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Old 03/28/11, 02:22 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: ohio
Posts: 312
Do you make your own chick feed?

Last week Dh bought home 6 Buff Orpington chicks from Tractor Supply. He bought home their unmedicated chick starter. I have no information, because there is no lists of ingredients on the bag.

How are you to know what you are feeding? So, I decided to make my own. I put oatmeal, frozen peas, frozen corn, some lettuce seedlings(romaine, little tom), too cold to plant out yet. Some other herb odds and ends that are getting leggy. along with milk powder. I whirled it for a few seconds in the food processor. I sprinkled it in with the store feed.

What do you do if you want to know what they are feeding your chicks in those chick starter bags? Why don't they list exactly whats in them?
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Old 03/28/11, 02:35 PM
Wisconsin Ann's Avatar
Happy Scrounger
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: South Central Wisconsin
Posts: 13,635
There should be a label either ON the bag, or attached to it, that gives the protein level, and the ingredients. By law I think there has to be's possible that it was ripped off the bag, tho. (sometimes it will say "meat products" or "plant protein" as a catchall for whatever they use that batch....some ingredients are hard to get month after month in all areas)

The chick starter has minerals and salts in it that the chick needs to grow well. There is a product called "poultry nutrients" that a farm store can usually order for you if you really want to mix your own.

from what you listed, you gave them maybe 10% protein, which is WAY to low. Although the milk powder, depending on how much and what type, would raise that. chicks like to have as much protein as practical....18%being the norm for a "chick starter". Some of us use 21% protein, or higher.

Birds out on their own foraging will eat a lot of insects, worms, etc. to get the protein. Also weeds like plantain, dandelions, etc., as well as whatever seeds drop to the ground. is an excellent place to start if you're interested in what is fed to chickens, protein levels, and "the ideal feed".

eta: every animal needs salt to live. if you continue to mix your own feed, and don't get a poultry nutrient, you might want to add something like VitAl or Poultry electrolytes to their water.
"A good photograph is knowing where to stand. - Ansel Adams
(and a lot of luck - Wisconsin Ann)
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Last edited by Wisconsin Ann; 03/28/11 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 03/28/11, 02:50 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Illinois
Posts: 8,298
If you're not experienced in making animal feed you'll likely lose these chicks. Chick starter is different from regular feed. Have you researched the nutritional needs of chicks/chickens? It sounds like these are your first chickens. I'd really recommend raising these chickens on feed. Chicks die easily enough when on feed.
Moms don't look at things like normal people.
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Old 03/28/11, 04:45 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Central Oregon
Posts: 6,327
Don't feed seeds that were sold to you as seeds to be planted. They are sometimes treated with insecticide or fungicides, or coated with inoculates.

Until you get your degree in nutrition, feed the commercial chick starters.
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Old 03/28/11, 05:25 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: ohio
Posts: 312
Thank you for your responses. I did find the label under the bag and there is a label ( silly me).

I will look up the above link on home-raised and formulated feeds however, the label had stuff in their that I couldn't pronounce.

I try avoid stuff like that in the supermarket for my family. I will continue to use the chick starter, but I hope to augment with some other organic stuff I feel better about. Plant by-products, processed grain by-products, pyndoxine hydrocloride, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, monocalcalcium phosphate, plus 22 other additions makes me uncomfortable.

I have had chickens before and feed them the traditional way no problem. They were healthy and fine. Since that time I had a dog sicken and die while useing a premium dog food (later recalled) that was made in China.

It then made me hyper aware of what might be in animal food. I will do more research. I love how much easier it is to open a bag, feed it and trust the companies. But, I am just afraid to.

Does anyone feed homemade chick starter with good results?
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Old 03/28/11, 08:31 PM
Cyngbaeld's Avatar
In Remembrance
Join Date: May 2004
Location: SE Missouri
Posts: 28,248
Do you have access to raw milk? How about meat scraps? People have raised chicks successfully for thousands of yrs before commercial feeds became available. I'm raising a batch on sour milk, cornmeal and oats plus whatever their mom finds for them. Trying to get away from commercial feed because my daughter is reacting badly to the eggs. I do have dairy goats so that helps. The chicks are all healthy and their mom and I haven't lost a one. She brings them to the front door 2 or 3 times a day for meals.
I believe in God's willingness to heal.

Cyngbaeld's Keep Heritage Farm, breeding a variety of historical birds and LaMancha goats. (It is pronounced King Bold.)
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