What's the difference between adult feed and chick feed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by mtgrl, Jun 19, 2014.

  1. mtgrl

    mtgrl Chirping

    May 12, 2014
    I thought the only difference was that the chick food has more protein than the adult for growing chicks, but recently I noticed the chick food actually has less protein than the adult. That's probably because the chick feed is for chickens and the adult is for turkeys. But is there any other difference between the two?
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi

    Mar 27, 2012
    My Coop
    Yes, and it's a big one: adult feed has more calcium than chick feed, and the extra calcium can really harm young birds who don't need it for egg production. You should never feed adult feed to young birds for extended periods.
  3. The concept of an "adult" feed is flawed from the get-go. There is just feed. Lots of difference target audiences intended by the the feed companies.

    Starter? That is high in protein for chicks primarily. It comes in medicated and non-medicated formulas. Non medicated chick starter is a good feed for anyone wanting to feed a higher protein feed, such as during times of moulting.

    Grower? Grower is often a medium level (15%) protein feed suitable to fed to any bird, any time.

    Layer? Layer is similar to Grower except that it is targeted for laying birds and LAYING BIRDS ONLY. Why? because it is laced with a high calcium amounts that only a laying bird needs and can use. Non laying birds, or any age, should not have a long fed diet of Layer as they do not need the calcium levels that are mixed into it. Such high levels can be potentially harmful to non-laying birds.

    Raiser or All Flock? As the names suggest, it is similar to Grower, but usually has a higher protein (20%) and this feed is also suitable for all birds, all ages.

    Finisher? A specialized feed for finishing off broilers intended for processing.

    Further, the texture of the feed, ie, crumbles, mash or pellets is simply the texture and a preference of the customer. It tells you nothing about the content of the feed itself.
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  4. wholehearted

    wholehearted Songster

    Feb 26, 2011
    Pyxis is right about the calcium content.

    My chick starter has more protein than grower or layer feed. Starter is 21%, grower is 19%, and layers is 17%.

    Turkeys require a much higher protein content than chickens, so it's not an accurate comparison to typical protein levels in chicken/chick feed. My turkey starter is 26% and grower is 24%.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
  5. All feed companies publish what is called a Feed Chart. This is a chart that shows the target audience of their various products they produce and sell. Often, these charts, suggesting the various products for various applications and ages intended, are printed right on their feed bags. If you choose a feed company brand, simply follow their Feed Chart and you'll not go wrong. If you can trust the feed company's product? You can trust their feed chart suggestion.

    This is Purina's, for example. Not a plug for Purina at all, just saying these Feed Charts are published either on the bag, or on the Feed Company's website. That information 3 clicks away.


    This hobby requires the flock keeper to be self educated and make their own, educated choices and decisions. The staff at the average "rural lifestyle" chain store selling feed may not have a clue. Just sayin'. The flock keeper has the responsibility to learn these thing for themselves or have a quality mentor to assist them in the educational process.
  6. mtgrl

    mtgrl Chirping

    May 12, 2014
    Thank you for the explanations everyone, excellent information!

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