In the Brooder
- Feb 23, 2013
I just ran out of chick starter. the chicks are about 3 weeks old are they old enough to eat grower?
I was just at the feed store, having the same discussion. there, I was told that the recommendation is to keep them on starter until 8 weeks old, then switch them to grower, which is lower protein than starter, then to start layer at POL. It may depend on the brand of product you are buying.I was told they need to stay on chick start till at least 14 weeks old. But that's what the lady at the feed store stated. She said, some breeds that don't start laying till later should stay on chick start till 18 weeks. But this is what I was told at the feed store. I was planning on asking the same question when they were all around 14 weeks.
A far more appropriate answer is that it depends on the specific brand and type that you are getting. Some brands have a "Starter" that is meant for hatch to seven weeks, while others are made for a far larger range.
For example, I use the Purina Mills' Start & Grow Sunfresh and it is rated for hatch to laying hens. I discussed it with them and the only thing it lacks for laying hens is the additional calcium for the shell hardness, so they said you can add free-choice calcium like crushed oyster and crushed egg shell to continue using it for a mixed-age flock. Their Flock Raiser Sunfresh has the same recommendations, although it is a different formulation for owners of geese, turkeys and such. If you pull up the three feeding charts below, you'll notice that all of their Start & Grow feed is specified for ages between 16 and 20 weeks.
Nutrena Naturewise Feeding Chart
Nutrena Country Feeds Feeding Chart
Purina Mills Feeding Chart
What % protein is the organic feed you use?x2 good post
It does really depend on what you are buying and what you want. The critical thing is that you NOT use a layer for young birds but a good grower could potentially be fine.
Some people want a medicated starter. If that is what you were wanting to do I would keep with a starter longer. I personally do not use a medicated feed and buy a high protein organic grower/starter feed that I actually feed to all of my birds at all life stages. Compare the labels on your starter and your grower and see what the differences are. It can vary by brand. You want high protein and very very very low calcium for chicks.
A lot of people will use a grower or flock raiser to feed their entire flock when young chicks are being broody raised so that all birds can get what they need from the same feed.