What Do Baby Chickens Eat?

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 23 July 2020

Baby chicken drinking water from dish

Looking at getting some adorable little feathered friends? Congratulations - raising baby chickens is one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have. But, do not make the mistake of thinking that chickens of every age eats the same type of feed, because they definitely do not!

Baby chickens need to consume two things in order to grow into healthy happy adult chickens:

  1. Fresh water

Baby chickens should have fresh, clean water available to them 24/7.  This should be supplied to them through a special chick waterer, that’s designed to give them access to the water without there being enough room for them to fall in.

It’s important to keep checking the water and ensure that no manure or bedding has been kicked up in to the water and thus has contaminated it - so you might have to change the water over quite often. But it will be worth it!

  1. Starter Feed

The primary source of food for baby chickens is starter feed, which is feed specially designed to have the right nutrients growing chickens need. The anatomy of chick starter begins with a most necessary nutrient-protein. Next to water, protein, both plant and animal, is the second most essential nutrient for young chicks. This star body builder stimulates the growth of muscles, tissues and organs-it’s basically what makes your little ones grow. Feel free to offer your young chicks some small worms plucked after a spring or summer shower-nature’s homemade protein! Carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins and minerals make up the rest of the cast of nutrients needed by your growing baby chickens.

Again, keep checking the starter feed to ensure that no manure or bedding has contaminated the food - fresh is best!

Alongside food, there are a few other vital things to consider when hatching or buying your own little chicks. You're also going to want to make sure that you've got the best knowledge you need to raise a happy, healthy flock. You wouldn't want to risk making tragic mistakes that could impact their development, growth or worse!

67% of chicken keepers surveyed experienced a chicken health or behaviour issue in the first 12 months that they didn’t know how to handle. This is why I highly recommend that you check out our friends at Chickenpedia. Their Raising Baby Chicks course provides lots of valuable information to help you avoid any life-threatening accident. You'll have all the confidence to give your feathered friends the best start in life.

Get access to all of the best chicken keeping courses at Chickenpedia!

Want to know more about how to take care of baby chickens? Why not have a look at some of these articles:

What to feed baby chickens - From day olds to 8 weeks

First few days and weeks with baby chicks

The baby chicken checklist

Common problems with baby chickens and how to overcome them

Sources and further reading