, a little skimmed milk or yogurt is poured into the container; it is better not to add them to the mixers. Twice a week, a few crystals of potassium permanganate are added to the water so that it becomes slightly pink. Keep it in drinkers for no more than 0.5 hours, and then replace it with clean water. This protects chickens from stomach diseases. You can feed the chicks with special industrial compound feed for chickens from the first days of life. It is made up of products that are easily absorbed by the body of small chickens and fully satisfy all their needs. nine0006
2-4 weeks From 1.5 weeks of life, a little sunflower or soybean meal (3-4% of the total food volume), chalk or shells, bone meal (5-7% of the feed amount or 2-3 g per 1 chick). Particles of top dressing should not be more than 1-2 mm. Very fine gravel or sand washed in water is placed in a separate container. After 10 days, eggs are removed from the diet, but other components are introduced, for example, root crops (boiled potatoes, etc.). Salt, rice, rye, wheat bran (up to 10%), herbal flour (6-10%) are introduced into the menu of two-week-old chickens. From 3 weeks old, chicks gradually begin to accustom themselves to whole grains. nine0006
1 month At this age, the young are already quite strong, they can spend time walking, where they independently find greenery, seeds of various plants, worms and beetles. If the birds are in a closed aviary and cannot pluck the grass, then they need to be given it along with grain and vegetables. In general, the share of green grass in the diet of one-month-old young animals should be about 1/3 part, no less. Grain can be given both ground and whole: the birds are already able to peck it. It can be anything: wheat, barley, corn, oats, etc. At this age, legumes can also be fed: peas, chickpeas, small beans, etc. In addition to grain products, you can feed root crops, fresh or boiled, to monthly chickens, vegetables from the garden and their tops, kitchen waste of both plant and animal origin, bran, meal and cake, compound feed. From mineral additives - bone and fish meal, chalk or lime, shell rock, salt. In addition to food, young animals should always have clean water in drinking bowls and pebbles that the bird needs for normal digestion. nine0006

Chickens of meat breeds differ from egg breeds in that they need more complete proteins and vitamins, so their diet should be tailored to this feature. Therefore, it is necessary to give more protein feed, such as legumes (grains and green mass), meat and bone and fish meal, fresh kitchen waste. It should also be borne in mind that they eat more, so they need to be fed more often, especially in the first days of life.

Farmer's councils

When changing nutrition, the sensitivity of chickens to changes in composition should be taken into account. For this reason, birds should be transferred to a different diet gradually, over 3-5 days, daily adding new food to the usual food, gradually increasing its amount.

There should always be fresh water in the drinker, in which a little potassium permanganate is diluted - so much so that the liquid does not turn pink.

It is advisable to mix common salt (up to 5 g per 1 kg of the mixture) and ground egg shells into the feed. nine0013

The main disadvantage of self-prepared mixtures is the fragility of their storage. In contrast, prepared feed can be left in the feeder for as long as the chicks need to saturate.

In our company, you purchase safe, certified mixtures with high nutritional value. Products exceed the requirements of GOSTs in quality. At your request, it is possible to develop an individual recipe for specific chicken breeds. nine0013

The MEGAMIX company cooperates with a network of dealers in Moscow and regions. You can clarify the terms of the order and delivery by phone +7 (8442) 97-97-97 or on our website.

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nine0012 09.11.2020

How to feed chickens from the first days of life to adulthood at home?

Important factors in the choice of feed for chickens should be its completeness and nutrition, but at the same time it should be easy to digest.

Chicks need to be fed enough, there should always be food in the chick feeder. Chickens should not be given coarse, hard-to-digest food. For each age there is a special compound feed. The ration must be correct. nine0013

Must include:

  1. Carbohydrates. They are mostly found in grain feed. The bird consumes carbohydrates when moving, and the rest is deposited as fat.
  2. Protein. The most important component of chick growth. Chicken meat itself is 20% protein. In order to provide birds with this microelement, in addition to grain, it is necessary to give boiled meat leftovers, lentils, cake.
  3. Fats. Chicken feed is rich in fat. Separate fats should not be given, this can lead to problems with digestion. nine0040
  4. Vitamins. Do not forget about vitamins. Without them, normal growth and development of chickens is impossible. Insufficient amount of vitamins can lead to beriberi. Avitaminosis disrupts metabolism, and the bird becomes vulnerable to many diseases.
  5. Vitamin A is found in large quantities in carrots, greens, fish, and dairy products. If the chicks are in a closed space, it is necessary to include fresh grass (dandelion, quinoa) in the diet, approximately 30 grams per chick. nine0016
  6. Vitamin B. Found in yeast, sprouted grains.
  7. Vitamin D. A vitamin obtained from sunlight. Very important for the prevention of rickets, and for the formation of eggshells. The bird can be fed with fish oil (from 3 to 10 grams per day) and yeast irradiated in the sun.
  8. Vitamin E. Very important in the metabolic process. Found in legumes and wheat germ.


  • Healthy diet and feed intake for chickens

    Chicks must have access to water at all times and be careful not to get wet or the chicks may get sick. The drinker and feeder should be located in a warm, bright place.

    Week-old chicks should be given boiled water at 30 degrees, then gradually reduce the temperature, by the age of three weeks the drinking temperature should be 18 degrees.

    Vitamins and amino acids can be mixed into the water of chickens, and antibiotics in case of diseases. nine0013

    Feed consumption norms are clearly shown in table 1.

    Table 1

    9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 per day 9000 35 350006 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9,000 9000 3779
    Age in weeks Feed consumption in grams for:
    per week total per day per week total
    1 5 350006 6 42 42
    2 12 84 119 14 98 140
    3 20 140 259 22 154 294
    4 28 196 455
    5 245 700 40 280 784
    6 43 300 1000 50
    1350 60 420 1554
    8 57 399 1749 70 490


    9 65 455 2204 75 525 2565
    10 70 490 2694 82 574 3139
    11 75 525 3219 87 609 3748
    85 665 4413

    What to feed the chickens?


    As you know, the first food for a chicken is provided in the egg . Before hatching, he eats the rest of the yolk, so there is no particular need to immediately feed newborn babies. Let them dry and rest for a while.

    The first feeding should take place no later than 12-16 hours after hatching. According to statistics, the survival and viability of chicks fed in the first 16 hours is significantly higher than chickens that were not fed at all for the first day. nine0013

    The optimal diet for chicks in the first week of life is every 2 hours, including at night. By the end of the week, feed should be reduced to 7-8 times a day. Make sure that the feeder is always full, rinse it with boiled water.

    There are a lot of disagreements and disputes about the first food. The fact is that for many years, crushed boiled yolk was considered the optimal food after hatching. But recent discoveries have found it too fatty for the delicate stomachs of chicks. In view of this, it is now customary to consider the best first food is corn grits .

    Afterwards, babies can be given hard-boiled yolk mixed with semolina (so as not to stick together), starter feed, boiled and finely chopped nettle greens. On the third - fourth day, you can diversify the diet by adding wheat and barley groats, grated boiled potatoes and carrots, chopped green onions.

    Chickens should be given yogurt to drink or finely crumbled cottage cheese, because chicks need calcium. Some poultry farmers mix linex or bifidumbacterin into the water of chickens to maintain the intestinal microflora. nine0013

    In the first week, be sure to check the stomachs of the chicks before going to bed. Feed those who have them empty separately.


    Week-old chicks are fed with a mix of corn, barley, wheat and oatmeal (or compound feed for chickens) + grass, vegetables (potatoes and carrots) and fermented milk products. The number of feedings per day is at least 7 times. At a week old, chicks should be given a weak solution of potassium permanganate 3 times a week to prevent infections. nine0013


    Already grown chicks can be added to the diet of soaked bread (mixed into cereals), boiled fish. Remember to keep the food in the feeders fresh, always give the chicks as much food as they will eat at a time so that they do not trample it. Compound feed can already be slowly replaced with bran. The number of feedings of two-week-old chickens is 6-7 times a day.


    Month old chicks can already be allowed outside, so fresh greens are considered an integral part of their diet. At this age, young animals can be given a little coarse grain, and by one and a half months - whole. nine0013

    We also continue to feed the birds with vegetables and vegetable waste, fermented milk products and cereals. You can give low-fat meat waste (boiled). Chicks should have a separate feeder filled with gravel, sand, or crushed eggshells.

    Earthworms should not be given to chicks, even though they love them very much. From such food, chickens can become infected with helminths and even die.


    From the age of three months, chicks are already switched to adult hens, but the young should be fed more densely and more often. nine0013

    The main food continues to be grain, but the birds will not refuse table scraps either. It can be: bread crusts, leftover meat, fish, etc.

    If the young animals do not grow greenery in the paddock, you need to give them fresh grass every day. Most often, hanging feeders are made for birds so that the greens do not get trampled.

    An incubator is best for home raising chickens for beginners.

    What is egg candling and how is it done? We talked about this in detail here. nine0013

    You can find the recipe for chicken masher in our article.

    Feeding considerations

    Laying chicks

    For the first five days of life, future laying hens are fed the same way as all chicks. From the fifth day, you can feed dry food. Before feeding with oatmeal or barley flour, it is necessary to weed out grain films, as chickens do not digest them well. There must be feed containing proteins and vitamins (sour-milk products, herbs, yeast, carrots, coniferous and grass flour). nine0013

    Try to immediately accustom the bird to eating greens. This will help you avoid additional costs for vitamins and supplements in the future. After all, fresh herbs are a real pantry of vitamins.

    Calcium is of particular importance for egg breeds, it is necessary for the correct formation of the shell. Feed the bird the same crushed eggshell, chalk, bone meal.

    If the chicks are in an enclosed space, fish oil should be given to them from 5 days of age at 0.1-0.2 g per chick. It is advisable to mix fish oil with crushed grains, so it will feed faster. nine0013

    At the age of one month, young hens should weigh 220-270, males 290g; at three months - 970-1000 and 1150; at the age of five months - 1600-1700 and 1900. Thus, weight should be controlled in order to select the strongest individuals. Table 2

    Table 2

    9000 4 0.6 9000 9000 4 9000 - 9000 -
    Feed Chick age, days
    1-5 6-10 11-20 21-30 30-41 41-50 9000 9000 51-60
    7 11 18 28 38 45
    Circles - 0.2 0.5
    9000 1 .5 2.0
    Boiled potatoes - - 4.0 10 14 18
    COMURE 4 4
    Eggs in Cool 2 2 - - - -
    A fermented milk products - 0.2 0.4 0. 5 0.8 0.9 0.9
    Gray salt - 0.05 0.05 0.05 0.05 0.08 0.1 0.1

    That is why most poultry farmers prefer broilers. In two months, birds reach 1.4–1.6 kg of weight. nine0013

    They are usually not grown for more than three months, because later they grow worse, and it becomes not so profitable to feed broilers.

    Broiler chicks are usually given little space. They should not move much, their main task is to gain weight.

    After hatching, the diet of broilers is almost the same as that of laying chicks, except that broiler chicks need to be fed more protein.

    Compound feed should be introduced from the second day to 20 g. For the first two weeks, pre-start compound feed is better. It contains all the necessary elements for the growth and development of broiler babies. Starting feed is suitable from 14 days, and from a month the birds are transferred to the finish feed. Be sure to read the composition of the compound feed before buying, it should contain only natural ingredients. nine0013

    Vitamins A, D2 and E must be introduced into the feed from day 5. Taking vitamins will help to avoid many diseases, including rickets. From ten days old, chopped carrots are added to the main feed in the amount of 5 g per head per day. From two weeks, you can replace a quarter of the grain with boiled potatoes, at this age they begin to slowly give fish and meat. Do not forget about dairy products.

    Number of feedings per day:

    • in the 1st week - up to 8 times;
    • in the 2nd - 6 times;
    • in the 3rd - 4 times;
    • from 1 month - 2 times.

    A couple of weeks before slaughter, all additives and gravel should be excluded from the diet.

    When fattening broilers, it should be taken into account that the bird grows faster in the first month if dry food rich in protein is fed.

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