feed length?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by SablepootFarms, Feb 27, 2015.

  1. SablepootFarms

    SablepootFarms In the Brooder

    Jan 28, 2015
    Hi I was just wondering how long you would feed day old chicks feed start. My organic brand of feed says to feed it for 9 weeks. Then switch to layer crumbles?
  2. cmchickens

    cmchickens Chirping

    Jul 9, 2014
    Bigfork, Montana
    If they say switch at 9 weeks, they probably mean to a grower feed. Generally, you don't want to start layer feed until they are laying or very close to it. For most breeds, 18-20 weeks old.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    If your organic feed recommends switching to Layer at 9 weeks, I’d seriously question their knowledge of chickens. In other words, they don’t know what they are talking about. I’m glad you were clever enough to ask. Layer typically has somewhere between 3.5% to 4.5% calcium in it. That’s for the hens to use to make their egg shells. But that much calcium can damage internal organs or cause skeleton problems with growing chicks. Do not feed Layer to growing chicks.

    From your post though I don’t know that they actually recommend switching to Layer. I think you are just asking what to use.

    What is the percent protein in that feed? A standard practice is to feed chicks a relatively high percent protein feed for the first month or two so they feather out faster and get off to a good start. That is typically in the18% to 20% protein range. Any time after 4 weeks and that bag of feed runs out, they switch to a lower protein feed, say in the 16% range. The idea, other than it probably being less expensive, is that it slows the chicks’ growth a bit, allowing the skeleton and internal organs maturity to better match growth. After about 13 weeks they switch to an even lower percent protein feed, a 15% Developer. This comes from the commercial egg laying industry where costs are very important. They also use the commercial hybrids which are more specialized than out normal breeds of chickens.

    With our chickens, since we are not as specialized, we are not as restricted in what we feed. Plenty of people feed an 18% to 20% protein feed until they switch to Layer. Plenty drop down to a lower percent Grower. It’s not that critical. A lot of us never switch to Layer but instead offer an alternate calcium source, usually oyster shell, when they start laying and feed them anything from a 16% to 20% feed.

    It may sound confusing but that’s only because so many different things can work. The only real rule is to not feed excess calcium to growing chicks.

    Good luck!
    1 person likes this.
  4. SablepootFarms

    SablepootFarms In the Brooder

    Jan 28, 2015
    Hello thank you all. I was just wondering its a 20% protein rate. From rouge.. Natures harmony. They say for nine weeks and I didn't think that sounded right so I asked and I'm glad I did. They only two days old and have a see bit to go.so its called growers feed. Now I know :) thank you for clearing things up for me!
  5. redfordchick

    redfordchick Chirping

    Feb 8, 2015
    You need to ask the makers of your feed, as I'm sure they are going to say at 9 weeks switch to their grower feed. This is where you should consult the manufacturer. Take a look at both starter and grower nutrition info, compare the 2, I'm sure the company would be happy to email you and explain... if not I'd be finding a different company.

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