So you want to keep your
chicks in a safe place for the first couple of weeks at least so that
they don’t get eaten during the fluffball stage. But you also
want them to learn to forage and start getting their vegetables.
What do you do? Bring the pasture to the chicks, of course!
My previous attempts at
interesting week old chicks in pasture products have failed miserably,
but our most recent batch are a new breed — Light Sussex — that
shows absolutely no shyness around me. The chicks’ tameness makes
it easy for me toss in handfuls of mixed weeds and see what floats
At one week old, chick beaks
don’t have enough heft to break much apart, so you have to stick to
very tender morsels. Even the smallest compost worms I pulled out
of our worm bin were too much for them, and most plants were equally
tough. However, the chicks did pick out two winners — Sourgrass
stricta) and Tick
Trefoil (Desmodium sp.) Both plants are
enjoyed by adult chickens too, so I knew our chicks weren’t doing
themselves any harm. But while the adults eat Sourgrass’s leaves
and Tick Trefoil’s mature seeds, our chicks were sticking to the
flowers, flower buds, and tender fruits of both.
Check out the video at
the top of this post to see the enthusiasm with which our baby flock
greeted their third weed bouquet. I guess I’m going to have to
add selective weed-pulling to my morning chicken chores!
diseases at bay.