Treats like mealworms, grasshoppers, pumpkins, alfalfa, and corn count among some of the most popular treats baby chicks enjoy. These treats can be a vital source of proteins, minerals, and vitamins required to keep your chicks adequately nourished and mentally stimulated. However, these treats must be fed in moderation, as they shouldn’t make more than 5% of your baby chick’s daily food intake.
What specific nourishment does your chick gain from such treats? What quantity of such treats should your baby chicks eat? And how do you procure these treats, so they are in their healthiest form for your chick’s ingestion? These are some of the exciting questions we would answer in this article.
Baby chicks’ love for mealworms is officially the world’s worst kept secret. Chicks enjoy the deliciousness of these worms, and yes, they love them wriggling (especially if they are live worms).
The appropriateness of mealworm as a favorite baby chick treat exceeds its yumminess. Mealworms are a reliable source of proteins for these chicks. Nutritionally, mealworms contain no less than 20% protein.
Mealworms also benefit your chicks in moments of elevated stress. This can be either when a predator attempts to prey on them or when they experience a juvenile molt.
As we earlier established, treats must be fed modestly to baby chicks, and mealworms are no exception. A ration of one teaspoon in 7 days is good enough.
Just like mealworms, baby chicks savor earthworms. These worms pack plenty of nutrients spanning healthy fats, minerals, and proteins. Research has shown that earthworm’s amino acid composition fits into the dietary protein requirement of chickens.
Naturally, mother hens will teach the young chicks how to dig in and extract these earthworms. But of course, you can breed such earthworms strictly for your chicks’ consumption.
It would help if you had a befitting condition to breed them, particularly in an environment that is not extensively and sustainably exposed to freezing winter conditions.
Moderation is once again key when feeding your baby chicks. The chick’s age would determine how many earthworms they could be fed. Typically, a 1-week chick shouldn’t be fed more than one earthworm in 7 days. 2-weeks chick could take two, with such proportional graduation (in the age of the chick and the number of earthworms).
Baby chicks love crickets, and such affection is justified. Crickets are a fantastic envelope of proteins, explicitly loaded with each of the 9 essential amino acids (like isoleucine, lysine, and phenylalanine).
The nutritional value of crickets for chickens is not exclusive to proteins. Crickets also contain minerals and vitamins beneficial to your chicks’ health.
Diving further into specifics, crickets are rich in B-vitamins, especially the B12 variant. For minerals, crickets present five times the quantity of magnesium beef presents.
Aside from moderately feeding your baby chicks with crickets, dishing them wild crickets is not advisable. This is considering the possibility of such wild crickets containing substantial amounts of herbicides, pesticides, and other potentially harmful chemicals. If you can harvest the crickets yourself, then procure those exclusively bred for chicken consumption.
Tell you what, they are few things chick love more than grasshoppers. Just like spiders and ticks, grasshoppers are earnestly hunted by chicks and mother hens alike.
These grasshoppers are rich in protein. Also, these grasshoppers furnish your chicks with badly-needed antioxidants that fight off disease.
Interestingly, studies have shown that these hoppers are packed with manganese. Such mineral is crucial in facilitating bone development in your chicks and preventing Psoriasis (a condition typified by abnormal hock enlargement and slipped tendons in poultry).
As typical of succulent greens, chicks fancy chicory. Research strongly purports chicory playing a key role in the gastrointestinal health of chickens.
Chicory possesses antimicrobial properties which keep off pathogenic microorganisms, ensuring your baby chick’s health.
You can hand-feed such chicory to your chick or grow them in a vegetable garden. Should your chicks be matured enough to graze, you can strategically plant such chicory in their zones for ready access.
However, your chicory must mature before your chicks start feeding on it. This way, the nutritional components are more pronounced or developed. Should you feed your chicks chicory, these roots shouldn’t make more than 5% of your chicken’s daily food intake.
If baby chicks could speak, yummy is the adjective they would classify alfalfa with. Alfalfa can be fed to your baby chick either in the form of hay or sprouts.
Alfalfa hay has amplified protein composition, with essential amino acids accounting for about 18% of such alfalfa’s nutritional composition.
Cow hay retains the highest protein content. After the first and second cutting, the protein composition of alfalfa hays understandably reduces.
Aside from alfalfa hay, baby chicks also enjoy alfalfa sprouts. Alfalfa sprouts are not an uncommon sight in pet or grocery stores.
However, when compared to alfalfa hay, there is less protein content for your baby chick to derive. Typically, the protein composition of such alfalfa sprouts ranges between 3-4%.
Oh, you thought you were the only one who loves eggs? Come on, your baby chicks do too, and they really want to be treated to them. Amusingly, they appear not to care that they hatched from such eggs too.
You can feed your baby chicks eggs either in scrambled form or simply as boiled eggs. Scrambled eggs are healthy treats for your baby chicks so long you don’t use excessive quantities of cooking or seasoning oil to prepare them. Such oils don’t usually work well with growing chicks.
In boiled form, digestibility is easier for your chicks. Of course, treating your baby chicks to boiled eggs is no rocket science. Simply ensure you mash it adequately. This involves mixing the white part with the yolk.
Baby chicks are huge fans of lettuces. You can simply chop up your lettuce and throw it at your chicks. Watch how they excitedly flock around it.
Lettuces are amazing sources of fiber, vitamins (like vitamin A, C, E, and K), and minerals (like phosphorus and calcium). These are nutrients your baby chicks desperately need.
Lettuce helps your chicks develop healthy bones. Antioxidants like Vitamin A and C are superb at detoxing your baby chicks. What more, lettuces’ significant water content is a great way to keep your budding chicks hydrated.
Pumpkin is another treat your baby chicks don’t want you missing from their diet. Yes, they love to peck at the seeds.
Pumpkins are no less nourishing to chickens than they are to us. The seeds contained in these fruits are highly beneficial in deworming. This can be attributed to the presence of a cucurbitacin compound. This chemical has proven useful in ridding tapeworms.
No doubt, your baby chicks will have a hard time cutting inside the pumpkin. Therefore, why don’t you make life easier for these babies by breaking it open for them?
Hitting it with a hard material like a mallet should get the smashing job done. Aside from the skin, expect your chicks to feast on the seed merrily.
One pumpkin fruit is good enough for your chicks in a week.
Cucumbers are great treats for your chicks. The nutritional value of such cucumber for baby chicks is even more endearing.
Given that cucumber richly contains water, you can be sure of your chicks being adequately hydrated when they feed on this fruit. Such hydration is also cooling.
Cucumbers are also rich in Vitamin A, B, and C. This fruit is packed with vital antioxidants which benefit your chicken. Furthermore, the skin of this fruit is not only rich in fiber, but contains significant amounts of magnesium, potassium, and molybdenum.
When feeding chicks cucumbers, ensure to cut it open so your chicks can readily access the flesh. Cucumber should never make more than 10% of your chick’s daily food intake.
Zucchini is another lovable treat that rightly deserves its place on its list. Just like cucumber, zucchini is lavishly composed of fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
The fiber contained in zucchini is critical in enhancing digestion in chicks. The vitamins and antioxidants contained in zucchini can be immense in ramping up your chick’s immunity.
Zucchini also improves circulatory processes in your chick, with its significant water content playing critical hydration roles.
It goes without saying that baby chicks are enamored with fodder. Well, fodders are not more than sprouted seeds fed to your chicks.
Varying with the kind of grain used in producing the fodder, they can enormously supplement your chick’s protein intake.
The way you prepare and dish your chicks the fodder matters too. Essentially, mold spots should be eliminated from these fodders.
Also, when feeding them to your baby chicks, the root mat should be extensively broken up. If they are not sufficiently pieced, your chicks will end up ignoring them (especially the younger ones).
Given the high moisture content of fodder, it is advisable to serve them to your chicks in bowls to avoid messing up the place.
It is no revelation that chicks love corn. From time immemorial, there has been this ancestral bond between fowls and corns.
Baby chicks find corn delicious. But there is a facet that even exceeds its yumminess: its nutritional value. Corn – especially sweetcorn (as corn on cobs could be too hard for such younglings)– contains appreciable amounts of antioxidants.
This is a big boost to your chick’s resilience against diseases (courtesy of such antioxidants’ detoxification capacity).
There are other corn variants like canned sweetcorn and defrosted frozen sweetcorn. In all, ensure the sweetcorn you feed your chicken is free of artificial sweeteners, sugar, or salt.
Oatmeal rocks as treats for baby chicks. Studies have shown that baby chicks who were fed oats became healthier than their counterparts whose meals were rid of oats.
Yes, oatmeal is tremendously rich in Vitamin B. This contains the likes of choline, niacin, thiamine, and calcium. The latter is helpful to bone formation in your baby chick.
The way you feed your baby chick the oats matters too. DON’T feed your chicks ground raw oats.