How soon can chicks eat mixed corn and dust bathe?

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elmdene
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How soon can chicks eat mixed corn and dust bathe?

Post by elmdene » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:45 am

I'm never quite sure at what age you should feed chicks mixed corn, as a treat in conjunction with chick crumbs of course? It looks quite hard to digest to me but I'm sure the mother would love some and she will try to feed it to the chick (currently 4 days old). Also at what age should you put a dust bath in? My mother hen is very energetic - she almost knocks the little one over teaching her to dig, and I worry the chick will get covered in dust and get it in her eyes etc.
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chrismahon
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Re: How soon can chicks eat mixed corn and dust bathe?

Post by chrismahon » Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:09 pm

You can buy finely ground mixed corn for specifically chicks here Elmdene and the fine grit which they need to be able digest it. I suppose it would be suitable after 6 weeks, when they are going onto rearer pellets. You can buy fine grit for cage birds from a pet shop in England- I don't think the agricultural merchants stock it. We used to sieve out standard flint grit (no extra Calcium under 20 weeks) for our 6 week old chicks.

Not sure about dust bathing. Our last lot were flapping about in their wood shavings from about two weeks, but I would be worried about dust and grit in their eyes at a very young age as you are. We did have one chick had the side of her face ripped off by a clumsy mother. We were going to cull but realised that the chick wasn't in any apparent distress so didn't and in time the skin regrew completely and the only evidence was a few creased feathers on her head and a slightly mis-shapen ear.
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dinosaw
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Re: How soon can chicks eat mixed corn and dust bathe?

Post by dinosaw » Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:58 pm

They start dust bathing as early as two weeks, it's benefits outweigh and potential risks.. Dry earth is the best material and I've never had a single problem with a chick dust bathing with or without mother, if they weren't meant to start that young they wouldn't be pre-programmed to do so.
Not sure where you live Elmdene, but if it is the UK then I would lay off giving the chicks any corn for the next couple of months as it raises body temperature due to being harder to digest.
elmdene
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Re: How soon can chicks eat mixed corn and dust bathe?

Post by elmdene » Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:20 pm

Thanks for the advice. Yes I'm putting in a bit of chick grit (which I can buy locally) with the chick crumbs at the moment, but not entirely sure whether it's necessary yet, or whether the mother hen needs grit of her own if she's also eating chick crumb? I won't give them corn for a while - I'm in Oxfordshire and it's been so hot over the weekend I was quite worried for their survival. Actually I really wanted to use it to bribe the mother to come closer to me with the chick so I can get it used to being handled as she is very protective!
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dinosaw
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Re: How soon can chicks eat mixed corn and dust bathe?

Post by dinosaw » Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:42 pm

Your not so far from me then, I live on the Ox/Bucks border. Try small amounts of natural yoghurt (which is good for chicks anyway) or little bits of fruit, or very small bits of mealworm. The problem I find isn't so much getting mother hen to approach it is more that she goes ballistic as soon as you reach for a chick, you will probably have more success when the chick has become a 'grower' and mother stops being protective as her calls panic the chick. I tend to leave the chicks alone as it keeps stress levels down for both mother and chicks.
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