Homemade Organic Baby Chick Starter Feed Recipe {corn-free and soy-free}

Baby Chick Starter Feed Recipe Feature

Thinking about making your own chick starter feed, eh?

When we first got our baby chicks, I was determined to be the best chick mother I could possibly be. This involved painstakingly researching exactly what they should eat, being over-protective, and taking waaay too many pictures.

There were three things I knew before getting chicks: that I absolutely wasn’t going to feed them conventional medicated chick starter, that I wanted them to have the best diet possible from the start, and that I didn’t want it to be complicated. Plus, it had to be affordable!

I’m a bit unconventional, which is probably why I thought to make my own chick starter feed in the first place…

And I’ll be brutally honest here: making your own chick feed is a lot of work. Is it worth it? I think that depends entirely on your situation and what you can source locally. I love that I get to control what the chicks are eating, and I KNOW that it is full of nutrients that will make them grow to be beautiful and healthy birds.

Please note that I am not a veterinarian nor an animal food scientist- this is merely what worked for us and I wanted to share it with you. I am someone who loves her chickens, and who successfully raised baby chicks on this recipe. I am a doctor of humans with a fondness for biology, nutrition and research, so that helps too, I suppose…

Important Information

I have two recipes for you: both are between 20-22% protein, both are soy-free and corn-free, and one contains fish meal and one does not. I prefer the recipe with the fish meal because it is simpler. I’ve also found that our chickens prefer meat and bugs whenever they can have them, so I like being able to give the chicks that type of protein.

chick gang

Don’t let their cuteness fool you- these fluffy little things will soon grow up to be mice and bug eating machines!

Grinding Chick Feed
There’s one thing that complicates making baby chick feed, and that is that you need to grind it into smaller pieces for the chicks. See grinding recommendations below in the recipe.

Chicks Need Grit
When feeding baby chicks homemade feed, they will also need to be supplemented with grit, which should be available at your local feed store, or online here. Grit for chicks is called #1 size or “chick” grit. It is important to get the correct size for their age. This is not the same as calcium/oyster shells (which they don’t need, and shouldn’t have, until they start laying). Do not mix this into the feed, but rather, offer it free-choice (just put some in a little bowl in the corner… and don’t be surprised when you find them sleeping in it!).

About Oats
The first round of feed I put together, I made the mistake of getting oats will hulls. While these are fine for adult chickens (although they generally prefer hull-less too), these don’t work for baby chicks. The hulls make the oats a lot harder to grind, and if you do grind them, the hulls come off and get mixed into the feed, and then the chicks have to pick around them. It’s a big mess, don’t use them.

Oats without the hulls are often called “oat groats,” and these are what you want. Steel cut oats are oat groats that are chopped, and these are also good (they are already ground for you!). Rolled oats or old-fashioned oats have been steamed and pressed- you can use these, but I found our chicks didn’t care for them as much as the other types. Instant oats are processed and stripped of nutrients, and I don’t recommend them for chicken feed.

Fish Meal
Wondering where to buy fish meal? I was lucky enough to find mine at our local feed store for a great price, but you can find it online also. Quality matters here- make sure that the fish meal you are buying isn’t made for gardening only; many are. 

Try these:

–> Wild Alaskan Salmon Fish Meal
–> Menhaden Fish Meal

How Much Will This Cost?
It’s nearly impossible for me to break down the cost of this feed in a meaningful way for you, because where you can get your ingredients from makes all the difference. I am fortunate that I can get organic wheat, oats and peas from the feed store just down the road for a reasonable price, which is why it is much cheaper for me to make my own organic, soy-free, and corn-free chick starter feed.

I suggest you call every farm and feed store in your area, or within driving distance of an hour or so, and ask about each of the ingredients- whether they have things like organic wheat, oats and peas, and the prices. Or talk to your local food co-op about ordering some big bags of grains for a discounted price. Happy ingredient hunting!

See? Making your own chicken feed is hard work. It really does take dedication and time… so if you don’t have those things to give, I highly recommend you seek out a pre-made feed. However, you DON’T have to settle for the subpar brands at the feed store.

I Recommend this Pre-made Chick Starter Feed

Scratch and Peck Chick Starter (click here) is one of the highest quality chicken feeds available– it contains real ingredients and is from a great company.

Additionally, if there is an Azure Standard drop site near you, they also carry it for a reasonable price. Find it –> here.

Organic Baby Chick Starter Feed Recipe with Fish Meal

7 cups organic hull-less oats
5 cups organic wheat
3 cups organic split green peas or organic field peas
1 cup organic (shelled) sunflower seeds
1.5 cups organic/wild caught fish meal
2 Tbs blackstrap molasses
1/4 cup organic kelp
2 Tbs brewer’s yeast
egg (raw or hard-boiled: see below)
greens: fresh grass, spinach, dark lettuce or kale

Organic Baby Chick Starter Feed Recipe (No Fish Meal)

5 cups organic hull-less oats
5 cups organic wheat
5 cups organic split green peas or organic field peas
2 cups organic (shelled) sunflower seeds
1 cup organic flax meal or organic sesame seeds
2 Tbs blackstrap molasses
1/4 cup organic kelp
2 Tbs brewer’s yeast
egg (raw or hard-boiled: see below)
greens: fresh grass, spinach, dark lettuce or kale

Both of these recipes make a little over one gallon (17 cups of feed). Feel free to make as large or small a quantity as you like using the same ratios and instructions.

We’ll use the blackstrap molasses to add vitamins and get the powders to stick to the grains- and this works best using a specific technique. Mix together the ground grains, peas, sunflower seeds (and sesame if using the no fish meal recipe). Remove three cups of the mixture to another bowl, and to it add the molasses; use a large fork to stir it around until all the grains are coated. Add in the kelp and brewer’s yeast (and fish meal or flax meal) and stir again until the grains are coated with the powders. Add this mixture back in with the the rest of the grains in your bucket and stir so that all the coated grains are mixed in with the non-coated.

If the mixture has a lot of powder/crumbs in it, and they seem to fall to the bottom of the food dish and go un-eaten, feel free to mix in a little bit of water (to that day’s ration, not the whole batch) to bind the powders and make a “mash” so it is easier for the chicks to eat.

How to Grind Chick Feed
I found that my food processor was not strong enough to break down the dry grains and legumes, but a Vitamix blender worked (if making food for just a few chicks, fine… but if you have a lot, you’ll burn out your motor quickly- might want to rethink). A grain mill or even an old meat grinder might work (I haven’t tried either of these), but also remember that you don’t want to turn the mixture into flour- just smaller pieces. We have an antique hand crank corn grinder, which is the perfect tool for the job!

karl with chick

However, if you soak the ingredients for 24 hours first, you can grind them in a food processor. This will take more forethought and organization on your part. Soaked grains should be used within a couple days after soaking, which means you will need to be on top of things, so you don’t run out and don’t have more than you can use. Bonus: soaked grains are even healthier for the chicks! So if you can manage this, it is a great option. On the subject of soaking: if you do take this route, only soak the grains and peas. No need to soak the sunflower seeds, nor the kelp, yeast or fish meal. Aaand one more thing- each grain will grind differently, so it would be better to grind each type separately, otherwise your wheat might turn to mush before the peas have even started breaking down. Not totally necessary, but helpful.

Feeding Egg
If the egg is coming from my own (very healthy) flock then I leave it raw. I feel comfortable eating our chicken eggs raw, which is why I feel comfortable giving them to the chicks raw. Use at your own risk. If the egg is from a store or someone else’s flock, it should absolutely be cooked, preferably hardboiled.

This is where it gets difficult to tell you how much egg and greens to add, since everyone will have a different amount of chicks and go through a different amount of feed. The egg and greens should be added fresh the day that you feed it (as opposed to being mixed in with the above grains and left to sit for more than a day).

Aim for 1 egg for every 6 cups of chicken feed. If raw, just mix it in, and if hardboiled, chop it up finely (use a potato masher) and then mix it in to that day’s feed. So, if your chicks eat three cups of food per day, add in about half of an egg or so. Keep the rest of the egg in the fridge until you use it the next day.

Feeding Greens
I try to use what I have here on the homestead in order to minimize cost- if I have garden lettuce or kale, I use that (chopped very finely), otherwise I use grass. We have tall, thick grass in the spring, and that works well. I will pick a clump and then use a scissors to cut it into about 1/2-inch lengths. Make absolutely sure your grass wasn’t treated with any chemicals!

chicken butt

Add greens at a rate of about 1/2 cup per every 4-6 cups of chicken feed. This doesn’t have to be exact, just close. And just like the egg, mix the finely chopped greens into that day’s feed at the time of feeding.

Transitioning to Whole Grain
As the chicks get older, they will be able to eat the grains unground (which will be very nice for you!). At around 6 weeks old, start experimenting to see what they will eat whole and what they won’t. I did this by putting a mixture of the whole grains in a small bowl in their brooder and watching to see if they would eat them.

When they start to take whole grains, slowly (over a week or more) transition them by mixing some of the ground feed they are used to with the new unground version of the same feed, increasing the ratio of whole grain feed a little each day.

Congrats chick-parents! Your new fluffy little ones are on their way to healthy, happy lives!

Anderson, Vern 2002. A Guide to Feeding Field Peas to Livestock. North Dakota State University. Fargo, North Dakota. https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/ansci/livestoc/as1224.pdf

C. D. Bennett, H. L. Classen, and C. Riddell. Feeding Broiler Chickens Wheat and Barley Diets Containing Whole, Ground and Pelleted Grain. 2002 Poultry Science 81:995–1003

Ibrahim, M. A., and E. A. El Zubeir. Higher fibre sunflower seed meal in broiler chick diets. 1991 Animal Feed Science and Technology, 33: 343–347.

Munt R.H.C., J.G. Dingle and M.G. Sumpa. Growth, carcass composition and profitability of meat chickens given pellets, mash or free-choice diet. 1995 British Poultry Science 36:277-284.

Rama Rao, S. V., M.V.L.N. Raju, A. K. Panda, and M. R. Reddy. Sunflower seed meal as a substitute for soybean meal in commercial broiler chicken diets. 2006 British Poultry Science 5:592–598.

Wondifraw, Zewdu and Tamir, Berhan. The effect of feeding different levels of brewer’s dried grain yeast mixture on the performance of white leghorn chicks. 2014 International Journal of Livestock Production 5(1): 10-14

Want more from the homestead?

10 Creative Protein Sources for Chickens   How to Roast a Squash Feature   How to Build a Rustic Garden Gate

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63 thoughts on “Homemade Organic Baby Chick Starter Feed Recipe {corn-free and soy-free}

  1. I have been wanting to get chickens for years and we finally may be getting them this year or next! Right now, I’m just learning as much as I can about raising chicks! Thanks for sharing this great information!

      1. I have hand crank meat grinder works perfect for grinding feed but get a few small pieces that are to big for baby chicks just pick them our

  2. Thank you so much for posting this! We’re getting chicks soon and I have been looking for a healthy chick starter recipe. You recommend fish meal from scratch and peck, I found this cheaper on Amazon. Does it look good?


    1. Great find Sophie- yes, that one looks good!

      I see it mentions it is safe for feeding, and also I see in the comments that the manufacturer said: “It is 100% ground salmon meal from Kodiak Alaska. Really about as good as it can get as we get it directly from the ship.”


  3. Hello! Approximately how much do your chicks each eat daily? Or maybe a better question would be; how much would a chick eat their whole “chick life” before switching to regular food? Also, do you know how many pounds your recipe makes? (or how much a cup weighs) Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Anne- how much they eat varies quite a bit with breed, age, and even the quality of food you are using. I would say that our Red Ranger meat birds ate twice as much as the Easter Eggers!

      I recorded in my journal that our 35 chicks went through: Days 1-7: five pounds of food. Days 8-11: five pounds of food. So, it increases quite fast as they grow! (this was a mix of meat birds, Easter Eggers, and Buff Orpingtons).

      Unfortunately I didn’t keep track of how much they ate during their lives as chicks. I have seen other people record this info, mainly when calculating cost to raise meat birds, so your best bet might be to search for those terms.

      The recipe for 17 cups of food will be about 6 pounds, I believe.

      Hope that helps! -Crystal

  4. Hi Crystal! I came across your post while I was trying to find a corn/grain/soy-free food for adult chickens on Pinterest. Do you happen to do this? If so, I’d love to know more about it! Thanks so much!

    1. Yes, I do also make feed for our laying hens! It is a little more complicated for us because they are partially free-range and I adjust their feed based on the weather, time of year, and temperature.

      In the winter when they are cooped up and there is nothing green or alive for them to eat outside, the recipe I use is pretty close to the “No Fish Meal” recipe for chicks, but adjusted to be closer to 16% protein instead of 20-22% (leaving out the flax meal/sesame and adding a little more oat or wheat gets you there)… and I also leave out the egg and fresh greens. We often have meat that we acquire for them as well, as a treat a couple times per week during the winter (my parents have a neighbor who is an avid hunter but a horrible butcher, so after he is done butchering his deer, we take it and get 15+ more pounds of meat from it to put away for the girls during the coldest months… which they LOVE).

      They also get food and garden scraps all year.

      Our chickens free-range during the months when there are live things outside (we are zone 4, Wisconsin). So, we let them out early in the morning and they eat bugs and plants for 4-6 hours before I give them a small ration of food. Because they are getting so many nutrients and protein from the wild, I feed them a simple mix of oats, wheat and sunflower seeds in these warm months. If it is a rainy day, or super-hot outside I will give them a more nutritious ration right away in the morning so they don’t feel the need to free range in the rain or hot sun.

      Haha, I guess I didn’t realize just how spoiled these chickens are until I just typed this out! Hope it helps! -Crystal

      1. Crystal- just wondering why, you state in colder months, you stave sway from giving fresh greensK eggs? At a time like this when my birds are literally “cooped up” they seem to be ravenous for the added protein of dried mealworms, seeds- which I kindof attribute to boredom& the effect an unused overage of protein does for the brain. But the greens? She hasn’t seen the raw brown of a dug up root for MONTHS now, this long winter& everytime I go to supplement she goes crazy for wanting it. Why do u deny them live greens in winter?

        1. I didn’t say anything even close to this – might want to re-read it? Or maybe you were thinking of something you read somewhere else? -Crystal

  5. Just wondering what sort of time frame this mix would last once the molasses was mixed through and should you store in fridge? I will be making this for my 3 chicks.. Do you make the mix available 24/7? With the egg added to it in the morning of feeding can you leave it until next morning or do you take out after a couple of hours?

    1. Everything except the egg and fresh greens is shelf-stable, so no need to store the main mixture with the molasses in the fridge. It should last for quite a long time (months?!) but if you have a small number of chicks, I might consider making half-batches at a time for ultimate fresh-ness.

      Assuming these are not fast-growing meat birds (they need a more specific feeding schedule) then yes, let the chicks have access to fresh water and food 24/7 (well, approximately).

      I try to freshen/refill their food twice per day, so the egg never sits out more than a half a day… or up to 20-24 hours at the most. If there is an hour or two in the middle of the day, or in the morning where they don’t have food, it isn’t really a big deal. This took a little bit of learning in the beginning to figure out how much they could eat in half a days time and adjust how much I was making and feeding them accordingly… and scaling it up as they got bigger and needed more.

      Hope that helps! Great questions- let me know if you think of any others! -Crystal

  6. Do you find the essential amino acids are lacking for good growth in chicks?
    I think the uncooked split peas would be too hard to digest do you have any other alternatives?
    I would like to add cod liver oil to the recipe how much would you recommend?

    1. I actually believe the amino acid profile of this recipe is one of the best I’ve seen anywhere, according to my research. I’ve also raised turkeys and ducks with this recipe (and they even have tighter dietary requirements) with great results.

      Uncooked split peas have been shown to be a great feed option for poultry (see references listed at the end of the post) and all by themselves contain a well-rounded amino acid profile. Their limiting amino acid is methionine, which is made up for with the addition of both sunflower and egg to this recipe. You could always try soaking/sprouting/fermenting or even cooking the peas, if it worries you.

      Sorry, I’m not sure on the cod liver oil… I haven’t done any research on it. In my opinion it shouldn’t be needed with a high-quality feed :)

      1. But is there any point when it is HARMFUL to include too many/too high a ratio of the beneficial components (ie.protien/amino acids/omega3’s,etc.) in what you feed your fluff balls? (Note the technical prowess:) I’m making my own chick feed, as I’ve noted a bit of persistent pasty butt issues& since I cannot check on them every other hour thru the night when I’m asleep, I’m hoping this& the oil I’ve dipped their butts in will help to retard or even discontinue the reoccurring nature in which my babies are suffering from this lethal issue. Thank you.

        1. I think this is a complex issue with a lot of different opinions, and not a lot of science to back it up- that I’ve seen anyways. I can tell you that when my chickens are free-ranging in the summer their diets are extremely high in protein… and if mama hen was raising her babies right along side of her, the baby chicks’ diet would be extremely high in protein too. I think being too low in protein is a much bigger problem and risk than being too high. Hope that helps! -Crystal

          1. Yes, it does- to a point. As I imagine you already knew. I’m just still a little confused as to why I’d want to deny my lone hen (I am raising other breed chicks I purchased& drove to retrieve after a 6 chick tragedy 1-3 days after having my first attempted flock shipped) greens- in the summertime she& her sisters DEMOLISHED my yard searching for ANY scrap of rouggage- now that she’s surrounded by snowy walls of ice, and she’s SO HAPPY to get greens in her diet- why do you deny your birds greens& eggs during the winter months when they’d have no access to them otherwise? Is THAT the reason-it’s not nature’s plan?

          2. My apologies- I thought you were referring to the article about baby chick feed, not my comment here about adult chicken feed.

            To clarify, I don’t add greens as an official part of the adult birds’ feed. They do get treats of green and other veggie scraps during the winter every week, just not as part of their regular ration and mixed in to their feed.

  7. Thank you for the information and feed recipes! I’ve raised chickens for years and I am getting some ducklings in a couple of weeks. I see where you said you’ve used this feed mix to raise ducks as well. I’m getting a mix of egg layers and meat ducks. Do you feel it’s nutritionally balanced for the meat ducks?? Thank you!

    1. Hi Lauren- I did use this exact recipe for our ducklings and they seemed to thrive on it! I don’t know much about “meat ducks” though and if they have any additional requirements. I would say that for normal ducklings… your everyday barnyard mix this recipe is balanced for them as well, yes.

    1. Hi Debbie- it’s just a personal preference I guess. Corn also has significantly less protein than wheat and oats and more carbohydrate. And while it does have some vitamins and xanthophyls (contribute to egg yolk color!) I don’t believe corn is all that stellar, nutritionally.

  8. This recipe looks great! I am gluten free do to an auto immune disorder. Would it be possible to leave out the wheat in this recipe! Thanks!

    1. Hi Alex- this is a great question. I am currently doing some research in trying to figure out if the proteins from the hen’s diet make their way into the eggs.

      No, you can not simply leave the wheat out of this recipe, you would have to replace it with something- and if you are trying to avoid gluten, you shouldn’t replace the wheat with rye, barley, spelt, and probably not more oats (often highly contaminated from shared processing equipment) either. And you should probably leave out the oats as well. You would then have to recalculate the whole recipe. As you can see, this makes it very difficult…

      I would recommend to make your own, but I don’t think this is necessarily safe to do unless you learn and know a LOT about poultry nutrition (like, reading scholarly journal articles LOTS).

      I hope to have some more answers for you in the future- if I find scientific evidence that proteins from the grain do end up in the eggs, I will try to develop a gluten-free chicken feed recipe. Sorry I don’t have a more helpful answer right now.

        1. Hi Alishia,

          No, I haven’t, sorry. Are you asking because you want a gluten-free flock? If so I think you would likely have to eliminate the oats too, as they are likely very cross-contaminated… which is really an entirely different recipe then.

          Wheat is usually 10-13% protein, so you could substitute with grains of your choice that equal a similar percentage in a similar portion (this would require a little math). There aren’t a lot of grains that come to mind that don’t have wheat genetics (triticale, kamut), and you shouldn’t use very much rye in chicken feed. I haven’t thoroughly researched pseudo-grains like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat… though I didn’t come across an article that didn’t recommend buckwheat. Perhaps a mixture of more oats with millet, and lentils? Hope that helps! -Crystal

          1. Looks like we’re a few years out from your last reply on a gluten free option. I have Celiac and I have always had issues with store bought eggs. Now that we’re living in the country, we purchase farm fresh eggs and they are way better on my tummy, but if I eat more than 2 at a time, or too many days in a row, I notice tummy discomfort.

            I’m not sure if I’m just mildly egg intolerant, but I have noticed a big difference between store and free range farm fresh.

            Now that we are getting our first round of chicks in May, we’re looking to make our own feed (hence why I’m here 😊). I have the same question.

            Have you looked into this further? Or could you direct me to someone who might know more about that?

            Thanks in advance!

          2. Eggs are often hard on people with autoimmune conditions, especially gut issues. That is definitely worth looking into more if you haven’t.

            You can *try* to make a gluten-free feed, but you’ll have to rework the recipe and do a lot of research to make sure it’s complete for your hens. I think it would be extremely difficult, probably impossible to find any sort of animal feed grains that weren’t cross contaminated with gluten grains, anyways. Also, there are plenty of tested and certified gluten-free products that have eggs in them, and I guarantee those chickens ate gluten containing grains. That’s my 2 cents. :)

  9. Hi, great recipe. Am from Ghana and very hard to find kelp in the market or anywere. can i leave the kelp out or have any substitutes??

    1. Hi Abu, I don’t have a good answer for you, sorry. The kelp provides a lot of necessary minerals… it would depend on what other things the chicks were eating and if they were free range with a good variety of bugs and greenery (then you could probably get away with it). I’m not sure of any substitute… possibly other sea vegetables or seafood but I would have to do a lot more research on it to say for sure. -Crystal

  10. This may be a silly question. Looking on Azure Standard for wheat & am overwhelmed by the options. What type of wheat would you suggest? Soft white, hard red?

    1. Hi Jessika,

      Hard wheat generally has a little bit more protein, so I pick that when possible- either white or red, I don’t think that matters. Often there isn’t a choice though, or I go with whatever is cheaper. Azure used to offer (I don’t see it listed there now) “animal wheat,” which was a mix of all different kinds and a better price point. Hope that helps! -Crystal

  11. Thanks for doing all this work! I have chicks pipping right now and am getting the feed ready today. My only question: I have buckwheat honey which, if you’ve ever tried it, has a similar taste profile to molasses. I don’t know the nutrient breakdown of each and when comparing the two on the web, all I can find is a comparison between molasses and honey (in general). Buckwheat honey is unique. Have you ever considered this as an option to replace the molasses? Do you think the chicks would get the same benefits?

    1. Wow, that’s a really good question! I did a bit of searching and couldn’t find any good info… so I’m really not sure. I do suspect molasses might have a higher concentration of nutrients, but I can’t say for sure, sorry. -Crystal

  12. Hi, Thanks very much for this valuable information and all your research.
    I have made up my own chicken starter in the past but not scientifically researched so again thanks I will modify my recipe.
    I give my chick’s budgie mix/grain with the millet and other tiny grains in it, in small amounts as variety and watered down home made yoghurt. My chickens love thinned yoghurt with grated zucchini. Jasmine

  13. Crystal-
    Wow! Ur awesome!! What amazingly thorough research and re-researching. Not everybody is as academically proficient as you seem to be- it’s hard to find folks who are willing and committed to acting as a translator for the scholasticly recorded data to us laymens- for free even!! It is for the chickens’ sake to make this info widely available… do you mind if I post this on fb?
    Ps) I recently had a batch of day olds sent to the wrong post office (very far away& impossible for me to access with the snow in my alpine region) -as prepared& committed to instantly retrieving them, they still suffered through a whole extra day in the post office. Since retrieval I have now lost 5/8 birds and I’m fairly certain when I check in a couple hrs I will have yet ANOTHER loss- because one of the (extremely fat, smart, heakthy) chicks was “panting” all yesterday- peeping without making the sound. She keeps trying to wiggle her way underneath her siblings- which I recognize as a protective/comforting instinctual act. I’ve researched everything I can think of and cannot find anything linking all of these deaths:( I value life very much and from the first to this last death I’ve been just broken hearted. But then the one I saved proved that nature has a way of dealing with critters who wouldn’t make it on their own. I had to put him down today after all. It didn’t even struggle:(…, the breeder wants to blame the food- because one of them died after having been cleaned up from pasty butt(it was a greedy bully chick whom had hogged all of the crushed sunflower seeds) but I know that I accidentally let him get to wet(he jumped down into the sink when I was cleaning him off): I don’t ghink the food has anything to do with it, but my brooder is warm& dry-plus I’ve cleaned& turned everything over every 2deaths- so I don’t see pneumonia being very likely. Can I prevent this last chick from dying or will it end up with brain damage like the last rescue I executed? Sorry for all the info- I just don’t know what to do. I’m realky scared & worried. Thank you fir ths awesome contribution again!

    1. Hi (again!) Kat,

      Sorry to hear you’re having such a trouble with your new babies. Sounds like you are already doing everything you can do… Mother Nature can be so cruel sometimes. The only other I know to help stressed baby chicks is electrolytes in their water, which you can get at feed stores usually.

      Do you know how many days the chicks spent in transit, from the time they left the hatchery to the time they ended up in your care? Certainly the stress of travel and temperature changes during transit is a large cause of pasty butt- I agree with you, likely not food unless you were feeding them something really strange, which it sounds like you were not.

      We had a similar experience- not sure if you read that article here or not, where our chicks were sent to the wrong post office and we had to mad-dash an hour away, also on the heels of a snow storm, to go get them!

      Hope the last of your chicks pull through! Yes, you may share links to my blog on social media anytime- thanks for asking! :) -Crystal

  14. Hi Crystal,
    Thank you so much for the recipe and all the research I’m sure went into it! My first set of chicks arrives this week and I have a batch all ready for them! I even sprouted/dehydrated the grains/seeds that I could (not sure that I’ll always have time for that but figured I’d give them as much of a nutritious start as I can while I do!) :-)
    Do you recommend giving the eggs/greens from day one or wait a few days to add those? Also, do you ever add herbs to the feed? I’ve been reading Lisa Steele’s herbifying chickens and thought I’d add some to your chick starter:
    Thanks again for the recipe!!

    1. You bet! Good luck with your chicks! You can/should definitely add the egg in right away… the greens you could hold off for a few days or week until the chicks figure out life a little more and realize which way is up. :)

      Yes, I love Lisa’s information- I haven’t done much with herbs and chicks or chickens, but I hope to! -Crystal

    1. I personally haven’t use Milo, no. It is not as high in protein as wheat, so it can not simply be replaced in chicken or chick feed recipes. -Crystal

  15. Hi! I have an adopted Columbian Wyandotte Bantam, recently became broody. She sat on a clutch of eggs for a week, and then got kicked off her nest by my Buff Orps and Swedish. I have since moved her to a separate large crate to sit on some new eggs. Will she stay broody long enough to hatch the new clutch? We are really hoping to have some new babies this year; we started our flock with chicks and have been adopting all kinds from neighbors hoping to have some gorgeous mixed-breed babies. I candled the previous eggs and they seemed to have been growing. Also, is it too late in the season? Thanks!

    1. If it’s too late depends entirely on your weather- they need time to feather out before it gets cold. As far as broody hens- anything goes! Sometimes they do a good job and sometimes they get flighty and leave the nest, and there’s often no rhyme or reason for it. Good luck!

  16. Hi Crystal,
    I am an experienced chicken raiser LOL and I usually make my own feed. I went through a bad break up and the guy kept my good Country Mill grain ginder UGH. I need to buy one back. In the mean time, though, I started my chicks on Scratch and Peck (love them) and now want to make my own feed. I use field peas. Do you know if I soak them first, can they be “ground” in a Vitamix? Also how could I figure that recipe to feed 13 chicks? Fianlly, when do they switch to a pullet recipe and do you have one?

    1. You don’t have to soak field peas, no- but they should be ground for chicks and at least split for adult birds. I would not put them in a regular vitamix… though if you have the grain blade that may work but I’d be cautious. I don’t have a pullet or layer recipe, sorry.

    1. That could probably work, but I’d have to study it in more detail to give you a definitive answer.

  17. Great chat here, homestead feeds makers, my chicks just arrived and I have been thinking of changing from commercial feeds to home made. Your outlined fish meal recipe feels like a great start for these little cutties and I will determine from there. I already have fishmeal and molasses @home, which makes things a little easier. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Thanks for such a great article! However, I’m in a pickle. What would you recommend to replace wheat and peas? I’m HIGHLY allergic, can’t even touch them. I’ve seen a commercial wheat and soy free feed for layers but they don’t have for chicks or growers so I’m really stumped as to what to do. Would grinding it up and adding a little more protein work?

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