Whole Grain Feed for Starter? Reality Check Needed....

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by DenverBird, Sep 10, 2011.

  1. DenverBird

    DenverBird Songster

    Dec 8, 2010
    West Denver Burbs
    General "chick feeding question" for folks out there.

    I get my feed from a local organic feed "co-op" operation and had a batch of starter with whole grains. After raising 25 broiler chicks for a week on crumbles, I switched to feed that I'd been sold as 23% starter for chicks.

    The chicks were eating it voraciously, however there are a lot of whole grains too big for the small chicks to eat, which after awhile become the only grains accessible to them and prevented the chicks from being able to eat the smaller grains because the large grains were on the top of the feeder and covered up the smaller grains. These larger grains are about the size of a half of a dried black bean (they are a white bean). I had to clean out the feeder periodically so they can get to the smaller grains, after which they mob the feeder, indicating to me they are not able to get enough feed when the larger grains are blocking them from the finer grains.

    The feed supplier says she's raised 900 chicks starting them off with the whole grain feed and that if I'd started them off with the whole grain feed instead of crumbles, they would have learned to eat the largeer grains. Those grains seem to me like they would be huge to a chick less than a week old.

    I was able to swap out my stock of the "starter" for the 20% grower she sells which appears to be a smaller overall grain size with the largest being lentils and should be OK for the FR chicks according to the hatchery, however,

    A) Has anyone ever seen new newly hatched chicks eating whole grain feed with large grains in it?

    B) Am I getting snowed by this feed vendor?


    Last edited: Sep 10, 2011
  2. saladin

    saladin Songster

    Mar 30, 2009
    the South
    More than likely those 'white' beans are soybeans. Which is where all your protein is (basically) in that high protein organic feed.

    I'll be up front and honest with you from the start; that way, you can disregard my post if it doesn't suit you. Fair?

    I'd chunk the organic feed stuff and go buy them regular medicated Chick Starter that is 20% protein. If you want to try a higher protein (some breeds can handle it and some can't) the try Gamebird Starter at 27% protein.

    If you truly want 'organic' (and mine are about as close as you can get) then set them free to roam the woods and fields and find their own food. Feed them very minimally near the place you want them to roost. Presently I have around 50-60 cockerels that are running free-range. I feed them a couple of handfuls of whatever I have extra of in the barn. The rest they have to find on their own: all organic: seeds, grass, mice, snakes, whatever. They are healthy as can be and growing very well. I take them up before they start fighting too bad.

    Back to where you were: the largest whole grains I feed young chicks are wheat and oats: and they like the oats the least.

    I wouldn't say you are being snowed. I'd say rather that you've met someone with something special to sell and they can smell money when it's within a few feet.
  3. Cpprpnny19

    Cpprpnny19 Chirping

    Jul 14, 2011
    If it's not too much work could you sift the larger grain pieces out and put them through a food processor?

    Just a thought..........
  4. DenverBird

    DenverBird Songster

    Dec 8, 2010
    West Denver Burbs
    Saladin and Cppr, - I appreciate the responses.

    Saladin - The feed distributor very adamantly claims the feed is non-soy, non-gmo, etc. I'd love to have the chicks free ranging from the earliest age possible - I try to get bugs into the brooder (always exciting!) to teach them about nature's "little protein bars" but until they get a little bigger am wary about letting them out of their run. With hawks flying overhead I expect we'd lose a few pretty quickly. And yeah, I'd thought about just going over and just picking up a 50 lb bag of gamebird crumbles to get the chicks up to size where they could handle the larger grains in their feed.

    Cppr - As for sifting and grinding, I've considered that but am just not inclined to go to that effort of finding the proper size mesh and setting it up at this point. Doing that with 50 lbs of feed seems a bit tedious right now.

    I just don't see how chicks fresh from the hatchery could eat whole grains this size and like a reality check on whether anyone has ever seen them handling this kind of feed.



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