I'm so confused about feed...please help!


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jun 9, 2009
I have 9 week old chicks. I have purchased feed from 3 different farm stores in the past few days. One gave me layer pellets which I changed after BYC forum informed they should not be on this yet. Another farm store gave me layer mash. I called a third store who told me that it is perfectly alright to give them layer feed at this point. The girl seems to know a lot about chickens and said she knows plenty of flocks who started on layer feed before laying and they are perfectly fine. Why do the stores tell me layer feed is okay at this point but no one on BYC seems to think so? I'm so confused!


Keeper of the Tiara
11 Years
Jul 9, 2008
Somewhere Over the Rainbow, VA
welcome to BYC

Until the age of about 18 weeks, your birds should be on Starter/Grower (chick feed) - crumbles are ususally easier for them until they are bigger to eat pellets. Around 18 weeks, you can switch them to the next step up on feed (but not necessary) - they do no need to be on Layer until they begin to lay. You also shouldnt switch brands of feed as different brands can vary on nutritional values, so try to stay with one brand soas not to upset the birds digestive tract.

Make sure they have plenty of grit right now (if you are free ranging at all or giving any additional treats) and start oyster shell in a few weeks as well. It really depends on the breed as to when they begin to lay. I have 6 Red Stars and they began laying for us at 15 weeks (which was very early) - some begin early and some begin at around 25/26 weeks for this particular breed.

Good luck and have fun!
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