When to take Chicks off of Chick Starter

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by FlockHappy, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. FlockHappy

    FlockHappy Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 5, 2011
    North Carolina
    I've been wondering when I should take my chicks off of chick starter. And once I take them off, what should I buy for them? Chicken scratch? (They are already eating scraps all the time along with their chick starter. I think they're about 8 to 9 weeks old right now.)
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Scratch is a treat, to be given in small quantities. The "old fashioned" way to feed them is a little scratch or cracked corn, table scraps, and plenty of good forage, with grasses, bugs, bushes and trees, etc. Most backyard flocks are in small runs and need a formulated feed like layer.

    Usually the progression is starter to grower to layer, for a laying flock. You change from starter to grower around 8 weeks --- but don't throw any away, just mix them or feed whichever you have. Where I live, they sell primarily a starter/grower combination feed, so I feed that til they start laying.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  3. loanwizard

    loanwizard Chillin' With My Peeps

    Layers or meaties? Layers can be taken off now, meaties should have been taken off weeks ago. You can give grower feed, or.... mine eat layer crumbles after starter which ends right out of the brooder.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    This may sound confusing but it really is not hard. The problem is that so many different things work it is hard to give one answer that fits all plus not all types of feed is readily available to all of us. The following is for a flock that will be Layers, by the way. If you are raising meat birds, it’s different.

    The “standard” progression is Starter for the first 4 to 8 weeks, Grower from whenever you switch from Starter until they start to lay or 20 weeks. Then you switch to Layer. Many of us don’t follow this.

    Layer is different from the others because of the extra calcium. Hens that are laying need extra calcium for the egg shells, but excess calcium can harm growing chicks. My only rule is to not feed Layer to growing chicks because of the calcium.

    The other types of feed have the same basic components except for the per cent protein in them will vary. Approximate amounts of protein you might see are:

    Starter – 22% to 24%
    Grower – 16%
    Combined Starter/Grower – 20%
    Grower/Developer – 15%
    Flock Raiser – 20%

    The basic idea is give them good protein the first 4 to 8 weeks to get them off to a good start and help get them feathered out. Then you can cut back on the protein and let them mature as they grow. But there is a lot of tolerance in this.

    The 20% Flock Raiser is intended for a mixed flock where some will be Layers and some will be processed for meat, but plenty of people feed it to laying flocks, some from Day 1.

    Around 13 weeks, you can switch to the 15% Grower/Developer if you wish and can find it. Or you can feed them the 20% Combined Starter/Grower from Day 1 until you switch to Layer. Or do something different. It’s really not that critical.

    In your situation, I would drop down from a Starter to something with less protein for their teenage years. Whether that is Grower, Grower/Developer, Combined Starter/Grower, or Flock Raiser really does not matter.
    1 person likes this.
  5. FlockHappy

    FlockHappy Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 5, 2011
    North Carolina
    Well. I'm raising my chicks for layer....but quite a bit of them ended up being roosters and so they will I guess be considered "eaters" cuz I plan on eating every one of them if I can't sell them.

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