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Raising baby chicks will be one of the most enjoyable things for any backyard chicken keeper. Seeing the small babies hatch and watching them grow while taking good care of them is a very rewarding process. Baby chickens can be very fragile at the beginning so it is important to take good care of them so that they can become healthy and mature chickens. One of the key areas of raising chicks is to know what they should eat and what they shouldn’t. So then, can baby chicks eat bread?
Baby chickens need a diet that is high in protein so that they can grow properly. Bread is very low in nutrition so it will not offer the chicks enough to see them grow healthy. Therefore bread should not be fed to baby chicks. You should wait until they are more mature before feeding them bread.
Let’s take a look deeper at this question and find out when chicks can eat bread and indeed what is best for their diet.
Can Baby Chicks Eat Bread
In nature most baby birds will be fed by their mothers and the majority of that diet will be protein. Mother birds catch small insects and worms that they feed to their young. Chickens are no different, baby chicks need that high protein diet otherwise they will not be able to develop the way they should.
Baby chickens that are fed bread from too young will have serious problems. They will not have access to the necessary nutrition to develop healthily and it will most definitely lead to developmental defects such as an inability to walk, fly or produce healthy eggs.
Especially in the earlier stages of development chickens should not be fed bread or any other table scraps that are low in nutritional value. A bit later on when the chickens are more matured they will be fine with bread and table scraps in their diet because they have already developed enough. Below we will look at when can baby chickens eat bread and other table scraps.
There are a few things not advisable for chicks or chickens to eat, in the article can chickens eat onions I touch on a few other foods chickens cant eat.
When Can Baby Chickens Eat Bread?
There are different opinions out there on when you can start feeding bread to baby chickens. The key point to remember is that you want the chicks to complete most of their development before introducing food sources that are low in nutrition like bread and other food scraps.
We would recommend keeping a good diet until 3 to 4 months old and only after that bread can be introduced in small amounts.
At most agricultural shops you can find a starter mix that is specially produced to feed newly hatched and young chickens. Most of these starter mixes indicate that they are for chicks under 8 weeks old.
There are also more and more commercial chicken food producers that offer starter mixes for chickens until they start laying eggs at around 4 months. It should be noted that these are commercial standards and that they aim at maximum productivity on large-scale operations.
Small-scale backyard chickens would be a bit different. You want to make sure that your backyard chickens are as healthy as possible so keeping them on a more natural diet for as long as possible would be the best advice we can give.
What To Feed A Baby Chick
As mentioned above it is very important for baby chicks to get a healthy protein high diet so that they can develop into strong and healthy chickens. This balanced diet can be found in commercial starter mixes or it can be made at home. Making it at home means you have more control over what exactly goes into the feed as well as the quality of the ingredients that go into the feed.
If you want more information on how much chicks should eat, I talked about it in how many times a day should I feed my chickens, Check it out for more information.
As with anything it is important to think about what baby chicks would be eating in nature, this will be what they have evolved to eat and this will be the best for them. After chicks are hatched they can not find their own food, they are dependent on their mother to feed them until they are old enough to find their own food. What mother chickens will feed their young would mostly be worms, crickets, and other insects that they can catch on the ground. These are all high in protein.
From this, we can assume that the best thing to feed baby chicks is worms, crickets and other small insects. We can later mix in some whole grains like oats or barley. We can also introduce some more fresh ingredients like fruits but only at a later stage as the chicks mature.
To sum up, Can Baby Chicks Eat Bread? Chicklings and baby chicks won’t get the necessary goodness from bread as it lacks vital nutrition for chicks to grow. Therefore it’s not advisable for them to eat. Chicklings and chicks need protein to help them grow, bread lacks protein.
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