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Confused about chick food -- chick starter, grow mash, scratch???

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Lady Henevere, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. Lady Henevere

    Lady Henevere Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2009
    Los Angeles County
    I have been to a bunch of different feed stores and I've gotten a bunch of conflicting information about feed so now I'm just confused. My chicks are eating medicated starter feed, which, according to the bag, can be fed for the first six weeks. This doesn't look anything like what the chicks in the store were eating (in either of the two stores I bought chicks from). At a different store (no chicks, just feed), they had "grow mash," which the guy told me was what I should feed baby chicks and which looked more like what the chicks in the store were eating (some powdery stuff with recognizable flakes of corn and oats). So I've been mixing some of that in with the feed (mostly feed, a little mash). But after reading some other information on chick food, now I'm concerned that maybe the grow mash is supposed to be the food for the in-between stage between chick starter and layer food. Anyone know what stage it's for? Is it bad for the chicks to have? (My chicks are around 1-3 weeks old.) Is it a nutritionally-balanced feed or is it more like a treat?

    Another newbee question: What is "scratch"? Is this something chicks should have? Something grown chickens should have?

    Thanks so much for any info.
  2. JupiterFarmer

    JupiterFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 14, 2009
    Palm Beach County
    Scratch is a treat and is usually a mix of seeds, so not so nutrious but absolutely delicious. Not necessary but grown chicks love em and it can help with warming them up apparently.

    That's about all I know though, hope some one who actually can get a variety like you can help out. I only have purina options in my feed store
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2009
  3. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    Keep it simple. Chick start n grow until they lay an egg..then switch to a layer ration (Layena, Gamebird Breeder Layena, etc).

    No treats until they go outside and have access to grit. [​IMG]
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    What Jody said is right. Simple is best. And honestly, many feedstore personnel give out just bad information. Just use a good quality Starter/grower combo till they are laying or over 18 weeks old. Then change to layer. We cannot get grower in our area, just the combo starter/grower.
  5. the_great_snag

    the_great_snag Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    Staples, Minnesota
    Yeah chick starter feed is what you want. If you are raising broilers you should run the high protein broiler feed.
  6. BFeathered

    BFeathered Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 29, 2008
    North Texas
    Listen to Speckled Hen and Jody, they know their stuff! My 2wk olds are getting starter/grower (medicated for now, will switch to non-medicated when this bag is done). I'm also giving them just a drop or two of ACV in their water, and a tsp of yogurt mixed with the food every other day or so- they go nuts! As soon as they can get "play time" outside I'll start adding very small treats occasionally -- check out the treats chart in the feeding section. Just go slowly, don't stress about it, and enjoy your fuzzy butts.
  7. MTChick2009

    MTChick2009 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 14, 2009
    I am also a newbie and have a question about grit, at the feed store, they had chick grit, which I bought and mixed in the their first feeding, I think most of it is still on the bottom of the feeder [​IMG] Also spread some around in a pie pan, the bag said you could do either and specified as chick grit, is this too much grit for them?

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge [​IMG]
  8. Crickett

    Crickett Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2009
    Heart of Dixie
    I don't know about the grit, but I do have another question. I gave my chicks some bugs (they loved it!) and some crickets, and have mixed some oatmeal in with their regular food. They seem to really like it. My question is this, am I rushing things? They are only about a week old.
  9. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    Mtchick - if you're feeding a packaged chick starter brand food, it already has grit in it. No additional grit is really necessary unless they're getting excessive alternative foods. They probably aren't eating it because they don't need it.

    Crickett - I know many will disagree with me, but in my opinion, yes you are rushing things. I try to stick with straight chick feed for the first 6-8 weeks to ensure this is their only dietary source and they are getting exactly what they need for optimal growth and nutrition. I know many "treats" can be good for them, but everything has limits. Chicks grow wise to what tastes good and will quickly learn to wait for the 'good' stuff.

    I would also not recommend bugs of any kind to young chicks. This is where worms/internal parasites come from. Chicks also have not built up natural immunities to things you may bring in from outside, so please be careful with this. You could introduce nasties to your babies long before they're ready to fend them off.
  10. Lady Henevere

    Lady Henevere Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2009
    Los Angeles County
    Thanks, all. It appears I don't have starter/grower. Since mine says to feed only for six weeks, I'm guessing I just have "starter." At the end of the six weeks, do I switch over to the grow mash? Or is grow mash something different? Should I just chuck it and get the starter/grower? Thanks so much for sharing your expertise.

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