Feeding Turkey Starter to Chicken Chicks???

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by TwoCrows, Jul 13, 2011.

  1. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    My Australorp girls have just turned 18 weeks old today and I am hoping they will start laying within the next month or so. I was running out of chick starter yesterday so today I went to my small local feed store, (not TSC) and purchased their last bag of what they and my self thought was Hi-Pro chick starter.

    However it turns out to be Turkey and Gamebird Starter food. It has 30% protein in it and not too much more calcium than the regular chick starter I usually buy. I could return it, however this was their last bag of non medicated chick feed of any sort. I have had been feeding them Hi-Pro chick starter.

    So is this food too high in protein? What about the other ingredients? Too much? Here is a link to the ingredients of the Turkey starter I just bought.


    I appreciate any info you may have.

    -Leyla [​IMG]
  2. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana
    No, it's not too high but higher than most people feed to a chick. It won't affect them or make them sick. Depending on how often you feed them, it's a possibility they could grow a bit bigger than those chickens that may not have eaten turkey starter. I have fed a chick that was hatched with turkey poults, game brid starter and he did fine. I fed it to him for about 4 months. Only thing is, he is MASSIVE. He's a big ole boy. [​IMG]
  3. DAFox

    DAFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2009
    SW MO in Vernon Co
    Is the chick starter medicated? If so, your girls outgrew that a long time ago. Do you want to continue feeding a higher protein feed, 18% - 20%? If not, a 15% or so all purpose chicken feed would be fine. I'd have oyster shell on the side for them for when they start laying.

    A 30% protein feed is excessive. I'd give lots of treats or go buy scratch or an all purpose feed to mix with it.

  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Here are some other standards to compare the analysis with. That is a little higher in Lysine and Methionine as well as protein, but low in calcium. I'm not an expert, but I don't think those Lysine and Methionone levels will hurt, especially if it is only one bag, though I don't know how many chickens you have or how long that bag will last.

    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 0.6 0.7
    Min Salt 0.25 0.2 0.35
    Max Salt 0.75 0.4 0.85

    Will feeding them something that high in protein hurt them? Probably not, but that depends some on how long it lasts. Studies have shown that steady high protein intake can lead to internal organ damage. That second study below shows that high calcium, especially combined with high protein, is a problem in growing chicks, but it references other studies in the 80's that show high protein without high calcium is also a problem. I have not been able to find those studies online.

    It's not that they immediately fall over and die if they eat a lot of protein one day, but a steady long term diet can cause problems. I really don't know what "long term" means, but it is more than a couple of days. It's not the percent of protein in the feed so much as total volume of protein they eat in a day. If this feed is not a really high percent of their daily food, then it is not so bad. If it is all they eat, I'd be more concerned.

    You can handle the low levels of calcium by offering oyster shell on the side. They may experiment a bit with it, but usually only the ones that need extra calcium for the egg shells eat a significant amount of it.

    Avian Gout

    British Study – Calcium and Protein

    You can probably feed that without any long term problems, somewhat dependent on how many you have and what else they eat. Personally, I'd return it.

    Good luck!
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Hey all. Thanks for the replies about this feed I just purchased. I have decided it just isn't worth feeding it to them being so high in protein. I noticed yesterday that they were not really interested in eating it at all.

    So I found some Flock Raiser at another feed store a few towns away today and they seem to be happily eating again. The Turkey starter won't go to waste as my quail will eat it. Gamebirds require high protein diets at 30%, this food is right up their alley.

    Thanks again for all the info! My chickens thank you. [​IMG] [​IMG]
  6. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

    Jul 17, 2009
    I feed all my chicks turkey starter. Makes for really, really big chickens with nice feathers.
  7. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana
  8. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    Quote:Same here, since I am raising my chicks with poults. There is no way in heck to make each animal eat 'their' feed so I just offered one, the turkey/gamebird starter. It is 28% protein. The chicks are big and robust, and they got their feathers faster and fluffier than someone I know who hatched their chick eggs at the same time, maybe because of the higher protein feed, maybe not.

    I assume that most of the extra protein the chicks don't utilize just goes out in the poo. Also, the gamebird starter is only a dollar more for 50lbs than the chick starter! Perhaps because the gamebird starter is manufactured very close, while the other is not (looked at location on the bags).
  9. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Been feeding a Game Bird feed that is 28% protein from hatch till first egg with no problem.

    Crude Protein, min - 28.0%
    Lysine, min - 1.6%
    Methionine, min - 0.65%
    Crude Fat, min - 4.0%
    Crude Fiber, max - 4.0%
    Calcium (Ca), min - 1.2%
    Calcium (Ca), max - 1.7%
    Phosphorus (P), min - 1.0%
    Salt (NaCl), min - 0.25%
    Salt (NaCl), max - 0.75%
    Selenium (Se), min - 0.3 ppm
    Vitamin A, min -5400 IU/lb
    Vitamin D3, min - 1425 IU/lb
    Vitamin E, min - 18 IU/lb

    Last edited: Jul 15, 2011
  10. JP101010

    JP101010 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Glad to see this thread , as i was going to ask the same question. we are raising 2 chicks with a peachick so we have to feed half start n grow and half baby turkey feed.

    Thanks for all the helpful info!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by