Feeding Newly Hatched Chickens

Technically, baby chicks don’t need anything to eat or drink for about 48 hours after they’ve hatched. That’s because they are sustained by the yolk of the egg, which they absorb into their body just before they break through the shell.

As they get bigger your chicks can start eating greens like alfalfa, clover, spinach, lettuce, or cabbage. They love meat scraps, but they don’t need much. An ounce of meat a week per 10 chicks is enough. Start adding grains like whole wheat, barley, millet, or oats to their feed.

In the wild, baby chicks eat bugs, greens, and even small worms. As they grow and become stronger, they become more able to find things like frogs and even small mice. It’s true, chickens are omnivores.

Laying breeds will eat about 1 pound of feed per chick each week. That means for baby chicks, you need about 6 pounds of feed per chick to reach the point where they switch to a grower/developer feed at around 6 weeks of age.

Everyone who is raising baby chickens should have a product such as Save-A-Chick powder or Poultry Nutri-Drench in their toolbox. Both products contain a chick-safe version of vitamin B, a very important vitamin for babies who are losing vigor or under stress.