Starter grower chicken feed is a high-protein and energy ration designed for chicks up to ten weeks old. It comes in crumble form for easier consumption by small flocks than pellets.
Homesteaders often choose medicated starter/grower feed for their chicks that contains amprolium to prevent coccidiosis, to give them the best chance at becoming active laying hens with strong immunity to disease.
Medicated or Unmedicated?
Medicated feed contains amprolium to prevent coccidiosis that could otherwise prove fatal for young chicks, and this is especially crucial in humid environments where heat-and-humidity may pose a danger. Many keepers opt to use medicated feed initially while their chicks are young before switching over to non-medicated options once their immune systems have developed enough protection from disease.
Chicks are particularly susceptible to an intestinal parasite called coccidiosis, which flourishes in overcrowded, wet and dirty conditions. Signs include red or orange-colored feces as well as decreased feed consumption.
Feeding medicated complete feed like Purina Start & Grow can help protect chicks against coccidiosis by slowing the growth of oocysts while they develop immunity on their own.
However, for chicks that have been vaccinated against coccidiosis, medicated feed is no longer necessary, even in hot and humid environments. Feeding too much amprolium could negate the vaccination effects; additionally it won’t help them if an outbreak already occurred since medication works only as preventative. Instead I suggest using First Peep to establish strong digestive systems while simultaneously fighting disease outbreaks; its essential oils target only bad bacteria while feeding the good ones!
Crumbles or Pellets?
Once a flock reaches approximately 6-20 weeks old, it is time to switch them over to grower chicken feed, which contains less protein and calcium than chick starter food while providing your flock with additional essential vitamins and nutrients they require for health and productivity.
Grower chicken feed comes in both pellet and crumble forms, although pellets are typically only used as layer feed. Although each feed type differs slightly in texture, nutritionally they’re identical.
Pellet feed may cost more than crumble feed, but the manufacturing process tends to be cleaner and result in less waste. Furthermore, pellets may last longer in your feeder without clogging it as often, saving time in cleanup time and effort.
Crumble feed may be more prone to moisture retention and clog up in a gravity feeder, but it’s usually better for young birds and chicks. Their instinctual behavior allows them to forage through crumble mixes for nutrition in their environment more easily than larger particles; however, these smaller particles may prove challenging for picky chicken breeds or breeds to consume.
Feeding a Mixed Age Flock
Your flock’s diet is crucial to their overall growth, providing all necessary vitamins and nutrients. Each type of feed should be tailored specifically for its intended species – for instance, puppies should eat puppy food while kittens thrive when fed cat food.
Starter feed designed specifically for chicks is known as starter food and contains high levels of protein to build strong muscles and sharp minds in their baby chicks. Grower food should be given from 6 weeks up to 20 weeks of age as they reach maturity – it contains lower protein concentrations but still provides all the essential vitamins and nutrients for them to develop into active pullets or Mr. Rooster.
If your flock consists of both young chicks and older laying hens, consider feeding a combination of unmedicated starter/grower feed with free-choice oyster shell or crushed eggshell for egg production, giving older hens access to calcium rich foods while giving young chicks protein rich starter/grower for feather development and bone health. Track their dates of reaching laying age so you can switch over when necessary.