Starter, grower, crumble, scratch, pellets - what's the difference?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by cjstanman, Sep 6, 2008.

  1. cjstanman

    cjstanman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 3, 2008
    Just north of Raleigh
    I've been reading and searching the forums, but it seems like these terms are used just about interchangeably.

    Starter = chick food for babies 0-10 weeks old
    Grower = chick food for babies 0-10 weeks old but with higher protein content?
    Layer = for laying hens 18 wks and older
    Crumble = ?
    Mash = chick food mixed with water so it's like oatmeal?
    Scratch = certain blend of grains and corn, equivalent to chicken candy
    Pellets = ? Chicken feed in pellet form? Is this only for adult chickens?

    So what do you feed them after 10 weeks but before they start laying? The way mine behave, it's not going to matter much, they're really a bunch of pigs, lol! I have 5 BRs and 1 UFO, all 3 weeks old.

    Now I'm off to read more about grit. [​IMG]

    Thank you!!
  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Pellets and crumbles are 'how' the feed is formed. It's not specifically for an 'age' of chick/chicken.

    Starter is for young chicks. If you have access to grower you can switch them over to that when they are around 9 - 12 weeks old. Then switch them to layer around 20 weeks old, or when they start to lay.

    Some people can only get Starter/Grower and use that until they are about 20 weeks old, or start to lay.

    Some feed is medicated, some is not... that's a personal decision if you chose to use it or not.

    There is also Flock Raiser which is for a mixed flock. Young chicks can eat it as well as laying hens. You just offer oyster shell in a separate container for the layers.

    I also love Flock Blocks ... it's a solid block (about 12x12 inches) that has basically scratch seeds in it. I keep one inside the coop so that the chickens have something to do before they are let out in the morning or if it's bad weather and they are locked in. I was having some feather pecking issues last winter and put in a flock block and they stopped messing with each other and loved the flock block.
  3. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    Great advice, Chirpy!

    It really boils down to protein levels as well. Chicks need starter with a high protein level - around 20% or higher. Chicks can be put on starter until they begin laying eggs. Then they can be switched to layer feed, which has a lower protein level but more calcium and other nutrients the birds need to lay eggs with nice hard shells.
  4. Heather J

    Heather J Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2008
    Depending on where you live, you may not have much choice on feed. My local feed store has layer feed, medicated chick starter and scratch--nothing else. I can get mash or I can get pellets, but not crumbles. If I want crumbles or grower, or unmedicated grower I have to travel a long distance. (crumbled layer feed is 70 miles, and the others aren't available even there). There is no flock raiser anywhere within at least a hundred miles of me. Chick starter can be fed up until the birds are old enough to lay even medicated can be fed to laying hens as long as it uses the right medication, which mine does--which is good, because I have 12 week olds with my adults I make sure to feed my ducks/geese mostly layer rations (the pasture has died off and there's nothing to forage right now) because too much medication can sicken and even kill them.
  5. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    Quote:I agree with this post. I started my birds on starter/grower crumbles. As they got a little older I switched to pellets thinking less waste, but they didn't eat the pellets very well so I went back to the crumbles and raised their feeder level with the top of their backs and. less waste. I smashed up the pellets and mixed it in with the crumbles and they are it. When I switched to layer, I again tried a small bag of pellets and again they didn't eat well so back to the crumbles.

    I don't think there is a right or wrong way, just different ways. That's what make us all so unique.

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