2 weeks till chicks!! feed ??

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by tigercreek, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. tigercreek

    tigercreek Chillin' With My Peeps

    Any guess as to how much cick starter I will need for 14 standard chicks?? And how long will it be before I switch to grower?? Thanks......stan
  2. Higins00

    Higins00 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Get a 50 lb bag of chick starter. You can start grower after they are 8 weeks old.
  3. Redley

    Redley Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 22, 2011
    Golden, CO
    From the chicken class I just went to:
    1st 8 weeks - chick starter. If you use the medicated chick starter, you can not use the chick droppings and pine shavings in compost due to the medication.
    For the 1st 8 weeks, figure 10 pounds per chick.
    from 8-18 or 19 weeks, feed Flock Raiser (i.e. Grower)
    After 19 weeks, switch to laying feed (like Layena)

    Good luck! I too will be getting my first chicks by Feb 11!!! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2011
  4. mommyofthreewithchicks

    mommyofthreewithchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 25, 2010
    I would get a 50 lb bag to start. Since I couldn't remember how much my chicks were going to eat I got 2. My older birds are on a broiler feed or chick starter because we also have ducks with them so I don't worry about it getting used. Even if you get too much you can just keep feeding it to them until it is gone.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I don't know what your options are. Different feed stores stock different things. Also, I'm not sure what your goals are. I'll assume chickens that will become a laying flock. Meat birds are different.

    A standard feed regimen is a starter for the first 6 weeks or so. This usually has 20 to 22% protein. Then from 6 weeks until 20 weeks or they start to lay, switch to a 16% grower. At 20 weeks or first egg, switch to 16% layer. There are minor differences in the composition of grower and layer, but the only significant difference is calcium for the egg shells. A lot of calcium is not good for growing chicks. It can cause bone deformation or kidney problems. Once they are grown it is not a big deal, but avoid excess calcium when they are chicks.

    The idea is that they need a big boost of protein when they are starting out. They are doing a lot of growing and they are growing their first set of feathers. After they are fully feathered at about 5 weeks, their need to grow fast slows down. They need to mature their internal organs while they are growing, so they don't need to grow too fast if they are going to be layers.

    Not everything is available everywhere. I can normally only get a combined Starter/Grower, about 20% protein if I remember right. You can feed this combined Starter/Grower from day 1 until you switch to layer. I can get a combined Grower/Finisher which is 15% protein. This is recommended from week 13 until they start to lay in place of the Grower. Again, just to slow them down a bit and let their body mature as they grow. You will also see different feeds that are higher in protein. 20% Flock Raiser, for example, is for flocks that are intended to be combined meat/egg laying flocks. This 20% Flock Raiser is not as high in protein as the feed intended for meat birds but is a good compromise. Some feeds are quite a bit higher in protein, but these are intended for game birds. You will see that chickens are not mentioned on the cover.

    You may notice there are no real hard and fast, you have to do it this way and only this way, rules (except for the calcium). Chickens are pretty adaptable. The normal recommendation (often on the feed bag cover) is Starter for 6 weeks, then grower until they are ready for the extra calcium in layer. I don't do that because I don't have that option where I shop. I normally feed the combined starter/grower until I can switch to the developer. By this time they are free ranging anyway. Then I normally feed the entire flock 15% developer with oyster shell on the side until they are all ready for layer. If I could get 16% grower, I'd use that but it is not an option for me.

    To further confuse it, you do not have to immediately switch over from starter to grower at 6 or 8 weeks, whichever you decide as your standard. Keep feeding whatever you have until it is gone. The 6 to 8 weeks is a range, not an absolute.

    Also, the longer you store feed, the more nutrition it will lose. I would not over-buy to start with until you get a feel for how much they will eat. As they get older they will eat more. I recommend storing it in a metal trash can with a fairly tight fitting lid to keep it dry and the mice out.

    Here is a comparison of the make-up of certain feeds, which shows that grower and layer are not that different except for the calcium.

    16% Layer 15% Grower/ Flock Raiser
    Protein 16 15 20
    Lysine 0.7 0.65 0.95
    Methionine 0.35 0.29 0.35
    Crude Fat 2.5 2.7 3.5
    Crude Fiber 7 5 5
    Min Calcium 3.8 0.6 0.8
    Max Calcium 4.8 1.1 1.3
    Phosphorus 0.5 o.6 0.7
    Min Salt 0.25 0.2 0.35
    Max Salt 0.75 0.4 0.85

    I don't know if this helps or just confuses you. Good luck. It's really not that hard.
  6. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Quote:What on earth is the reasoning behind this? I certainly did....
  7. tigercreek

    tigercreek Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks all, very helpful. I was just looking for a estimate, I did not want to over buy, but at 10 pounds per chick for 8 weeks, I don't see that being a problem. We are in the neighborhood of 150 pounds in 8 weeks! Good thing the feed store is close by! ...thanks again. .....stan

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