Is it unequivocally compulsory to give my new chicks “chick starter” feed? Any reason since we can’t simply give them “layer” feed right away? And what about oyster bombard — if a feed regulation is “complete,” as it says on a bag, do we need to addition with oyster shell?
Yes, it’s critical to start chicks on “starter” plan and afterwards switch them to “layer” plan about dual weeks before they start laying — typically during 16 weeks (for hybrids) to 22 weeks (for birthright breeds). The place where we acquired your chicks will be means to tell we either your birds are variety or birthright breeds.
“There is a large disproportion between a dual blurb formulations, and it matters,” says Harvey Ussery, author of The Small-Scale Poultry Flock. Ussery says starter feed has some-more protein — as most as 20 percent — that chicks need for healthy growth. Layer feed has reduction protein (about 16 percent) though some-more minerals, generally calcium, that is compulsory for producing clever eggshells. If we feed a high-calcium covering feed to your chicks, a additional calcium might means developmental problems, such as diseased legs, reproductive or kidney damage, or even death.
And while a calcium in blurb covering feeds is customarily adequate for mature hens, it’s still a good thought to addition with calcium-rich oyster shell.
“Commercial formulations assume a chickens are cramped and eating usually a blurb feed,” Ussery says. “If your birds are foraging outdoors, they are holding in other things besides their feed, so it’s probable they will need some-more calcium. By charity oyster shell, giveaway choice, they will take usually what they need. It’s inexpensive insurance.”
There are other reasons to give layers oyster shell, too. “The tangible volume of dietary calcium compulsory by any particular covering varies with her age, diet, rate of lay and state of health,” says Gail Damerow, author of The Chicken Encyclopedia. “Older hens, for instance, need some-more calcium than younger hens since laying depletes their skeleton of calcium. And with layers, a calcium addition such as oyster bombard can double as gizzard grit.”
— Vicki Mattern, Contributing Editor
Photo by Terrie Schweitzer