Well, St. Patrick’s Day was a special one for us here at Hoffman Certified Organics! Although we enjoy our green beer and having the luck of the Irish, we were more excited about finally getting our first flock of chicks! After many cold winter days and long winter nights preparing our farm for their arrival, we welcomed 900 chicks, 20 turkey poults, and 5 ducklings!
The chicks are taking to their new home very well. On the first day, they were introduced to their brooders. With a little help from our farm owner Ben they were able to locate their food and water sources rather quickly. Just a quick dip of their beaks into the feeders and waterers and they instantly remember what it is and where to find it.
Prior to their arrival, we made sure the chicks had plenty of organic feed and sugar water. Our feed is an organic blend of corn, oats, soybeans, alfalfa meal, and fish meal (among other ingredients). We give our chicks organic sugar water on their first day for a quick burst of energy. The shot of sugar helps the chicks recover from the stress of their trip to our farm. If you ever have a chick that seems sluggish or slow, give them a little sip of sugar water and watch them perk right up! Looking inside those brooders on the first day was like seeing the bar at an Irish Pub on St. Patty’s Day – the waterers were definitely the place to be if you wanted to party! Having organic sugar water on tap really got the place hopping!
On day number two, once the chicks knew where their normal feed was located, we introduced organic grit to the flock. What’s grit you ask? Good question. Grit is basically very small pieces of granite that help the chickens with digestion. We humans have teeth. We grind our food up before we swallow it which makes it easier for our bodies to break down and digest. Chickens and turkeys don’t have teeth. Their digestive tracts must work a little harder to break down food so that their bodies can benefit from the vitamins and nutrients in their feed. Grit helps the grinding process in the gizzard so that our chicks get a nice healthy dose of everything they need to grow and be healthy! Grit is especially important for turkeys since they require a bit more protein than chickens. There are two different types of grit. Insoluble grit contains granite. Soluble grit contains oyster shells which provide extra calcium for laying hens. We give our chicks insoluble granite grit to avoid excess calcium. When the chicks and poults are introduced to the pasture, they will find these pebbles on their own and eat them instinctively. So basically, grit is like chewing… only after you swallow. Weird science, huh?
Our chicks are currently on their 4th day here at Hoffman Certified Organics and all are doing amazingly well at their new home! We look forward to updating our blog each week with pictures and videos of our growing farm! To see more photos from our chicks’ first day, click here to visit our Facebook page!