can-baby-chicks-eat-grits

Would Your Peepers Go Crazy for Grits? Find Out If Baby Chicks Can Feast on Corn Mush!

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Alright friend, gather ’round while I tell ya a story about the time I found out if these baby birds in my barn would gobble up some grits just like ol’ grandpappy used to.

It was early one mornin’ and I was fixin’ to dig into my usual breakfast of fluffy white grits paired with a couple fried eggs sunny-side up.

Just as I was sittin’ down at the table, that pesky little chick Chicky Lou came peckin’ around my feet like she does every mornin’, no doubt hopin’ I’d drop a morsel or two her way.

Now let me tell ya, this wasn’t the first time I’d seen that curious little peeper investigate my plate lookin’ for a bite to eat.

But this time it gave me a real big ol’ lightbulb moment – if chickens are supposed to eat lil’ rocks and gravel to help crush up their food inside their crop, then maybe these here baby chicks would take a likin’ to some grits too! After all, grits are basically just corn that’s been mashed up real fine.

I just had to find out for myself.

So I dipped my spoon right in that pot of creamy white grits, scooped up a nice heapin’ helping, and plopped it down in front of that feisty little Chicky Lou.

And would you believe it – she went at it like she hadn’t eaten in a week!

Before I knew it that whole spoonful had disappeared down her tiny crop.

It was clear as day to me then that yup – baby chicks sure can enjoy some grits just as much as we humans do!

The Gritty History of Grits

can-baby-chicks-eat-grits

Now you may be wonderin’ just where in tarnation grits came from anyway if chickens have been eatin’ em for so long.

Well let me tell you folks, grits have been around for hundreds of years ever since the first settlers brought corn over from the Native Americans.

Back in those pioneer days, folks would take dried corn kernels and grind ’em up real fine into a powdery meal using mortar and pestles made of wood or stone.

This was to make what we know as grits today.

Just like wild chickens out in the fields would eat little rocks, pebbles, and gravel to help grind up their food inside their crops, early folk realized grits provided domestic chickens with a similar function.

The coarse grain helped abrade and break down feeds in their stomachs so it could be properly digested.

And with corn being such a staple crop back then, it only made sense to use ground corn to make “chicken grits”.

Over time the name just stuck, and now grits are as traditional a Southern food for people as they are for poultry!

Can you imagine how folks got the idea to even start grinding up corn for chickens in the first place? Someone way back must have been mighty clever or curious to put two and two together.

But I reckon they were on to somethin’ because grits have been a favorite feed additive for chickens ever since.

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It’s wild to think about!

The Importance of Grit for Baby Chicks

can-baby-chicks-eat-grits

Now I know you might be thinkin’ – if chickens don’t got no teeth, how in tarnation do they eat at all? Well it’s a good question, and the answer is pretty darn interesting too if I do say so myself.

You see, unlike us humans who chew our food with our teeth before it hits our stomach, chickens have a whole different system for breakin’ down their meals.

Inside each chicken’s crop – which is like the first stop for food before it goes down the hatch – there’s a tough, muscular organ called the gizzard.

The gizzard does the chompin’ and grindin’ work of teeth by contractin’ strong like and mashin’ up the food against bits of ingested grit and gravel.

Without these abrasive grit particles, a chicken’s gizzard wouldn’t be able to properly pulverize their feed into small enough bits to digest.

This is real important not just for adult birds but especially for growing baby chicks too.

Their little crops are still developin’ strength, so they need extra help breakin’ down their starter feeds.

That’s why it’s essental for both chicks and chickens to have a steady supply of chick grit or plain grits in their diets as they’re growing up.

The grit provides that texture their gizzards need to crunch and grind their vittles real fine before it moves on down the pipe.

Bringing the Answer Straight to You

can-baby-chicks-eat-grits

Alright y’all, I know you’ve been on the edge of your seats just dyin’ to know – can those peepy little chicks actually eat grits, or not? Well I’m finally gonna lay it all out straight for you plain and simple.

After seeing with my own two eyes how much that curious little Chicky Lou took to those fluffy white grains, I knew I had myself an experiment worth looking into more.

So I hit the books and did some research on grits and chickens to get to the bottom of it once and for all.

And I’ll tell you true – everything I found out just confirmed what I already suspected after that mornin’s adventure in feedin’ – baby chicks sure can enjoy a helping of grits just like we people do!

Turns out grits make for a perfect natural source of grit for young chicks still developin’ strong stomachs.

As long as they’re just plain ol’ grits with no added butter, salt or seasonings, the tiny grains are non-toxic, easy to digest, and provide that exact abrasive texture chicks’ crops need.

So you can feel good about occasionally sharing your leftovers with the chirpin’ peepers runnin’ around – just be sure not to overdo it too much on account of their little tummy sizes.

Now you know for certain – those baby chickens will gobble up grits just the same as you or me! So don’t be afraid to give ’em a try next time you’re fixin’ a pot.

I just know they’ll take a real likin’ to the stuff.

How to Properly Feed Baby Chicks Grits

Alright friends, now that we’ve solved the mystery of whether or not chicks can eat grits, the next logical question is how exactly to go about feedin’ them to those peepy little fuzzballs properly, right?

Well let me walk you through the basics step-by-step like:

  • For the youngest chicks under 4 weeks old, it’s best to keep things mild and provide a separate small feeding dish filled with finely ground grits near their primary starter feed tray.
  • This lets the curious little peepers easily find and sample pieces of grit at their own pace to start getting used to the texture and taste.
  • As they start hitting that 4-6 week mark when their crops are maturing more, you can start offerin’ bigger crumbs of a slightly more coarsely ground grit for them to practice grindin’ up.
  • Always keep fresh grit available and refill as needed so they can nibble on it throughout the day as their crops demand.
  • And don’t forget the most important rule – restraint! Baby chick tummies are tiny, so only offer small portions of grits at a time to avoid upsetting sensitive systems.
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Follow those simple tips and you’ll have happy, healthy chicks gettin’ all the grit they need from a delicious Southern staple. Now get to feedin’ and I hope your peepers love it as much as mine do!

Preparing the Perfect Pot of Proper Poultry Grits

Now before you go scoopin’ regular old grits from the store container into your chick feeder, you’ll want to make sure they’re the best quality possible for those growing crops.

The secret is takin’ the extra time to make a fresh batch from scratch your own self.

That way you know exactly what’s goin’ into their delicate little systems.

Start by thoroughly washin’ a couple cups of dried whole kernel corn to get all the debris off.

Then it’s time for the grindin’ – whether ya use an old fashioned flour mill, high- powered blender, or food processor won’t matter so much as getting it finely ground without powdering it to dust.

Once the corn is milled up nice and smooth, it’s time to simmer it all in a pot of salted water til the grains are good and swollen with moisture.

Keep stirrin’ frequently so nothin’ sticks.

And feel free to add extra water as needed to keep it flowin’ free.

Once the corn has cooked down into a soft, pourable porridge, you’ll know your grits are ready for the chicks! Allow them to cool completely before portionin’ into smaller containers for storage in the coop freezer.

With a little effort up front makin’ your own batch, you’ll know exactly what’s goin’ into those peepers’ tummies each feedin’ time.

And doesn’t fresh home cookin’ always taste better than plain ol’ store bought?

Five Fun Flavorings to Experiment With

Now I know what you may be thinkin’ – if plain Jane grits are good enough for them fuzzy lil’ peepers, why mess with addin’ anything else?

Hear me out though – with a light touch, certain mild and natural flavors can provide extra nutrients plus encourage those chicks’ palates to keep samplin’ more.

So don’t be afraid to get creative!

My top flavor enhancers to experiment with are: dried herbs like oregano, thyme, or rosemary; bone meal or crushed oyster shells for extra calcium; nutritional yeast for umami; finely chopped greens like kale, spinach or collards; and puréed pumpkin or sweet potato foradded veggie goodness.

Start with less than 10% additions by volume and taste test yourself first.

You’ll be surprise how three new tasty treats your chicks will flock to each feedin’ time!

Just remember – if Fido don’t like it, the chicks prob’ly won’t neither.

So keep things mild, simple and wholesome-tasting.

Their li’l crops will thank ya!

Storing and Freezing Extra Batches of Chick Grits

Once you’ve put in all that effort perfectin’ the perfect pot of poultry-pleasin’ grits, you’ll wanna make sure none of it goes to waste.

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The best solution is portionin’ your freshly cooked grits into resealable freezer bags or airtight containers before they’ve fully cooled and cooled completely.

Squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing for optimal storage and freeze flat on a tray until solid.

Then you can store ’em stacked up for easy grab-n-go feedin’s.

Frozen grits will stay fresher longer than refrigerated – up to 3 months is usually fine.

And they thaw quick in the fridge or microwave right before use with no loss of texture.

Be sure to clearly label containers with the date too so you know when batches were made.

A little prep work up front means lots of homemade goodness for your chickies down the road!

Dehydrating Grits for On-the-Go Feedings

Now if you ever find yourself needin’ to feed your chickies outside of the coop, like when free ranger trainin’ or takin’ them to shows, toted grits can get mighty messy.

That’s where dehydrated grits come in real handy! Simply scoop your freshly cooked pot of chick grits out onto a lined dehydrator tray and dry it out completely at 125°F for 8-12 hours or until crisp.

The result will be thin, brittle grit “chips” that store well in an airtight bag or jar without fear of crumblin’ everywhere.

Then on the go you just crunch ’em up in your palm over the feeder for easy peckin’!

For extra crunch, try dryin’ grits that have been rolled in herbs, spices or flavorful coatings like nutritional yeast first.

Your tastebud-lovin’ chicks will go crazy for the extra texture.

Gritting Through Growth Stages from Peeps to Pullets

As your chicks’ crops grow and change over time, so too should the size and coarseness of the grits you offer.

For the first few weeks, stick to a finely ground texture that’s easy for delicate newbie digestions to break down.

Once peepin’ turns to louder peepin’, around 4-6 weeks, larger crumbs are okay.

Keep graduatin’ grit size through teenage phases right into pullethood.

By 16 weeks their gizzards should be churnin’ 1/8″ pellets with no problem.

And don’t forget occasional treats of coarser gravel or oyster shell for extra calcium as layers start developin’ egg production parts.

With the right grit at each stage, your chicks will have every advantage towards growin’ into healthy, happy producers!

Signs Your Chicks Are Getting Enough Grit

While a healthy appetite and shining feathers are good general indicators of well-being, there are some more direct signs to look for that show your chickies gut grit:

Excited pecking and scratching at added grit sources shows their crops crave the sensation.

observing clean, crumb-free bottom cages after feeding time means gizzards are doing their grindin’ work well.

Healthy poops transition from soft to formed textures as they mature, thanks to the digestive effects of grit.

Active foraging behaviors like dust bathing, earth eating and stone pecking indicate a natural dietary urge is being met and satisfied.

So rest easy knowing as long as those feisty fuzzballs flock eagerly to their daily grit provisions, their welfare needs are well taken care of from the inside out!.

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