Answers To Every Question You Ever Had About Baby Chicks

Answers To Every Question You Ever Had About Baby Chicks

If you just got chicks for the first time, you probably have a million questions. Last year, I did a free YouTube series that answered the most common questions I get about raising baby chicks. Below, I’ve compiled all those videos into a single easy-to-use resource!

This page is easy to use. Just use the table of contents to scroll to the best spot, and watch the video that answers your specific question!

If you have a question that hasn’t been answered yet, please reach out to us at [email protected] and I’ll make a video especially for you!

Feeding Baby Chicks

Can My Chicks Eat…..

Giving Water To Chicks

Nutritional Supplements For Chicks

Brooders & Keeping Chicks Warm

Common Health Questions

When Can Chicks Go Outside With Adult Hens?

Are My Chicks Male Or Female?

How To Raise People-Friendly Chickens

Protecting Chickens From Predators

When Do Chicks Start Laying Eggs?

Where To Buy Baby Chicks


Chicken Feed 101 For New Owners

Chicken Feed 101 For New Owners

Healthy hens and roosters don’t come in baskets from storks. It takes the right kind of chicken feed to turn them into active clucking fluffy butts in your coop.


What is chicken feed called?

There are several types of chicken feeds. Starter feed is a protein dense variety of chicken feed designed to meet the dietary requirements of baby chicks. To complicate matters, there are varieties of chicken food known as starter/grower feed, which is essentially a type of feed that chickens can eat from 1-20 weeks of age.


Generally, chickens are to be fed depending on their growth development stage. 


For baby chicks a day old to 10 weeks starter feed should be crumbles or mash that contain 18% protein. Don’t be confused with crumbles and mash. Crumbles look like tiny pieces of granola while mash are finely ground chicken feed pellets. Both are easier to be consumed by chicks compared to huge pellets.


Eventually, they’ll start laying. Chicken layer feed would be similar to the textured mixture of crumbles, mash, and pellets. However, It needs at least 16% protein minimum, with added calcium. Layers need high protein chicken feed as well for more eggs. You also need to stay away from feeding onions, and other strong tasting foods to layers. They cause and undesirable taste to the eggs.


What do you feed chickens for tasting the best eggs?

We try different types of chicken feeds, but we feed them high quality layer feed and supplement it with our very own blend of natural herbs, oyster shells, garlic for immune boosting, and apple cider vinegar granules to balance gut pH and introduce beneficial bacteria. You can check it out here.


What do you feed a chicken?

The basis of any good chicken diet is a high quality poultry feed. We feed our girls a layer mash, which provides them with the right amount of protein and minerals to keep them laying eggs! In short, you can feed chickens:

  1. Layer pellets (16% protein)
  2. Dried insects like black soldier fly larvae or mealworms
  3. Vegetables (here’s a list of vegetables you can feed chickens)
  4. Fruits such as grapes, berries, and melons
  5. Grasses
  6. Seeds like wheat or millet


What is the best feed for chickens?

The best feed is high in protein, while providing all the nutrients chickens need. While there are a lot of commercial chicken feeds on the market, I still prefer non-GMO chicken feed. We’re proud to have the best chicken feed that can even give chickens fluffy feathers and produce the best eggs! Click here to know where to get chicken feed.


If you want to make your own homemade feed, just make sure it has essential chicken feed ingredients. You can read my favorite chicken feed recipe here.


How much do you feed a chicken per day?

A well known ballpark figure for estimating purpose is 1/4 pound of feed per chicken per day, or, 1.5 pounds of feed per chicken per week. Keep in mind that this is a ballpark figure, and you’ll need to watch your flock’s intake. If they gobble their feed quickly, and still seem hungry, offer more.


Do free range chickens need feed?

Yes. Even though they have access to pasture, you still need to give them poultry chicken feed to make sure they’re getting the right kind and enough nutrition.


Do chickens need food and water at night?

Chickens roost and sleep at night, and they won’t get up to eat and drink until it’s light again. However, you should always provide 24 hour access to water. Here’s a list of waterers we recommend.


How often should chickens be fed?

How often do you feed chickens is a very common question in growing backyard chickens. Food must be available to chickens whenever they need it. The full feeding method is a good technique to guarantee that there is constant supply of feed at all times. You can also use automatic feeders like these. We’ve also reviewed Duncan Feeder’s automatic feeders here.


How much food does a chicken need per day?

¼ cup of a high quality chicken feed. Best to offer free choice all day.


Can you overfeed chickens?

Everything must be taken in moderation. Overfeeding chicken is possible and they become obese especially if they’re confined to the coop. Free range hens however get enough exercise and are unlikely to be obese.


Do free range chickens need scratch? 

No. They don’t. Unless it’s winter and the ground is covered in snow.


Then there’s also grit. Grit is not feed, it’s rocks. Chickens need grit to help digest their feed. It’s their equivalent to teeth. Free fed chicken will find their way to grit in the form of tiny bits of stone and gravel but it would be helpful if you threw some in the coop or their feed too. 


Grit comes as flint and oyster shell. Oyster shell is soluble and it provides calcium which would be much used by layers in particular. It’s just like feeding chickens with eggshells.


What should you not feed chickens? What foods are poisonous to chickens?

While looking for alternative chicken feed, you might have considered beans. Although they look like something chickens would eat, dried and raw beans are a no-no. It contains phytohaemagglutinin which is fatal to chickens. Moldy fruits and vegetables aren’t good as Fowl feed too.


Caffeine is also toxic to chickens. Giving them a few pecks of chocolates would not cause too much harm but remember, chocolates are known to cause cardiac arrest in birds!


Other foods that are not good for chicken are:

  1. Processed food
  2. Raw potato peels and green potatoes
  3. Avocado skin and pit
  4. Raw meat
  5. Greasy food


You can see a list of what not to feed chickens here.


What scraps can chickens eat?

Some table scraps that are safe for chicken to consume are:


  1. Vegetables (cooked or raw)
  2. Fruits (leave the seeds out)
  3. Grain
  4. Oatmeal
  5. Corn (cooked, raw, and dried)
  6. Peas
  7. Bread
  8. Yogurt


Again, make sure that these foods are not moldy or spoiled. You might have also heard of feeding chicken expired yogurt. It’s not something to be frowned on. Feeding chicken yogurt helps even out chicken gut bacteria for a better digestion. You can also add a few tablespoons of yogurt when fermenting chicken feed.


Where can I buy chicken feed?

You can find chicken feed for sale at local farm stores. You can also find them on Amazon here.


How can I feed my chickens cheap?

To reduce chicken feed bill, free ranging would be a good idea. A garden can provide additional and natural feed for your chicken who sometimes don’t stop eating. Another option is to make your own chicken feed. Learn how to make chicken feed and check out my chicken feed recipe here.


What can I grow to feed chickens? 

Growing chicken feed is not complicated at all. Remember what was in grandma’s garden and sow them! Chickens can eat vegetables like corn, lettuce, kale, and any other leafy vegetable you usually grow. Sunflower and Millet are great seed producing plants too! These make great grower feed for chickens and organic chicken feed too.

Are Crumbles Or Mash Better For Chicks?

Are Crumbles Or Mash Better For Chicks?

Main Takeaways & Extra Info:

  • Crumbles and mash are just different ways to feed starter to chicks. One isn’t necessarily better than the other.
  • It’s important that whichever you feed, the chick starter has at least 18% protein.
  • I feed a mash because I want to make sure my chicks can eat it (particle sizes are small enough)
  • Grinding the food into a mash might preserve some of the nutrients better.
  • Crumbles have gone through an extra step of grinding, and then heating and compressing the ingredients, so some nutrients might be lost. (You can always ask the manufacturer about this)
  • Our chick starter has not been heated – just ground so baby chicks can eat it. (View our chick starter here)
  • With any chick feed be careful about getting it wet and leaving it to mold. Always change the feed out daily!


Additional reading:

What do chickens eat

High protein treats for chickens

Watch all the Baby Chick Series Videos here

Do Chicks Need Poultry Grit?

Do Chicks Need Poultry Grit?

“We all know that poultry grit is just another product that farm supply stores want to sell us, right?” “It’s not very important either to our chickens or our baby chicks, is it?” These are two very good questions, and I’ve got to share that in my experience, grit is VERY important.

Today, we’ll explore the idea of grit, and I will answer the question “Is chicken grit really necessary?”

What is Poultry Grit?

Grit is small stones (yes, rocks) that help a chicken digest their food. Chickens will naturally pick up rocks, since it’s an instinctual behavior. But if your chickens don’t free range, or if you just want to make sure they’re as healthy as possible, poultry grit is pretty important. 

It’s different from oyster shells, which are from oysters (the same animal that makes pearls). Oyster shells will dissolve in your chickens digestive system, and are an important source of calcium. 

Grit, however, will not dissolve. While oyster shells can help chickens grind down their food, they’re not as effective as grit.

Chicken Grit: Necessary or Not? 

People aren’t sure to give grit to their chicks or whether the chicks actually need it, but chickens need grit to digest their food, and there’s really no reason to not offer it.  

What Exactly Is Chick Grit?

Chick grit is the same stuff that you give adult chickens, but it’s smaller, finer, and easier for chicks to pick up with their tiny beak. It looks like tiny flakes of rocks. There’s really no health reason to not give it to them. If you want peace of mind, make chick grit available, you can. 

If you buy them at your local farm store, double check the label, and make sure the poultry grit is specifically for chicks. Certainly, if you let your chicks free range outside, you definitely want to provide it because if they pick up seeds, bugs, grains, or whatever, they can digest it better than they would without the grit. Remember your flock’s digestive systems are new, so any food your chicks pick up if they play outside will be harder for them to digest.

Similarly, if you’re giving your chicks extra treats like vegetables, leafy greens, herbs, black soldier fly larvae, mealworms, or shrimp, all of which I give to my chicks because they love them, you should also give them chick grit. This helps ensure they can digest them properly. 

If your chicks are just going to be in a brooder and the only thing you’re going to give them is chick starter, the chick grit isn’t 100% necessary because commercial chicks starters are formulated to be easily digestible. However, it’s still not a bad idea to give them the extra grit just for precaution’s sake. 

In the wild, the chicks will go out and get the grit themselves, their mother will teach them to pick up little stones and they’ll naturally gravitate towards picking up these little stones. But in a domesticated setting like us raising chickens, it’s always a good idea just to have the chick grit available. 

How to Feed Poultry Grit To Chicks

There’s two ways to feed poultry grit to chicks. You can mix it with their feed, or offer it in a bowl separately. Both have their advantages. Mixing it with the feed means the chicks automatically will think it’s food and eat it. It’s also convenient and you don’t need to think about it. 

However, you might want to offer the grit separately to make sure your chicks eat enough real food AND to monitor their feed and grit intake. Both options are perfectly fine, and it’s up to you and what’s best for your situation.

Got questions about poultry grit? Got comments? Got suggestions? Leave a comment below.  Want to know more about grit, and your choices? Read my recent article about poultry grit here.

How To Care For Your Baby Chicks Weeks 7-16 [Podcast]

How To Care For Your Baby Chicks Weeks 7-16 [Podcast]

Last week we tackled your backyard chicken’s first 6 weeks, and in this episode we take on weeks 7-16!


(Want to listen to last week’s episode first? Click here!)


Weeks 7-16 are a little bit different then weeks 1-6 (especially weeks 11-16!) so we break down how you should care for your chicks each week so they grow into healthy layers.


You’ll learn:

  • What to feed,
  • How to introduce your chicks to your existing flock
  • How to keep them safe outside (in and out of the coop)
  • And more!



Links we discuss:

Manna Pro

Chickens: Naturally Raising The Sustainable Flock

Have a hen that loves herbs?(Who doesn’t?!)

nesting box herbs

Yes, my hens love herbs!


I’d like to hear from you!

Are you getting baby chicks this spring? What breeds? Leave a comment below!