What happens during my flock’s “teenage stage”?


Official BYC Sponsor
Official BYC Sponsor
5 Years
Nov 11, 2014
The “teenage stage” is one that is often overlooked in the chicken raising journey, but it’s an important time period.

In chicken years, birds are teenagers around 4 to 5 weeks old. During this timeframe, you will notice several changes, including new primary feathers and a developing pecking order. Your birds are also now referred to differently. Pullet is the term for a teenage female, while a young male chicken is called a cockerel.

Soon, at 5 to 7 weeks, you will be able to distinguish males from females. As compared to pullets, the combs and wattles of males often develop earlier and are usually larger. Females are typically smaller in size than males. If you are still uncertain of gender, you’ll be sure who the males are when you hear them attempting to crow.

Keep chicks in the brooder until week 6. Prevent crowding by ensuring 1-2 square feet per bird. The temperature should now be between 70-75°F to help them get ready to move outside. Your chicks require less heat because they are now larger and can better regulate their body temperature. During this time, you can continue to feed your teenagers a complete starter feed. Starter feeds are higher in protein and lower in calcium than layer feeds. It’s important to offer your growing birds a complete feed with 18% protein and 1.25% calcium because they are putting the building blocks they receive from their feed into growing feathers, muscle and bone. Too much calcium can have a detrimental effect on growth, but a complete starter feed has just the right balance for your growing babies!

Do you have tips for helping your flock through this important milestone? Tell us in the comments below!

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