Feeding Chicks - Youg Poultry
By Scott Shilala
How'd you get your chicks?
If you hatched your own, just give them Medicated Chick Starter Crumbles, sprinkled about on the brooder floor for the first couple days, then in a feeder. Non-medicated starter is probably a better idea, it's a matter of choice, and availability.
Give them all they can eat, and keep fresh water in carefully cleaned waterers at all times. Now that's easy! For a quick "pick me up", crumbled hard boiled egg yolk is excellent for them.A tiny sprinkle of probiotics in their feed is always beneficial. A sprinkle of freeze-dried kelp can also be an excellent edge to a good start.
Got them by mail?
Chicks arriving by mail have been stressed pretty heavily. Give them feed and water as if you hatched them yourself, and watch them closely. If they take to the feed and water quickly, you may not want to bother with anything else. They should be fine.If they do not take to the food and water, you can help them along by dipping their beaks. You can also peck at the feed with your finger, it stimulates them to eat.
If they are still not responding, put marbles in the waterers. Show them how to peck, and keep their attention. Once you get a couple chicks to eat and drink, the others will quickly follow. You may want to add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to each quart of their water. Electrolytes will also help get them back on track. We are very proactive when it comes to shipped chicks. We take great care in offering everything we can to get them over the stress of shipping. Because of all the extras, we've never lost a chick that has been shipped to us, and have brought many back that were in really rough shape.
If problems persist with feeding, or you want to give them a quick pick-me-up, you can feed them some mashed hard boiled egg yolk in addition to the crumbles and supplements.
Are supplements or medications necessary?Necessary? Maybe not. Beneficial? Absolutely.
Medicated Chick Starter has a mild Coccidistat (usually Amprolium), and that's all. It supplies complete nutrition for growing chicks. Antibiotics, Probiotics, kelp, super-grow supplements and the like are just not absolutely necessary. Some things are very beneficial. It is easy to over-use medications and supplements, and it is likely that you will do more harm than good. Read instructions carefully and follow them to a "T". Ask someone "what they think" who has lots of experience with the supplement or medicine you are about to use.
We never use any medications, wormers, or anything else as a preventative measure. We use them when it's beneficial to our bird's health. We don't consider it a good practice to give our animals anything unless it is totally necessary, then it is important to do things "by the book".
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