BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Feeding & Watering Your Flock › when and what age to switch from starter feed
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

when and what age to switch from starter feed

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

at what age should i stop feeding them starter grower feed ? and what sould i switch to after that? thanks for all the help!

post #2 of 10
This may sound complicated but it is not. You have a lot of options. This is for chicks that will become layers. If you are raising them for meat, it can be different.

Other than the calcium Layer the main difference in feed is the percent protein. Different brands will vary a bit in name and percent, but the usual options are something like:

Starter - 22% to 24%
Grower - 16%
Developer/Finisher - 15%
Combined Starter/Grower - 20%
Flock Raiser - 20%
Layer - 16% plus extra calcium

For a flock that will become laying chickens, the general idea is to give them a higher protein feed to start, but once they have feathered out and gotten that good start, reduce the protein a bit so their skeleton and internal organs have a chance to mature in pace with their body weight and size. But it is not a real precise science for us. You have quite a bit of latitude in what you do. Commercial chicken operations are pretty specific about what they feed and when, but they are raising chickens specially bred for their commercial operations and are raising thousands of chicks at a time. From a cost standpoint, they have to be really efficient in how they feed their chicks so they can stay competitive. Don't get too hung up on trying to do what the professionals do. We are in a different situation.

A normal progression is to feed Starter for 4 to 8 weeks. When your bag of Starter runs out after 4 weeks, switch to Grower. When they start to lay or hit 20 weeks, you can switch to Layer. Another standard option is to switch to the 15% Developer/Finisher at 13 weeks to slow their development a bit more.

Don't give Layer to growing chicks because the extra calcium can harm growing chicks.

A lot of us don't have this option due to what we can find at the feed store. You can feed them the 20% Starter/Grower or 20% Flock Raiser from day 1 until you switch to Layer. It really works fine.

Some people feed the higher percentage Starter until they switch to Layer. I personally don't like to do that but prefer to let them grow up and mature a bit slower.

Some people feed them Starter for 4 to 8 weeks and them switch to 20% flock Raiser. Flock Raiser is intended for a flock where some will become laying chickens and some will become meat, but it really works for a pure laying flock too.

You can start them off with Grower and they will do OK. They will grow slower but they will live and grow. Dad used to feed nothing but corn meal for the first three weeks and they lived and grew. You really do have a lot of latitude in what you do, but I don't recommend corn meal like that. I do want to feed them a balanced diet.

Just about anything works except feeding Layer to growing chicks. You really don't have to be that precise with it. But depending in what is available to you, I recommend switching to Grower or Flock Raiser or Starter/Grower after the bag of Starter runs out after 4 weeks.

Good luck!!

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
post #3 of 10

It's been a few years since I've raised chickens & got them mid may. I wondered if you could tell me at what age their gizzards are developed enoungh to start scratch & other things as a treat? Thanx for the above info just what I was also looking for.

Lovin' Mama to my DD & our furry & feathered babies.

Reply

Lovin' Mama to my DD & our furry & feathered babies.

Reply
post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicky Mama View Post

It's been a few years since I've raised chickens & got them mid may. I wondered if you could tell me at what age their gizzards are developed enoungh to start scratch & other things as a treat? Thanx for the above info just what I was also looking for.

 

There is no need to rush such things, but after they are out of the brooder, they will either pick and peck at sand and pebbles outdoors or peck at the grit you provide in a side dish.  Either way, they do indeed need grit, tiny gravel, sand, etc to use as an agent to crush up and grind up food.

 

 

Practicing Sustainable Agriculture At The 45th Parallel

Reply

 

 

Practicing Sustainable Agriculture At The 45th Parallel

Reply
post #5 of 10

I give my chicks a clump of dirt with a dandelion attached (plenty of that in my yard!) the first week in the brooder. They learn to peck the ground and not each other - it really reduces pecking later on. Also, chicks get bored in the brooder, and this gives them something to do, again reducing pecking each other. And, it gives them a bit of grit and a small exposure to the germs in my area. Chicks raised by a hen all start pecking at the ground the first week, so giving dirt right away is natural and good for them. I live in New England - lots of granite in the soil, so it has plenty of natural grit. I do keep the brooder very clean and remove the clods and put fresh ones in, along with cleaning up the poops. 

I have a FAQ about feeding here: http://hencam.com/faq/what-to-feed-your-chickens/

Terry Golson

Reply

Terry Golson

Reply
post #6 of 10

Just found this post and am so glad I did! The feed store had me put my 9 wk old mixed layer flock on "Layer" and "Scratch" grains. I thought they needed grower but they said no.  Poor things. I dont want to hurt them by not feeding correctly. barnie.gif

post #7 of 10
,

Edited by Chris09 - 7/22/12 at 8:26am

 

NPIP # 31-516
Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiquities http://sppa.webs.com/

Breeding Large Fowl Single and Rose Comb Rhode Island Reds to APA Standard


"I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman's cares." – 

George Washington

Reply

 

NPIP # 31-516
Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiquities http://sppa.webs.com/

Breeding Large Fowl Single and Rose Comb Rhode Island Reds to APA Standard


"I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman's cares." – 

George Washington

Reply
post #8 of 10
They do need the grower or starter. No layer food till they're laying.

A simple answer to the original question: You can feed starter until they begin to lay. Many switch to grower once they are 6-8 weeks old.

Lay down with dogs and you get up with fleas.


Love those Orps!

Reply

Lay down with dogs and you get up with fleas.


Love those Orps!

Reply
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by terryg View Post

I give my chicks a clump of dirt with a dandelion attached (plenty of that in my yard!) the first week in the brooder. They learn to peck the ground and not each other - it really reduces pecking later on. Also, chicks get bored in the brooder, and this gives them something to do, again reducing pecking each other. And, it gives them a bit of grit and a small exposure to the germs in my area. Chicks raised by a hen all start pecking at the ground the first week, so giving dirt right away is natural and good for them. I live in New England - lots of granite in the soil, so it has plenty of natural grit. I do keep the brooder very clean and remove the clods and put fresh ones in, along with cleaning up the poops. 

I have a FAQ about feeding here: http://hencam.com/faq/what-to-feed-your-chickens/

Terry, I read this on your website the other day,  am a complete newcomer, and was wondering if I could give them anything to occupy them while in their brooder.  I can't tell you the excitement that it caused, you would of thought I brought them out to a carnival.  They are only 4 days old, and you would have thought they were at an amusement park!  They jumped on it, pecked at it, pulled and played tug of war with the dandelion leaves, and by the end of the clods uselfulness, they were showing signs of scratching away, and trying to lay down and roll in it.  I am a horse person, and used to reading animal body language, and this is just hysterical.  Thank you for the suggestion, my 10 girls really had a blast!

2 Black Australorp, 2 RIR, 2 Barred Rock,2 red sex link, 1 Columbian Wyandotte and two  Black Ameruacanas, one cockrel and one pullet.    April Egg Count 197!! 

Reply

2 Black Australorp, 2 RIR, 2 Barred Rock,2 red sex link, 1 Columbian Wyandotte and two  Black Ameruacanas, one cockrel and one pullet.    April Egg Count 197!! 

Reply
post #10 of 10

Melabella, I'm glad it worked for your chicks. All animals get bored, and chicks are no exception. I do think that my hens raised like this in the brooder are the calmest birds with 0 pecking issues.

Terry Golson

Reply

Terry Golson

Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Feeding & Watering Your Flock
BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Feeding & Watering Your Flock › when and what age to switch from starter feed