How long do chicks eat chick crumbles?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by UrbanFarming, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. UrbanFarming

    UrbanFarming Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 12, 2013
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Hello everyone,

    I'm a first timer raising chickens. I got my first three chicks (Barred Rock) at the feed store over the weekend. They will be 1 week old tomorrow (2/25). I bought a bag of organic soy-free chick crumbles at the feed store where I bought them… It's huge. 40 lbs maybe? That's just a guess, but it's a HUGE bag. I didn't realize how little they eat and the feed store didn't have a smaller bag in that variety. How long do chicks stay on crumbles? When they reach an age where they need regular chicken food can I mix the crumbles in so they don't go to waste? Or maybe seal the bag up and put it in the garage until next year when I get more chicks… will it stay good?

    Thanks for any words of wisdom you have for me! :)
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Crumbles really doesn’t tell us much about the feed. Crumbles is a form of the feed and doesn’t have anything to do with nutrition.

    When they make chicken feed, they collect all the ingredients they want for that formula and grind it to a powder. That’s called mash. To make pellets they wet it into a paste, extrude it through a dye and flash dry it. When they rake those off, you have pellets. To make crumbles they partially crush pellets. The main reason they do this is that different automatic feeder systems handle different forms of the feed better. Baby chicks can’t handle the pellets that well either so they usually get mash or crumbles.

    What you need to do is to look at the tag on the bag for the analysis. You are looking for two things. First is the percent calcium. For growing chicks it should be around 1%, anywhere form 0.5% to 1.5% is typical. If it is around 4% it is for laying hens and has too much calcium for growing chicks. Since it is chick crumbles I think you are pretty safe there.

    The other important thing to look at is the percent protein, probably the very first thing on that list. This is nowhere nearly as important as the percent calcium but it’s really the only significant difference in any of the feeds. Different feeds have different uses. In general you want to start off with a higher protein to get them a good start in life, cut back a little because they really don’t need a higher protein during adolescence, then feed them a Layer when they start to lay. Some of the feeds you might see are:

    Starter – Maybe 20% to 24% protein.
    Grower – Maybe 16% to 18% protein.
    Developer/Finisher – Maybe 15% protein
    Flock Raiser – Maybe 20% protein
    Combined Starter/Grower – Maybe 20% protein
    Layer – Maybe 16% to 18% protein but with high calcium content.

    Different brands call these different things, like Flock Raiser might be caller All-Flock. It doesn’t matter, just look at the tag.

    A normal progression is to feed Starter from hatch until 4 to 8 weeks, then switch to Grower until they start to lay. When you switch isn’t important, just whenever that bag runs out. If that is 12 weeks or even later, it’s not a problem.

    Some people feed a 20% Starter/Grower or Flock Raiser from hatch until they start to lay. Some people use a 15% developer/finisher from about 12 weeks until they start to lay. You can start them off on a 16% Grower from Day 1. They’ll do fine, just won’t grow quite as fast. Some people never feed Layer, just feed Grower or Flock Raiser forever and offer oyster shell on the side so they laying hens can get the calcium they need for their egg shells. There is a lot of personal preference involved, but the only real rule is to not feed Layer with the extra calcium to a growing chick.

    Where are my manners? Welcome to the forum!
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
  3. UrbanFarming

    UrbanFarming Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 12, 2013
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Thank you! I will check the bag when I get home from work and see exactly what the protein and calcium percentages are. You said they can eat it until the bag is empty, but what if that takes 6 months? There's only three of them and the bag is so big.
  4. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2013
    They will be fine with this feed,even if it takes six months to finish as they probably will not start laying until then. Do not store bag(can go moldy/bugs,etc)use it up you can always mix the next age appropriate feed with the starter.

    I keep all my chickens on developer feed as i have several roosters and never use laying feed. What i do for my hens is put out oyster shells/crushed egg shells to give them the calcium boost they require for their body and for egg production(without extra calcium provided,the calcium is depleted from the hens own body to form eggs).
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    I'm with ten chicks, all my flock eats what is basically a starter/grower type feed, no matter the age or gender. They do fine on it. I do occasionally buy some medicated starter when I'm brooding a large number of chicks, but otherwise it's all the grower/all-in-one type feed.
  6. UrbanFarming

    UrbanFarming Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 12, 2013
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Thanks everyone! I appreciate the help! [​IMG]

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