What age for what type of food?


11 Years
Apr 11, 2011
New York
I have seven week chicks on starter and 14-17 week olds on layena.

How old should the chicks be when I switch them? Aside from the layena should I also be offering grit or crushed oysters?

Also all the chickens/chicks have access to cracked corn and treats.
I switched my chicks from starter to grower pellets at 6 or 7 weeks. They are thriving.
At 6 weeks the crumbles just didnt seem to be doing it for them anymore!
They also get a great assortment of table scraps from the house.

Anyone know if I need to start with oyster shell before they start laying?
You have a whole lot of options. About the only rule is that they should not be on Layer until they are ready to lay, because of the extra calcium. There are plenty of studies that show the extra calcium can cause problems with growing chicks. Of course it depends on how much extra calcium they eat and all that, and it does not always cause a problem with all of them, but the studies have shown that mortality increases when young chicks are fed Layer. That means some of them die in the studies. They also examine the internal organs of some that don't die and often find internal organ damage, mainly to the kidneys but sometimes to the liver.

The standard progression is a Starter, ususally around 22% to 24% protein, until they are 4 to 8 weeks old, then switch to a 16% protein Grower until they are 20 weeks old or start to lay, then switch to 16% Layer. It really does not matter if the switch from Starter to Grower is 4 week or 8 weeks. Just switch when you run out of Starter.

Another option is to feed a 15% Grower/Finisher from about week 13 until you switch to Layer.

Some people feed a 20% combined Starter/Grower from Day 1 until they switch to Layer.

Some people feed 20% Flock Raiser from Day 1 until they switch to Layer, or maybe start Flock Raiser after they finish the Starter. Flock Raiser is a little bit different from the combined Starter/Grower because it is more intended for a flock where you will eat some and some will become a laying flock, but it works for developing a pure laying flock too.

None of these options are wrong. It just depends on your personal preference and what is available to you at the feed store. I personally stay away from the really high protein stuff meant for game birds and not chickens. If it were meant for chickens, it would say so on the bag.

If you have a mixed age flock, where some are laying and need the extra calcium but some are still young, you can feed maybe Grower or Flock Raiser to all of them, but offer oyster shell on the side. The ones that need the extra calcium for the egg shells will eat it. Those that don't need it may experiment a little, but usually won't eat enough to hurt themselves. After a taste or two, my younger ones leave it alone entirely.
Thanks, I'm just about out of starter so I'll switch to the next one up when I go back to the feed store.

What about grit? Do chicks need that? I've been mixing it in and also allowing them to scratch around on the cracked corn I give to my older girls.

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