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Food for Chicks

Food for Chicks

Food for Chicks

Perhaps it goes without saying that you will need to feed your chicks, but what may not be immediately obvious is that you will not be able to use the same feeders or feed as you do for mature chickens. Just like human babies, baby chickens need specially formulated food and feeders designed for their small bodies.

If you plan to raise your flock organically, then your decision is made for you. Stick with organic feed from the start, and you will know your eggs or meat will be organic too.

The decision between traditional starter and medicated starter depends on how susceptible your flock is to disease and if you had your chicks immunized. If your chicks were given an immunization for coccidiosis by the breeder, do not give them medicated starter. Giving an immunized chick medicated starter risks neutralizing their vaccine.

If your chicks were not immunized by the breeder, then your decision to get medicated or traditional starter comes down to how susceptible your chicks are to disease.

If you decide to use organic or traditional non-medicated starter there are several actions you can take to minimize the risk of them getting sick, including:

  • Keep your brooder clean
  • Keep your litter clean and dry
  • Refresh water supplies regularly and sanitize your chick waterer daily
  • Prevent chicks from getting excrement into water and food supplies
  • Keep chicks out of warm humid weather (e.g., target spring hatches)

You will need a total of about 10 lbs of starter per chick, for the first 10 weeks of their life. Obviously, you don’t need to buy all of this starter at once, but make sure you don’t run out!


Purchasing your chick starter is critical, but don’t forget you need a way to present the feed to your new birds. Initially, you should simply sprinkle the starter feed on a paper towel or paper plate. You can graduate within a couple days to a plastic coffee can lid or paper shoe box cover.

The bottom line is that after a couple days, your chicks will begin to scratch feed out of simple feeders like those mentioned above. Once this scratching begins, you know it is time to move into a more traditional chick feeder.

Chick feeders are designed to:

  • Reduce contamination from fecal matter
  • Allow easy cleaning and sanitation
  • Limit spills

Regardless of whether you purchase a round jar feeder or a trough, you will need one feed opening per chick. So, if your feeder has eight slots, it is large enough for up to eight chicks.

You will want to clean your feeders thoroughly at least once a week, and try to avoid letting them be empty for extended amounts of time because lack of food will encourage bad behaviors like picking.

The following table highlights various chick feeder products that we carry:

Chick Feeders One colorful and inexpensive option is to purchase a Quart Screw on Jar and accessorize it with your choice of base.
  Quart Scren On Jar 1 quart plastic jar screws easily into feed or water bases.
Price: $1.95
  Purple Chick Feeder Base This purple feeder base easily screws on to 1 Quart Jar.
Price: $4.95
  Red Chick Feeder Base This red feeder base easily screws on to 1 Quart Jar.
Price: $4.95
  Green Chick Feeder Base This green feeder base easily screws on to 1 Quart Jar.
Price: $4.95
  Yellow Chick Feeder Base This yellow feeder base easily screws on to 1 Quart Jar.
Price: $4.95
Chick Feeders When selecting a chick feeder, make sure you understand if it can be used for feed only or if it also works with water.
  64 oz chick feeder This cute 64 oz. can be set up to hold either feed or water.
Price: $9.95
  18 inch chick feeder This 18" red plastic slide top holds both feed and water.
Price: $4.95
  20 inch chick feeder This 20" red flip top feeder feeds up to 24 hungry chicks.
Price: $4.95
  12 inch chick feeder This 12" galvanized steel slide top feeder is great for up to 12 chicks.
Price: $3.95
  18 inch chick feeder This 18" galvanized slide top feeder is great for up to 20 chicks
Price: $4.95

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