This time of year, most feed stores have started putting in their hatchery orders for chicks and will soon begin preparations for related events and promotions at their locations. Are you ready?
Chicks have very special feed requirements unique from all other stages due to their need for higher protein levels and finer grain sizes. Our Naturally Free Organic Starter is the only poultry feed we carry that is milled down from the whole grain size as chicks are unable to easily eat and digest the larger grains.
Just like with adult birds, chicks need access to grit to help the gizzard provide optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients. One big difference when using grit for chicks is that they can easily confuse grit for food – thus the recommendation to sprinkle grit on top of their feed 4-5 times per week, rather than providing it ‘free choice’ as would be done for adult birds. Make sure to always provide the appropriate sized grit for the age of the bird. Our grit options include Cluckin’ Good Chick, Grower, or Layer Grit.
Unlike many starter feeds, our Naturally Free Organic Starter is not medicated to treat for Cocci using Amprolium. Cocci – the protozoan that causes Coccidiosis – are found virtually everywhere and routine exposure to normal levels of Cocci triggers the immune system to develop a natural resistance. Chicks in small flocks need exposure to develop a healthy immune system, thus we strongly oppose routinely feeding these additives “just in case”. The best way to avoid Coccidiosis is prevention through proper management of the birds’ environment by always providing fresh water and feed, along with keeping the coop clean and dry. All of our feeds also contain probiotics to help bolster chicks’ natural defenses. An additional way to support your flock’s health is to add 1-2 tablespoons of raw, organic apple cider vinegar per gallon of fresh water as it aids in digestion and keeps the water clean of harmful bacteria. Just make sure you do not add apple cider vinegar (ACV) to galvanized metal containers as the chemical reaction can poison your chickens!
When feeding Naturally Free Organic Starter, we estimate about 6 pounds per bird for the first 8 weeks prior to switching to Naturally Free Organic Grower for layer breeds. Broiler breeds (meat birds) will only need to use Starter for the first 4 weeks, with an estimate of 8 pounds per bird, before switching to the Organic Broiler with Corn until ready for processing.
Download helpful guides, including our Chicken and Duck Feeding Guides and our Supply Chicklist.
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