Layer Feed to chicks?

Gelo75

In the Brooder
6 Years
May 1, 2013
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California
I had 2 chickens, and a fifty or 25 pound bag of layer feed. Since they died,
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I have a whole bag of feed left. I am planning to buy two more chicks, and I am wondering if I can feed them the layer feed, or is it best to stick with chick feed? I will buy them at two weeks old and should I buy a small pack of chick starter, then in a week or two give them the layer feed?
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What is the difference between chick start, grower, and layer feed? Thank you for your help!
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sumi

Rest in Peace 1980-2020
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Jun 28, 2011
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You should never feed layer feed to chicks. The high calcium content of layer feed damages their kidneys. Even small amounts can harm them, so rather keep the layer feed for when they are at least 16 weeks old (the recommended earliest age to switch), though personally I prefer to hang on with the layer until I start seeing eggs. The difference in starter, grower and layer feed is mostly in the protein content, with starter having around 20%, grower and layer around 16-17% and layer of course has much more calcium added. In this thread (post #10) there is nutrient breakdown of the 3 different types, but keep in mind the nutrient content of different manufacturers's feed will be slightly different:

https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/195560/difference-between-chick-starter-grower-feed
 

donrae

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9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
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Hold off on the layer. It has double the calcium of starter or grower and, as Sumi stated, can damage young birds' kidneys to try to process that excess. Seal up the layer to keep it from bugs and rodents and put it away until spring when your littles should be laying.
 

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