Four yellow, baby chicks

If you are new to hobby farming or raising backyard chickens, it is important to ask, “what do baby chicks eat?” You likely want to make sure you are feeding them the right balance so they get all their essential vitamins and minerals. 

Happy and healthy baby chicks grow to be thriving adult chickens. As adults, they become good egg layers, meat birds, or ideal birds to sell as you grow your hobby farm. It all starts with the right nutrition as young chicks.

New Heritage Farm Feed from New Heritage Feed Co. has a 20% organic chick starter/grower feed packed with the optimum nutrition for your baby chicks. Not only do we have nutritional animal food for chickens, but many farm animals, including goats and rabbits. But we understand that just like humans, animals sometimes need a variety! 

Are you excited to start raising baby chicks? 

In this article, we will answer the question, “what do baby chicks eat?” so you are prepared as you embark on your farm adventure. 

When to start feeding baby chicks

A yellow chick eating animal food.

Baby chicks are adaptable and appreciate a variety of food. There are many options, including chick starter feeds, table scraps, or making your own food. 

For the first 24 to 48 hours of their life, baby chicks live off their yolk sacs. If you hatched the babies in an incubator, they could stay inside for the first 24 hours. When you move them the next day, you should begin to feed your baby chicks.

If a hen is raising the baby chicks, then she will teach the chicks how to eat. Hens know and assist the chicks in learning how to pick the morsels ideal for their needs. It is part of the evolutionary process of chicken behavior. 

If you are just starting or there is no hen, you will have to teach them how to eat and drink. 

Start by providing room temperature water and dipping their beaks in the water once in their brooder. The chicks will learn not only how to drink but where they need to go to drink. 

Use the same technique as you introduce them to food.  

If they are not catching on, then continue the process. With multiple attempts, they will learn to eat and drink on their own. 

In terms of feeders, either an empty egg carton or appropriately sized trough feeders are ideal. For each bird, it is best to provide 4 inches of feeder space so they do not crowd together.

What do baby chicks eat?

Baby chicks eating feed

A chicken eats a variety, and baby chicks may do the same. However, what they want to eat and what they should eat may vary. 

Chick starter animal food can be a primary source of nutrition. A starter animal food such as New Heritage Feed Co.’s can give the proper nutritional balance for your baby chicks from the start. 

What is a starter feed? The food consists of crumbles of food and is sometimes fortified with vitamins and minerals. New Heritage also adds essential oils to their blend, providing a unique benefit for baby chicks. 

It is best to give a high protein starter feed, 10-20%, because baby chicks need it to grow. Some can also contain unnecessary medication, so be aware of choosing the right blend for your animals. 

Organic or natural animal food can boost the chick’s immune system naturally, without added medication. 

What if I want to make my own chick animal food?

A mama hen and baby chicks eating homemade animal food

You can certainly opt to make healthy, homemade food for your baby chicks. An organic, homemade animal food can be perfect for baby chicks so long as it balances out their nutritional needs. 

The first week you can give them bread soaked in milk with boiled eggs. Choose whole-grain bread for the best nutrition. The eggs provide the protein and vitamins chicks need that first week of life. 

After week one that baby chicks can eat more greens which can include: 

  • Spinach
  • Alfalfa
  • Clover
  • Cabbage

A little meat can slowly be added at one ounce, per week, per 10 chicks. Whole grain bread can continue, and you might also want to add other grains, including barley or oats. You can also give a bit of dairy in the form of milk.

Your homemade animal food should include grit as it’s essential for grinding food. Sand works well for baby chicks. The baby chicks can also explore foraging at 3-4 weeks but supervise to make sure they eat grass and stay where they belong. 

How to make sure chicks eat properly

Regardless of what you feed baby chicks, make sure you keep the area clean and change the food and water daily. If using a brooder, keep food and water at the chicks’ level, so all have access. Clear out any wet wood shavings so moisture is not trapped as it can harbor bacteria

As they grow and mature, their food may evolve with their growth. A starter feed may no longer be appropriate, and you might consider a layer feed if you are raising the chicks to lay eggs of their own. The layer feed will provide proper calcium proportions as they transition to lay eggs. 

Where do I go for the best chicken starter and layer feed?

A person holding and hand-feeding their red hen chicken feed

Now that we have answered the question, “what do baby chicks eat” we can describe why New Heritage  Feed Co. is the right choice for your chicks. 

New Heritage Feed Co. only provides naturally produced chicken food powered with essential oils to give your birds precisely the right balance. 

We care about the farming community- you are our partners in the industry. That is why we work to bring you the best to raise your animals the natural way. 

Our animal food never contains unnecessary medication because we believe in boosting their natural immunity through nutrition. We never use chemicals or antibiotics, so you can be at ease knowing what you are feeding your animals. 

Join us as we do our part to raise animals that are happy, healthy, and natural- from day one and beyond!