Both adult chickens and baby chicks need to have protein in their diets. So, when mature hens and cocks love digging in worms to supplement their protein content, can we feed baby chicks with worms?
Can baby chicks eat worms?
Yes, baby chicks can eat worms like adult chickens. However, you have to take up some caution to allow them to eat worms properly and prevent them from a couple of health problems while consuming this feed.
Chickens do not have teeth and they grind their food by using grit in their gizzards.
Grit is sand or hard rocks and it was collected while chickens eat natural food. When the food is in chickens’ gizzards, all the muscles of chickens’ gizzards contract to break them down. The food will be moved around at the same time with the grit and be ground by the grit.
Therefore, grit has a very vital role with chickens’ digestion.
Further reading: Can baby chicks eat eggshells?
Where do baby chickens come from?
Baby chicks hatched by hens and baby chicks directly coming from the hatchery or incubator were born in different living conditions, so they have their own way to access food sources.
Baby chicks hatched by broody hens
If broody hens hatch their own eggs, they will definitely teach their babies all eating habits as soon as possible. Chicken hens will show baby chicks how to catch worms, bugs, or other natural food and instruct them to look for their own food.
During this process, these baby chicks will be able to accumulate grit to grind and digest their food, specifically worms.
Baby chicks directly coming from the hatchery or incubator
It is very common to see people purchase baby chicks from hatcheries or farm stores. Since these baby chicks are raised by humans at the beginning, they do not access grit naturally. Therefore, it takes time for them to accumulate the grit to prepare for grinding up the natural food.
You have to give your baby chicks coming straight from hatcheries or incubators the grit and wait about two weeks before allowing them to consume worms or other wild food.
It would be better if you supply them with “starter grit” that is more suitable and easily ground with baby chicks.
What do worms contribute to baby chicks’ development?
Like adult chickens, protein is also very important with baby chicks’ development.
The minimum protein content of baby chicks is 18% to ensure their proper growth. Some chick starters can require more than 20% in their diets. And worms are one of the rich protein, mineral, and fat sources for baby chicks.
In addition, worms are also a natural protein supplement so they are much better for chicks’ health. (Source)
How to feed baby chicks with worms properly?
If you confine your baby chicks and manage their diets, you should feed your baby chicks a moderate quantity of worms.
Dietary food has a significant impact on baby chicks’ growth, so combinating worms with other necessary feed is the best way to harvest the most flavourful meat and eggs.
What about free range baby chicks? It would be fine if they find and eat a few worms per day. However, if you raise worms for chickens’ feeding, make sure not to overdo it.
We all know chickens are omnivores, therefore they can eat anything. But It would be never a good idea to raise chickens with one and only kind of food since they will lack essential nutrition and it harms their health badly.
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Is it any problem when chickens eat worms?
Actually, it is, even though worms can be a rich protein source for chickens. The reason is that worms can carry parasites and lead to some diseases for chickens.
Chickens are known as omnivores and they can pick up and eat anything. So, it is very difficult to control their eating habits when chickens are allowed to free-range.
Chickens can eat some worms carrying parasites randomly and have gapeworms or intestinal parasites. These health problems can make chickens difficult to breathe and even kill them.
Therefore, it is very required and crucial to worm your chicken flock with appropriate products following the poultry vet. This method can clean chickens’ intestines and prevent them from potential diseases. (Source)
Is it possible to raise worms to feed chickens?
Yes, it is common to see some people raise worms to supplement chickens’ protein demand. However, it is quite hard and complicated since it requires a lot of specific and precise requirements such as moisture, pH, temperature, etc.
Furthermore, like we said, chicken keepers can overdo worms when they raise them to feed their chickens. As a result, it can have a severely negative influence on chickens’ health.
Therefore, you need to take this into consideration thoroughly before deciding to raise worms to feed your chickens by yourself.
In a nutshell, baby chicks can eat worms like mature chickens with some caution. Like humans, we always pay more attention to baby chicks since they are weaker and need to be taken care of more carefully.
Though baby chicks can consume worms, you should feed them in the right way. To be more specific, baby chicks coming straight from hatcheries and incubators will require more steps before being fed with worms to make sure they can eat worms well.
Besides, keep in mind to worm your chicken flock to prevent them from potential diseases.
If you are looking for some basic information concerning the question “Can baby chicks eat worms?”, this article can meet your needs.