6 Milestones for Backyard Chickens

Discussion in 'Sponsored Content, Contests, and Giveaways' started by sumi, May 30, 2017.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    36,047
    7,574
    646
    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    6 Milestones for Backyard Chickens

    The journey to farm fresh eggs is fueled by complete feed at every step.


    Graduating school. Getting married. Having children. Retirement. We celebrate many milestones in life. Key moments also happen for backyard chickens. While your flock won’t be buying their first new car any time soon, each bird will also go through important life stages.

    PurinaFlock_Milestone Infographic_FINAL_041717.jpg


    Patrick Biggs, Ph.D., a flock nutritionist for Purina Animal Nutrition, says many backyard chicken journeys begin each spring at local Purina® Chick Days events.

    “As we get started on the journey with baby chicks, it’s important to look forward to the milestones birds will celebrate,” he says. “From baby chick to retirement, there are six important growth stages. Each stage signals nutrition changes.”

    Biggs recommends using these six milestones as a roadmap to creating a complete feeding program:

    1. Weeks 1-4: Baby chicks

    Start your birds strong by providing a complete starter-grower feed with at least 18 percent protein to support chick growth. The feed should also include amino acids for chick development, prebiotics and probiotics for immune health, and vitamins and minerals to support bone health.

    “Chicks are also susceptible to illness,” Biggs continues. “If chicks were not vaccinated for coccidiosis by the hatchery, choose a medicated feed. Medicated feeds like Purina® Start & Grow® Medicated, are not impacted by the Veterinary Feed Directive and can be purchased without a veterinarian.”

    2. Weeks 5-15: The teenage stage

    During weeks 5 and 6, chicks will go through visible growth changes, including new primary feathers and a developing pecking order. Growing birds are now referred to differently. Pullet is the term for a teenage female, while a young male is called a cockerel. Between weeks 7 and 15, the physical differences between genders will become even more obvious.

    “Continue to feed a complete starter-grower feed during the teenage stage,” says Biggs. “Along with 18 percent protein, make sure the feed contains no more than 1.25 percent calcium. Too much calcium can have a detrimental effect on growth, but a complete starter feed has just the right balance for growing birds.”

    3. Weeks 16-17: Eggticipation

    “Around weeks 16-17, people begin to check their nesting boxes for the coveted first egg,” says Biggs. “At this point, consider layer feed options so you can make a smooth transition.”

    As compared to starter-grower, a layer feed has less protein and more calcium. This added calcium is important for egg production.

    “Look for a complete layer feed that matches your flock goals – whether that’s organic, added omega-3 or strong shells,” Biggs explains. “In any case, be sure the layer feed is made with simple, wholesome ingredients and includes 16 percent protein, at least 3.25 percent calcium as well as key vitamins and minerals.”

    4. Week 18: The first egg

    When birds reach 18 weeks old or when the first egg arrives, slowly transition to a layer feed. Biggs’ advice is to make the transition gradually to prevent digestive upset.

    “On our farm, we have found it’s best to transition over time rather than all at once,” he says. “We mix the starter and layer feed evenly for four or five days. If birds are used to crumbles, start with a crumble layer feed. The same goes with pellets. The more similar the two feeds are, the smoother the transition will go.”

    5. Month 18: Molting

    Once the first egg has been laid, it’s business as usual for a while. Around 18 months, feathers will likely begin to cover the coop floor. Welcome to molting season!

    “The first molt usually occurs in the fall when days become shorter,” explains Biggs. “Your flock will take a break from egg laying and shed feathers for a few weeks. This is a completely natural annual occurrence.”

    Protein is the key nutrient in a flock’s diet during molt. This is because feathers are made of 80-85 percent protein, whereas eggshells are primarily calcium.

    “When molt begins, switch to a complete feed with 20 percent protein,” Biggs adds. “A high-protein complete feed can help hens channel nutrients into feather regrowth. Once birds begin producing eggs again, switch back to a layer feed to match their energy needs.”

    6. Retirement

    One day, the time may come for the veterans of a flock to take a permanent vacation and retire from egg-laying. Although a hen will stop laying as she ages, she still has an important place in the flock as a steady companion who brings joy to the entire family.

    “At this point, transition back full circle to a higher-protein feed,” says Biggs, pointing to Purina® Flock Raiser® as an option. “If you have laying hens in the flock, supplement with oyster shell to assist their egg production.”

    For tips on starting your flock journey, visit www.PurinaChickDays.com. For more information on choosing a complete feeding program, visit purinamills.com/chicken-feed or connect with Purina Poultry on Facebook or Pinterest.

    Purina Animal Nutrition LLC (www.purinamills.com) is a national organization serving producers, animal owners and their families through more than 4,700 local cooperatives, independent dealers and other large retailers throughout the United States. Driven to unlock the greatest potential in every animal, the company is an industry-leading innovator offering a valued portfolio of complete feeds, supplements, premixes, ingredients and specialty technologies for the livestock and lifestyle animal markets. Purina Animal Nutrition LLC is headquartered in Shoreview, Minn. and a wholly owned subsidiary of Land O’Lakes, Inc.
     
  2. The Angry Hen

    The Angry Hen Overrun With Chickens

    2,196
    6,649
    366
    Dec 17, 2016
    Maine. Yah, Anotha Mainah!
    Thank you for posting!

    -The Angry Hen
     
    TheGreatPapyrus likes this.
  3. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Overrun With Chickens

    4,528
    1,556
    311
    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    This was so needed! This time of year especially people have questions. This is very informative and I know will help a lot.
    :thumbsup
     
    TheGreatPapyrus likes this.
  4. tyster19

    tyster19 Out Of The Brooder

    36
    13
    29
    May 1, 2017
    Massachusetts
    My Coop
    :thumbsup:thumbsup:thumbsup:thumbsup:goodpost::celebrate:celebrate:celebrate:celebrate
     
    TheGreatPapyrus likes this.
  5. PerlAddict

    PerlAddict Out Of The Brooder

    18
    24
    29
    May 31, 2017
    Really appreciate the phase-by-phase timeline breakdown!
     
    TheGreatPapyrus likes this.
  6. NancyNurseCxMama

    NancyNurseCxMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    244
    376
    156
    Jun 1, 2017
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Thank you---copied and saved!
     
    TheGreatPapyrus likes this.
  7. imkermie

    imkermie New Egg

    2
    2
    8
    Jun 1, 2017
    Mount Pleasant, Pa
    Thank you. Great information that I'll keep handy.
    :goodpost:
     
    TheGreatPapyrus likes this.
  8. angie_02

    angie_02 Out Of The Brooder

    51
    17
    41
    Jun 2, 2017
    Very helpful! I'm new here, is there a way for me to save this for later reference?
     
    TheGreatPapyrus likes this.
  9. FlyWheel

    FlyWheel Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    Yes. go back to the top of the page and look for "Watch Thread" above and near the right side of the first post. Click on this and it will 'favorite' the thread. Then all you have to do is click on Watched Threads at the top of the page and look through the list.
     
    TheGreatPapyrus likes this.
  10. angie_02

    angie_02 Out Of The Brooder

    51
    17
    41
    Jun 2, 2017
    Thank you!
     
    TheGreatPapyrus likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by