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When to switch feed?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Morglez, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. Morglez

    Morglez In the Brooder

    Mar 4, 2016
    Central Florida
    Hi all!

    I have a question for all you veteran chicken owners. I have an almost 8 week old baby that I have been feeding the chick starter feed. I was wondering at what age is best to switch to the adult feed? Normally I feed the layer feed to keep egg production going. Once the baby hatched, I started putting out the chick starter, and the hens started eating it too, so I just quit putting the layer feed out since only the squirrels were eating it, lol. (I hope the chick starter isn't bad for the adult hens... I figured the extra nutrients wouldn't hurt them.) I would like to get them back on the layer feed, but I wasn't sure if it was too soon for Baby.


  2. red horse ranch

    red horse ranch Crowing

    Jan 24, 2014
    Buffalo Wyoming
    I keep my young ones on chick starter until around 4 months old when they are ready for layer mix. The layer mix has too much calcium for chicks that are still developing their bone structure.

    If your chick starter is medicated then your hens shouldn't be eating it. If there is no medication in the feed your hens should be okay eating it as long as they have oyster shell for the extra calcium they need to lay eggs. [​IMG]
  3. junebuggena

    junebuggena Crowing

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Medicated starter is perfectly safe to feed short term. Long term, it can cause thiamine deficiencies. Unmedicated starter is safe for all ages and stages. Layer feed is extremely unsafe for non laying birds to consume long term. The high levels of calcium can kill birds that aren't laying.
    Your growing chicks need a feed with at least 18% protein content and the calcium level should not exceed 2%. Any feed that meets those parameters will be fine for both chicks and hens. Just keep some crushed oyster shell out for the layers.
    There is no reason why you absolutely must feed layer feed. It has no magic ingredient in it. It's just normal feed, with less protein and a whole lot more calcium.
  4. AutumnHens

    AutumnHens Chirping

    Apr 16, 2013
    Coastal NC
    We feed unmedicated chick feed to everyone and just provide oyster shell for those who need the extra calcium. Saves me from having to buy separate feeds and trying to keep the chicks from eating the layers feed once they're out in the run with them.
  5. Morglez

    Morglez In the Brooder

    Mar 4, 2016
    Central Florida
    Ok great. The chick starter is nonmedicated. I'll keep feeding the starter then, and make sure to put out some oyster shells.

    Thanks again!
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Ditto Dat!^^^

    I like to feed a flock raiser/grower/finisher 20% protein crumble full time to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat. I do grind up the crumbles (in the blender) for the chicks for the first week or so.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

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