How old until Baby chicks don’t need ‘chick starter’?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Chicka_deee, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. Chicka_deee

    Chicka_deee Songster

    Mar 4, 2019
    Humboldt, California
    When is a good time to introduce regular chicken food to baby chicks?

    Right now I have 2 week old chicks that are eating ‘chick starter’.

    When do they not need that specific food anymore?

    When the time comes, how should I introduce it?
    DobieLover likes this.
  2. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

    Jul 23, 2018
    Apalachin, NY
    My Coop
    You can feed starter until they are around 8 to 10 weeks old. After that you can switch to a grower or an All Flock type of feed with 18 to 20% protein. If you do this, you can leave them on it for life. Just introduce a separate container of oyster shells at 16 weeks. Also have grit in another container at all times.
    I just switched them over to the grower when the starter ran out.
    Shadrach likes this.
  3. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    Same. There's not really a magic number so the easiest way is to just switch feed when you run out of the previous.
    Shadrach likes this.
  4. blackdog043

    blackdog043 Crowing

    Feb 19, 2017
    Charlotte, NC
    I feed non medicated 20% starter grower from day one and never change. I have oyster shell in a separate container, for the laying hens. Others use an All Flock feed with oyster shell in a separate container. You will find a lot of us never change to Layer feed.

    If you change from a crumble to pellets, I would mix the two for a couple weeks.
    aart and Ol Grey Mare like this.
  5. rkapfen

    rkapfen Songster

    Feb 22, 2018
    Bay Area, CA
    I also continue to use a starter feed throughout my chick/chickens lives and offer crushed egg shell and oyster shell on the side. I’ve never had an issue with lack of calcium with my girls and have very thick egg shells. It also makes it a lot easier when incorporating baby chicks in with the big girls since everyone is on the same feed and you don’t have to worry about the tiny ones eating too much calcium
  6. Chickengene

    Chickengene Chirping

    Feb 21, 2019
    East TN
    Just for clarification; I think I understand there is no necessity for layer pellets. My youngsters will be five weeks old in four days and I will be kickipi them out of the house. They will be sharing a feeder with one of my adult hens. Can I not just fill the feeder with a combination of medicated starter crumbles and layer pellets?
  7. Nekopan

    Nekopan Chirping

    Feb 23, 2019
    I have a huge bag of starter chick crumbles and only two chicks to feed, I think I’ll still have tons left by the time they’re 8-10 weeks old. My hens have 16% layer pellets because that’s the only kind the store carries. I can probably special order 18% but in the meantime, could I mix the chick starter and layer pellets? Is that safe for the babies and the hens? Hens also have oyster shell.
  8. Shamo Hybrid

    Shamo Hybrid Songster

    Jun 6, 2018
    Should be fine. Don't overthink it. :)
    bruceha2000 likes this.
  9. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

    Jul 31, 2018
    Catalonia, Spain
    My Coop
    I wouldn't do that.
    Firstly chicks can't cope with the high calcium in layers pellets. They're called layers pellets because they are designed for laying hens. It should say this on the bag.
    Next, when you mix feeds, particularly layers pellets which are often 14% to 16% protein you reduce the overall protein of the feed.
    Stick to the starter chick feed and provide calcium on the side. You don't need the layers pellets. They were primarily designed to feed barn and caged layer hens in commercial setups.
    rosemarythyme likes this.
  10. Nekopan

    Nekopan Chirping

    Feb 23, 2019
    Thanks for the input. I’ve been meaning to switch my hens over to an all flock feed anyway. I’ll just have to special order it.

    I though cutting the protein would work since the chick starter is 26%, and I thought that would be too high for 10 week olds. Makes sense about the calcium levels though.
    Shadrach likes this.

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