What to Feed Chickens At Different Ages

What to Feed Chickens at Different Ages?

Chickens at different stages of their life require different nutrition sets in their chicken feed. So are you sure you are giving suitable feed to your flock as per their age? This blog will walk you through what chicken feed suits your flock at different ages.

Poultry nutritionists suggest serving formulated chicken feeds to ensure a healthy supply of necessary nutrition for your chickens. When you bring home your new chicks, they will need a starter feed made for the first few weeks of their lives. The starter feed is high in protein and nutrients and will help them get off to a good start.

As your chickens grow from chicks into pullets, they will need feed explicitly designed for this stage in their lives. Pullet feed is lower in protein than starter feed and has higher calcium levels, vital for egg production down the road. Don't worry about giving your chickens too much calcium when they are young. Even if they don't need it immediately, any extra calcium is excreted through their droppings.

Preparing a feed at home is risky as it may not fulfill the supplement needs, adversely affecting the growth of your chicken. You need a firm knowledge of poultry nutrition to ensure your chickens get all the much-needed food in their developmental phases. Let's look at which meals are best for your chickens as per their age.

What to Feed Chickens?

The best way to understand chicken feed is to look into its ingredients list. In addition, mixing those ingredients is equally important too. For example, a chicken feed includes starter crumbles, pellets, amprolium, grit, layered pallets, calcium supplements, omega-3, etc. Read further a detailed explanation of what, when, and how to give chicken feed.

Starter Feed for 0 to 8 Weeks Old

Starter feed is given to 0 to 8 weeks old chicks. During this age, chickens rapidly change from chicks to pullets. Your baby chicks need chick starter food to develop and support their bone health and immune system. It includes tiny seeds and starter crumbles. 

Chick starter is a high-protein feed explicitly designed for chicks 0-6 weeks old. This feed will give your chicks the nutrition to grow healthy and strong.

This chicken feed contains necessary nutrients like proteins (10% to 20%), vitamins, amino acids, and minerals. Note that medicated starter feed and ingredients with a high percentage of calcium are strictly prohibited during the first eight weeks of growth.

Grower Feed for 8 to 16 Weeks Old

At this stage, your chicks are considered pullets. Therefore, protein-rich oatmeals are excellent for your chick's starter feed. You can sprinkle the small and easy-to-eat oats on the field for the chicks to have one at a time. Moreover, you can feed them fresh fiber-rich herbs, pellets, and rice to support and improve their digestion. 

Boiled corn is also an excellent choice for your young chicken. Corns provide necessary nutrients like proteins and fibers; they are soft and effortless for chicks to digest. You can also give them unsalted scrambled eggs from time to time that contains carbohydrates and proteins essential for the growth of young chickens.

You can start introducing other healthy snacks in moderation. They can include watermelon, cucumbers, green leaves, tomatoes, peas or corn, or brown rice. Also, do not forget to give them grit. 

Grit refers to fine particles of oyster shells, flint, or granite. Young chickens do not have strong beaks. Thus, they pick grit from the soil and store it in their gizzard that mechanically grinds and mixes their feed. You can make your grit by grinding up baked eggshells.

Layer Feed for 18 weeks Old

Once your chickens are 18 weeks old, it is time to change the chicken feed. An 18-week old female chicken is now ready to lay its first eggs and needs to have appropriate calcium in its diet. A male chicken (Rooster) does not need as much protein as laying hens. However, they do need additional protein during mating seasons.

One important thing to note is that extra calcium in the layer feed can cause kidney problems in non-laying chickens, weak legs, or even death. On the other hand, the deficiency of calcium can cause weakness and affect the development of eggs in hens. Hence, you must ensure the right amount of calcium in their meals every time you feed them. 

Oyster shells and limestones are a great source of much-needed calcium for your hen. Aragonite and other medical-grade feeds are also an integral part of a hen's diet. They protect the hen from any infection or parasite. Soluble calcium grit, eggshells, and calcium supplementation are among the best chicken feed for your egg-laying hens. 

A hen's protein need is around 16-18% of feed by weight, and her calcium need is about 2.5-3.5% of the meal by weight. Therefore, adding a small amount of milk separately to your hens' diet can satisfy its extra protein, magnesium, and calcium needs during her egg-laying period. Magnesium and calcium are essential for producing bones and solid shells of the hen's eggs. In addition, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are rich in magnesium and calcium.

Note that prebiotics and probiotics are a must in your hen's feed. Adding prebiotics and probiotics to their water improves hen's overall immunity and digestive health.

Chicken Feed Cost

It costs $0.15 to feed your chickens per day, with organic feed costing around $0.60 per pound. So if you provide 16% of layer feed found at local farm stores and organic feed, your chicken feed cost will be about $150 per month.

An approximate cost of chicken feed for sale is displayed below:-

  • Scratch grains $11
  • Pellets $17
  • Layered feed $22
  • Mealworm $6
  • Sunflower seeds $5
  • Probiotics $12
  • Wormtreats $7
  • Flaxseed scratch $12
  • Eggs $15
  • Starter feed $30
  • Green leafy feed $30
  • Pure organic feed $30

Looking for Chicken Feed?

Now that you know what, when, and how to feed your chickens, you must consider getting the best chicken feed for your flock. Fly Grubs offer premium quality chicken feed for sale, i.e., all-natural dried black soldier fly larvae, which can be fed to your chickens as healthy treats. 

Fly grubs are nutrient-dense treats with 40% crude protein, 27% crude fat, and 85 times more calcium than any other chicken feed for sale on the market. What's more? They raise their grubs on pre-consumer food waste, including fruits, vegetables, and grains. In addition, it comes in a resealable package made from recycled plastic, making it a truly sustainable, earth-friendly product.

Why wait? Order a pack of Fly Grub's all-natural, dried black soldier fly larvae for your flock from their website today. You can reach out to them for any queries at emily@flygrubs.com.  

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