I always, *always* give my chick medicated mash until they are about 5-6 weeks old. It’s that ounce of prevention I use when I get chicks from mass shipments or other farms. Once they are off of it though, that’s it, they are done.
But it’s a conundrum – because I want them to be on medicated feed, but I also don’t. Trust me, as a Lyme Disease patient, I know what antibiotics can do to your system.
Recently a locally run company Luv Nest (Milford NH) contacted me to try their chicken product. The owner’s husband, Dave, came over to drop off four samples of their natural herb products for chickens.
This morning I pulled out the organic Chick Mix Blend. It comes in a 4 ounce bag and the retail cost is $14.49. A little goes a long way (especially with tiny chicks) you’ll get many “handful” servings out of one bag.
According the product flyer:
Chick Mix is the perfect addition to a growing nest. Newly hatched chicks can benefit from rubbing against herbs in the first few days, just as they would in the wild. A gentle blend of our Original Herbs plus Peppermint , Fennel, and other herbs can provide an aromatic anti-parasitic, and anti-microbial addition to your nesting boxes.
New chicken owners are often unsure of what to do and they think if they do something wrong, they’re going to break their birds. Nonsense – to many of these concerns, I reply – Think of the colonist farmers, they didn’t:
- Give toys to their chickens
- Make ice cream for their chickens
- Heat their coops
- Or even isolate the chicks in the house (like I’m doing) feeding them only medicated mash
And yet they still had healthy and happy flocks.
If a farmer was lucky enough to have a clutch of eggs hatch, then he pretty much let the mama hen take care of things. He was busy with other things like mending the fence, milking the cows, hunting for food, managing the crops, and taking care of his farm and house.
I’m not saying that any of that additional care is bad, I’m simply saying that it’s not absolutely necessary for healthy chickens.
Especially for the youngest flock members.
By providing so much for our chicks, we may be cheating them of what they would naturally do. If my chicks were with a mama hen, they’d already be exploring the yard and eating anything that appeals to them – including grasses and herbs.
They would be getting valuable nutrition in order to grow.
While I do take my chicks out on warm days to the backyard for “playtime” (I know, I know) I don’t know if it’s enough. I like the fact that with Chick Mix you can supply a yard’s worth of nutrients for chicks who are housed inside and who could use a little extra something over the medicated mash. It’s not considered a feed, but don’t be surprised if your chicks start eating it and, like a cool glass of water on a hot day, begin to look forward to it each day.
The mix also gives chicks something to do other than eat, cuddle, and nap all day. Scratch and peck, that’s what you do when you see something interesting on the floor.
I put a handful of the herbs in the chick tub and while it took a bit for the girls to be brave enough to inspect it (chicken-chickens anyone?) eventually they did.
And they started pecking at it.
I don’t see this Chick Mix product as a “fad” or an “over-indulgence” to the flock, I see it as a sensible way to get the right kind of nutrition into growing chicks who are also being fed on commercial feed. Chick Mix is like making your kids eat their vegetables before leaving the table.
Because you know it’s good for them.
I like this product. I like it a lot, it makes sense.
However, I do think that there should be a note of caution (really just a reminder of common sense) whenever you are introducing dehydrated food to chicks you run the risk of drier feces which can lead to pasty butt. If you are planning on using a dried herbal products, please make sure that your chicks have access to plenty of water and check their butts on a daily basis.
Note: although I was supplied samples of this product, I have not been paid. I have no connection
with Luv Nest and these opinions are my own.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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