I’m really excited about this week’s blog for two reasons. First of all, we get to talk about feeding our chicks as naturally as possible. Second, we get to hear from our friend and professional, Dr. Bob Stock!
The reason I asked Dr. Stock to join us this week is because I know exactly how overwhelming it can be to select chicken feed in a farm store for the first time. Especially, for first time chick owners who just bought new chicks this Spring and are unsure of what you should be feeding them.
To help with this, I've consulted with Dr. Stock from Strong Animals Chicken Essentials to give us the facts and break it down for us. Dr. Stock is the leading poultry expert at Strong Animals with a Ph.D. in Poultry Nutrition from Ohio State University. This week, he's going to teach us all about chick feeds and the benefits of using non-medicated feed versus medicated.
WHAT ANNIE FEEDS HER CHICKS
Before we get started though, I want to share with all of you how I approach chicken feed. Again, I'm by no means an expert like Dr. Stock, but this is what I use to keep my chicks healthy. Like you, I was completely overwhelmed in the farm supply store by the sheer amount of feed options. I decided to take the same approach to chick feed as I do with my family. My goal is to always feed my family as healthy as I can with natural foods that don't have a lot of the “extra stuff”. This same rule goes for my chickens since they're a part of my family too!
So, I went with the non-medicated chick crumble at the farm supply store. The end result was great tasting eggs with a peace of mind knowing my family is also eating healthy natural eggs. Additionally, I add in Strong Animals feed supplement, First Peep™, to my non-medicated feed as opposed to medicated feed. I realize you may ask why we choose this two-step process over the medicated feed route. That question will be answered for you by Dr. Stock below, but first let's start by answering, “What is First Peep™?”
Gets baby chicks eating
Supports early digestive health
Includes kelp, essential oils and prebiotics
Side note: Nugget here (in the picture above) came to me with Wry Neck and because of the Strong Animals Chicken Essentials products containing the essential vitamins and minerals she needed, she is now a healthy functioning, happy hen!
But, without further ado, here is the question I asked Dr. Stock:
DR. STOCK'S ADVICE
Q: “What are the benefits of non-medicated chick feed versus medicated feed?”
A: When a chick is first hatched, their digestive system is still developing. A healthy digestive system is essential for a healthy adult chicken. A healthy digestive system is made of trillions of microbes that play a vital role in absorption of nutrients, immune system development and bad bacteria exclusion. However, when a chick is first born their system isn't fully developed yet. Nor, does it contain all of the good bacteria that are needed to prevent bad bacteria and disease. Therefore, the first feed a chick eats is critical to get them started strong to develop a healthy digestive system right away.
While a medicated feed will keep the bad bacteria in check for a chick, it will also prevent many of the good bacteria from growing. When the birds are taken off the medicated feed, opportunity arises for bad bacteria to cause problems and disease. My recommendation is to use a natural feed supplement such as First Peep™ along with non-medicated feed to establish a healthy digestive system and prevent this from happening. The essential oils in First Peep™ selectively keep the bad bacteria in check while increasing the number of good bacteria. The prebiotic fiber in First Peep™ feeds the good bacteria and also helps stimulate the chicks’ natural immune system. Together, this approach will help establish a healthy digestive system for strong healthy adult birds.
Like I’ve always said I’m a less is more gal. So, when I first started backyard chickening, I thought medicated chick feed didn’t sound all that bad and it would eliminate a step. However, that is until I talked to Dr. Stock about the benefits of non-medicated feed plus First Peep™ versus medicated feed. His answer, along with my desire to feed our family as healthy as possible made it an easy choice!
HERE'S YOUR TO-DO LIST:
Buy non-medicated chick feed at your local farm supply store
Buy a Baby Chick Care Kit, also located at your local farm supply store, that contains First Peep™
Sprinkle First Peep™ on your non-medicated feed
I hope this helps in your backyard chicken adventure. Until next time, stay healthy and stay safe!
--The Wing Lady