How long for chick starter? Is 7 wks. enough?

Carrie Lynn

Aug 30, 2010
S.E. Michigan
My 1 Australorp and 1 RIR chicks are 7 wks. old today.
Can I start switching them to regular crumbles this week?
The bag says first 8 wks., but I have lots of flock crumbles and I am running low on chick starter.
Don't want to risk them getting cocci but would love to save money and a trip out to TSC. Also, this would help to put them on same feed as my 1 Bantam who is on the flock crumbles.
Thanks for any advice,
Carrie Lynn
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The timeframe you want for chick starter can vary. Personally, I had mine on chick starter til they layed the first eggs! Then I asked BYC'ers when to switch from starter to layer. The responses varied, but I did learn that it is ok to keep them on starter (read: high protein feed) til they die. Sounds crazy, I know, but it also makes a lot of sense. High protein feed helps the birds grow, heal, molt, etc. They are better able to handle health challenges and natural processes. My birds are larger than I think they may be if raised on lower protein food and very healthy. In short, my girls continue to get chick starter and will until they go to the big coop in the sky! When they start to lay you must augment their calcium w/ oyster shell, and also keep their water full to help flush the excess protein from their kidneys. Hope that helps, and good luck!
1. You don't want to feed medicated feed when you are eating the eggs. If it is nonmedicated chick starter then you are fine to continue them indefinitely, but with oyster shell on the side after POL.
2. Layer feed should not be fed until reaching the POL (Point of Lay), because of the calcium.

Watch carefully for signs of cocci if you are on damp ground like me- mine got it right after I took them off medicated. (I didn't put them back on medicated though.)
If you are feeding a Non-Medicated Starter you could leave them on that or you could switch to a Grower Feed till they are laying.
I like to use a Game Bird Starter there whole live and just supplement oyster shells when they are laying.

No matter witch way you prefer the thing you want to remember is not to feed a layer type feed or supplement Calcium to a non-laying fowl.
Too much Calcium will do more harm than good to a non-laying fowl.

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If they're mostly feathered out you can mix the last of your starter with grower, with that few birds it will be a good transition. I never worry about feed for chicks since if they were with their mother they'd be eating what she was. I just keep them away from layer until they are laying to keep the calcium levels down.
Thank you all for your help regarding my chick starter question.
I'm so impressed by the speedy response from BYC members when asking for help/guidance.
This group is great!
Carrie Lynn
I've got all the chickens on 1 feed that a local chicken farmer has specially ordered through Southern States Co-op.
It is for chickens around 10 weeks + all the way up to layers and they've had more success with this than the standard methods (feed by age block, etc.).
As mentioned, the chicks are going to eat some of what the mother eats regardless, unless you separate them. So it isn't always feasible to have them tough nothing but starter and such.

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