What does each type of feed do for the chicken?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by KauAnnie, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. KauAnnie

    KauAnnie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2011
    So I am completely new to the chicken world so chicken feed is a new world for me. Can you please explain what the feeds do for the chicken? I acually bought some chicken feed yesturday and got home to read the packaging and it said for meat birds, my chickens are for egg produce so this just shows how lame I am, haha. Like what is layers or crumbles and what else are there? I also have no idea the age of my chickens because I had them stumble upon me one morning. Here are some pictures, can you tell what age they are?
    Them all together:

    Katsu, I think hes an NHR:
    Shoyu, a EE?
    Adobo, an EE?

    Thanks for the help! [​IMG]
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Crumble, layer and pellet are the consistency of the feed, or size of the pieces, and have nothing to do with type of feed. There are several types. Usually starter or starter/grower (one feed) is fed to young chicks then layer when they start laying. Really, you can give most any feed to most any chicken, except layer to young chicks not yet laying. The reason for this is, layer has extra calcium which will harm young chicks. Game bird feed is usually higher in protein than layers need.

    You can give your laying hens the meat bird feed if you provide extra calcium. Simplest way to do that is provide oyster shell on the side. You can also do it with crushed egg shells fed back to them, and a whole host of calcium-rich foods as extra food.

    You can't really tell the age of a full grown chicken. I'd say you have two EE's and some sort of production red, quite possibly sold as a New Hampshire Red, but I'm not very good on breeds.

    Good luck with your new chickens!
  3. ChickenAl

    ChickenAl Diagnosis...Chicken-Headed

    Jun 5, 2011
    Putnam cty, NY
    Hi KauAnnie. Feeds are different for each stage of your chicken's life. Starter is for the chicks up to about 6-8 weeks. Some stay on starter longer. Grower is usually for hes that will will be layers. When they are a bout 18 weeks old or have already started to lay, then they are put on layer feed. You do not want to start layer feed before 18 weeks usually because of the added calcium not being good for younger chickens.

    Most feed comes in up to three forms. Mash, crumbles and pellets. Mash is powdery, pellets are hard cylindrical 1/4"-1/2" pieces, and crumbles are crumbled pellets. Use whichever your chickens like best. Mine like crumbles, for now.

    Most companies have a website explaining how their brand should be fed to chickens at each age and stage. If you are using a major brand then you should check out their site.

    Good luck.
  4. saltykins

    saltykins Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 1, 2011
    Funny, I am new to chickens too and in Hawaii as well! Nothing useful to say, but I love their names! (Especially Shoyu! She is super cute on the ti leaf.) But I am biased to food-based names. We got two chicks from a feral and named them Corn & Clam. They are the Chowder siblings.
  5. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    They are pretty chickens. I'm not great at estimating age. On average pullets start laying eggs around 18 weeks old, so if you haven't seen any eggs, i would guess they are a little younger than that. Meat bird feed would make them fat i think. Layer feed has calcium for strong egg shells and usually 16% protein. It comes in pellet size, crumble (crumbled pellets) or mash ( which my hens think is too finely ground). A lot of folks say it is best to start feeding layer after you see that they have actually started laying eggs. Some places like Tractor Supply have a feed called grower that is 15% protein and no calcium. Once they are laying, they could also get calcium from oyster shell put in a separate bowl. People offer it "free choice" and somehow the chickens know how much they need to eat. Some people say that too much protein or calcium too early forces the pullets to lay earlier than they should which is not good in the long term.
  6. KauAnnie

    KauAnnie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2011
    Thanks everyone! Any idea how old they are? Should I expect eggs soon?
  7. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    I'll see if I can help out or I'll confuse you even more [​IMG]

    Starter --
    A balanced feed meant as the sole ration for chicks from hatching to twelve weeks of age.
    At 12 weeks of age the birds can be changed to Grower or Developer. Starter can be Medicated or Non-Medicated when Medicated it is with either *Amprolium or Lasalocid.
    Starter is available in Mash, Crumble or Pellet form

    Stater/ Grower --
    A balanced feed meant as the sole ration for chicks from hatching to chickens begin to lay, this feed can be Medicated or Non-Medicated. If medicated it will be with either Amprolium or Lasalocid. Starter/ Grower is available mostly in Crumble or Pellet form.

    Grower --
    Feed as the sole ration to chicks 12 weeks of age as a finisher. Grower feed is meant to feed until the chickens begin to lay, then bird can be switched to a complete Laying. Most Grower feed is Non-Medicated but some are Medicated with Bacitracin. Grower is mostly available in available in Crumble or Pellet form.

    Finisher --
    See above for Grower

    Layer --
    Feed as the sole diet to laying hens maximum production of eggs. Do not feed Layer feed to poultry, which are not in production because of the high calcium levels in the diet. This is particularly true of young growing birds. Layer is available in Mash, Crumble or Pellet form.

    Layer/ Breeder --

    Feed as the sole diet to laying hens and breeders for maximum production and for improved hatchability. Do not feed Layer feed to poultry, which are not in production because of the high calcium levels in the diet. This is particularly true of young growing birds. Layer/ Breeder is available in Pellet form.

    Scratch Grain/ Corn (Maze) --
    Is mostly used as a treat and should for the most part be feed separate from there sole feed (example - there Layer feed). Scratch should not exceed 40% of there diet when feeding a high protein feed. (Sole feed 20% protein or better) You may start feeding Scratch Grain at around 12 weeks of age.

    Grit --
    Grit is small pieces of rock that a chicken eats to help it grind up food. Grit can be purchased at most farm supply stores as crushed granite, but if your birds have access to the ground, they will find their own grit.

    Oyster Shells --
    A Calcium supplement used to increase intake of laying fowl. Oyster Shells should not be offered to Non-Laying Fowl (Chicks, Growers, Non-Laying Hens and Roosters).

    Sprouts --
    Sprouts may be fed as a treat. There are many "Recipes" for Sprouting Grains some better than others but most work in the same way, to improve forage.

    * Note --
    Amprolium - which goes by the trade names Corid and Amprovine, Amprolium, Amprol, Anticoccid and is a thiamine analog, competitively inhibits the active transport of thiamine (B1).
    The second type of medication used is,
    Lasalocid - goes by the trade name Bovatec. Bovatec (lasalocid) is a coccidiocide that kills coccidia. It is an ionophore that moves potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium into the cell causing the cell to burst. Bovatec works primarily on a single developmental stage of coccidia, providing a more narrow range of action than Deccox.
    Bacitracin - Bacitracin can also go by the names Bacitracin Methylene Disalicylate and BMD. Bacitracin in Broiler And Replacement Chickens is an aid in prevention and control of necrotic enteritis caused by Clostridium perfringens susceptible to bacitracin methylene disalicylate.

    Now with that being said I feed Kent Feed Game Bird feed (28% protein) from hatch to laying then I switch to Buckeye Layer Breeder.
    When chicks are 12 weeks old I start mixing in some Pigeon Grain, and Black Oil Sunflower Seed in to the Game Bird feed to drop the protein some.

    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  8. ChickenAl

    ChickenAl Diagnosis...Chicken-Headed

    Jun 5, 2011
    Putnam cty, NY
    Quote:Chris, awesome explanation. Clarifies the issue, and does not confuse in the least.
  9. KauAnnie

    KauAnnie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2011
    Quote:Thanks, this really helps.
  10. geekgurl

    geekgurl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    Very good thread everyone. I'm bookmarking this one. [​IMG]

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