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What Do Baby Chicks Eat?

Updated: Apr 22

Baby Chicks in a Brooder

It’s springtime and that means one thing around our place….chicks! There is nothing better than bringing those cute little feather balls home and getting them all settled in their brooder. Don’t worry, if you’re like I was just starting out, you don’t even know what a brooder is!

A brooder is the chicks’ first home for about the first six weeks of their life. It’s very important to get your brooder set up and ready with a reliable heat source, light, water and food before you bring your chicks home! The brooder needs to be set at 95 degrees for the first week and then you can drop the temperature down five degrees each week. You can watch my brooder video and learn all about setting up a brooder.


Baby Chicks in a Brooder


Chicks will eat and drink a lot their first weeks of life. Plus, it’s really important that they do! In order for chicks to grow healthy and strong, and develop properly, they need to have access to food and water 24/7.

As chickens get older, they don’t eat or drink at night. But at the chick stage, they should always have access to their nutrients. This also means that if you use a heat panel, you will need to provide a light source as well. Chicks and chickens can’t see in the dark, so they need to be able to find their food and water.


What Do I Feed My Chicks?

It’s important that chicks eat food designed for them. You can get a chick crumble at your local farm supply store. I buy non-medicated chick crumble because I always use the Baby Chick Care Kit and it contains First Peep™. It has everything your chick needs to get their digestive, immune, and respiratory systems going. I won’t start my chicks without it! I’m much rather give them this as opposed to medicated chick crumble.

First Peep is a non-medicated chick feed supplement that naturally supports digestive health in baby chicks the first few weeks of life.

Sprinkle on feed to build a strong foundation

  • Gets baby chicks eating

  • Supports early digestive health

  • Includes kelp, oregano essential oil and prebiotics 

Chick Brooder Set Up

When Can Chicks Start Eating Treats & Scratch

I get a lot of questions about when chicks can start eating treats, scratch, or other things outside of the chick crumble. There are different schools of thought on this, but I choose to wait until their closer to five or six weeks. If you introduce anything besides chick crumble or First Peep, you have to provide chick grit as well! Chicks can’t digest snacks and treats without grit. You can find chick grit at your local farm supply store as well.


Raising baby chicks is a blast and a great way to get your whole family involved! They really aren’t hard to take care of and they will love you forever if you spend time with them…like my friend Happy here.


Annie and her chicken Happy

Happy is my 5 ½ year old Barred Rock…and my favorite.


 Until next time,

–The Wing Lady



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