The best type of chick start feed is crucial to help your chirping yellow fluffy balls grow into healthy, egg-producing hens. High-quality starter food—sometimes called crumbles—should contain plenty of protein, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Some varieties of chick starter feed include medication to help prevent outbreaks of the potentially fatal coccidiosis.
Understanding Chick Starter Feed
Chick starter feed is a specially formulated type of feed designed to meet the unique nutritional needs of young chicks during their crucial early stages of development. Typically given to chicks from day one up to six to eight weeks of age, this feed is essential for providing the necessary nutrients to support their rapid growth and overall health.
Chick starter feed comes in various forms, including crumbles and mash, making it easy for young chicks to consume and digest. This early nutrition lays the foundation for strong, healthy, and productive adult chickens, making it a vital aspect of successful poultry rearing.
Advantages of Feeding Chick Starter Feed to Your Chickens
1/ Optimal Nutrition for Growth:
Young chicks have specific nutritional requirements that differ from adult chickens. Chick starter feed is formulated with higher protein levels (usually around 18-20%) to support rapid growth, feather development, and overall body development during their early stages. This protein-rich diet promotes healthy bone and muscle growth, allowing chicks to reach their full potential.
2/ Balanced Vitamins and Minerals:
In addition to high protein content, chick starter feed contains essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin D3, vitamin E, and calcium. These nutrients are crucial for proper bone formation, immune system support, and overall vitality. A balanced diet during the early stages ensures chicks develop into robust and resilient birds.
3/ Easy to Consume and Digest:
Chick starter feed is typically offered in small crumbles or mash, which is easy for young chicks to consume and digest. The small particle size reduces the risk of choking and ensures chicks receive the nutrients they need without wastage.
4/ Promotes Feather Development:
Young chicks require adequate protein to develop strong and healthy feathers. Proper feathering is essential for maintaining body temperature and protecting chicks from the elements. Chick starter feed’s high protein content aids in developing a well-feathered, robust plumage.
5/ Supports Immune System Development
The first few weeks of a chick’s life are critical for immune system development. Chick starter feed contains essential nutrients that contribute to a strong immune response, reducing the likelihood of diseases and illnesses during their vulnerable early stages.
6/ Convenient and Time-Saving:
Using chick starter feed eliminates the need to create homemade feed mixes, ensuring that your chicks receive a well-balanced diet without the guesswork. This convenience saves time and effort, allowing you to focus on other aspects of chick care and farm management.
Feeding chick starter feed to your young chicks is a wise investment in their future health and productivity. This specially formulated feed provides the essential nutrients they need during their critical growth period, setting the stage for healthy, robust, and thriving adult chickens. With chick starter feed, you can confidently raise your chicks and watch them flourish as they grow into happy and productive members of your free-range flock.
If you’ve just started raising chicks, or you’re an experienced breeder, it can be challenging to find the best chicken starter feed. Manufacturers are always coming out with new and improved starter feeds. So, it’s not always easy to find a feed that is suitable for chicks and small poultry. But, buying a high-quality starter feed is vital if you want to give your chickens the best start in life.
Comparison of Chick Starter Feeds
To help you make an informed choice when buying the best chick starter feed, we’ve examined the best products currently on the market. We have selected only feed and crumble mixes that are suitable for chicks.
1. Purina Start and Grow Non-Medicated Chick Feed Crumbles
Purina is a brand leader when it comes to high-quality poultry feed. This pack of non-medicated starter crumbles contains complete nutrition for chicks up to eight weeks old. The chick starter feed has prebiotics and probiotics, as well as vitamins A and E, to support healthy growth. These nutrients also help to strengthen hens’ immunity naturally.
This top chick feed contains 18% protein and no animal by-products or artificial filler. The crumble mix encourages regular feeding for your chicks to grow into healthy layers. Also, marigold extract promotes brightly-colored beaks.
- Contains prebiotics and probiotics to support immunity and digestive health
- A top-brand product that consistently gets positive reviews
- Non-medicated feed for mixed flocks
- Purina also sells a medicated variety of the same starter feed
- High price compared to similar products
- Some users complain that the crumble mix is too powdery
2. Manna Pro Chick Starter Feed, 5 Pound, Non‑Medicated, for Chicks Ducklings and Goslings
Manna Pro is another leader in the chicken and poultry feed market. This non-medicated chick starter feed is ideal for chicks up to 8 weeks old. The feeding mix contains all the vitamins, minerals, and protein that encourage healthy chick growth. This non-medicated starter feed doesn’t contain antibiotics.
Many chicken breeders choose Manna Pro poultry feeds due to their wide range of products. As well as a non-medicated chick starter feed, the company produces supplements, treats, and grit. You can also find USDA-certified organic and non-GMO feeds.
- Chick starter feed that’s ideal for mixed flocks
- Fortified with minerals and vitamins for healthy growth
- 18% protein for enhanced weight gain
- Free from medication
- More expensive than some other popular chicken feed brands
- Users say that the crumble mix tends to turn into powder
3. Purina Organic Starter Feed for Chicks
This organic chick starter feed is the perfect solution to raise strong, healthy hens using chemical-free solutions. Purina organic starter feed is USDA-certified and contains ingredients grown without using fertilizers, pesticides, or GMO crops. This high-quality chicken starter mix contains 38 essential nutrients to support healthy growth in the first eight weeks.
Vitamins A, B, D, E, and K, as well as marigold extract, ensure that your chicks grow well and look healthy.
- One of the best organic chick starter feeds on the market
- Contains 18% protein for healthy muscle and feather development
- USDA-certified for organic ingredients
- Purina is well-known for high-quality poultry feed
- Compared to other brands, this feed pack is expensive
4. Manna Pro Chick Starter Medicated Chick Feed Formulated with Amprolium
For large flocks of baby poultry birds, this medicated starter feed for chicks is a top choice. This feed mix is a starter-grower mix that is suitable for chicks from 0 to 16 weeks. This means that you don’t need to swap chicks from a starter to grower feed after eight weeks. The starter feed contains an ideal balance of vitamins and minerals as well as 18% protein to promote healthy growth.
Amprolium is the industry-standard anticoccidial drug to prevent disease in young poultry. This compound is safe to use and doesn’t require any withdrawal time when changing to layer feeds.
- Crumbles are the right size to encourage feeding
- Help builds up immunity to coccidiosis
- Fortified with all the necessary ingredients for healthy chick development
- Contains 18% protein to support weight gain muscle growth
- Economical price
- The crumbles easily turn to powder
- Some buyers complain that they received expired products from Manna Pro
5. Small Pet Select Garden Goodness Starter Feed
This all-natural, organic, non-GMO chick starter feed is an excellent choice to raise healthy chicks without medication or chemicals. The chick feed contains a whopping 22% protein and is suitable for any type of poultry chicks—hens, turkeys, geese, or ducks. Another advantage of this high-quality starter feed is that it is 100% corn- and soy-free.
The seed and legume mix contains organically-grown peas, oats, seeds, millet, fish kelp, and wheat. There is also a hefty dose of omega-3 fatty acids to promote healthy growth.
- Suitable of all types of chicks from hatching to eight weeks old
- Only contains non-GMO products and is free from corn and soy
- Excellent value for money considering this is an organic product
- Provides the right amount of calcium for chicks
- The pellet feed is a bit too large for tiny, newly-hatched chicks
6. Scratch and Peck Organic Starter Chick Feed Non-GMO Verified
Unlike other chick starter feeds in this review, the chick feed by Scratch and Peck is a mixture of organic seeds in their natural—not pellet—form. This raw and unprocessed feed is as about as close as your chicks will get to natural starter feed. All ingredients are certified as organic, non-GMO, and the feed doesn’t contain any soy or corn.
The unpelletized feed represents optimal nutrition for healthy chicks to grow into layers. The seed mix contains enough protein for chicks to develop, without the stress of chemicals and antibiotics feed.
- The most natural type of chick starter feed on the market
- Excellent for starters as well as growers
- Contains 16% of naturally-sourced protein, calcium, vitamins, and minerals
- Raise wholesome and organic chickens
- High-quality poultry feed
- Expensive compared to other starter feeds
7. K Kalmbach Feeds 18% Start Right Chick Feed
The starter feed from K Kalmbach contains the right balance of nutrients to feed chicks from hatching until laying. With this feed, there is no guesswork when to change from starter to grower feed. The natural starter feed contains essential prebiotics, probiotics, and enzymes to give your chicks the best start in life. This chick starter feed also includes the ideal blend of vitamins and minerals to support healthy growth.
- Contains a wide variety of nutrients and minerals
- Reasonable price, considering this is an all-natural starter feed
- Rich in probiotics for excellent digestive health
- High protein levels as well as Lifeguard for better chick health
- Only comes in a large 50 lbs (22 kg) bag which may be too much for some chick breeders
- Not all-natural ingredients non-GMO certified
8. Healthy Harvest Chick Starter Grower Crumbles
This chick starter feed from Healthy Harvest contains 20% protein to help chicks grow muscle and develop well. The feed is a non-GMO certified product that contains digestive enzymes, prebiotics, and probiotics. This starter feed helps chicks thrive for 16 weeks until you change to layer feed. The feed is a non-medicated variety and suitable for most poultry chicks.
- High protein content for layers or meat poultry
- Free from antibiotics
- Contains soy and cornmeal as cheap fillers
FAQ’s About Chick Starter Feed
How long do you feed chickens starter chick food?
Generally, chicks should eat starter feed until they are around eight weeks old. The starter chick food contains all the necessary nutrients for small fluffy chickens to grow into laying eggs. Some combination starter chick food is suitable for feeding chicks up to 16 weeks old. So, check out some starter/grower feeds.
Can laying hens eat chick starter food?
It’s okay for adult hens to eat starter chick feed—but only for a short time. Feed for laying hens has plenty of calcium and less protein. This combination is just the opposite of what chick feed contains. So, don’t feed chicks a feed mix that is designed for laying hens.
When should I switch from starter to grower feed?
Switch to grower feed when chicks are about eight weeks old. The grower feed contains fewer nutrients because growth slows down after eight weeks until 16 weeks when hens generally become layers. After laying eggs, hens need a layer feed that contains more calcium than protein.
Should I use a medicated or non-medicated chick starter?
It’s a personal choice whether to use non-medicated or medicated starter feed. Most experts recommended using a medicated starter, especially if you have large batches of chicks. Compounds in medicated feeds help prevent outbreaks of coccidiosis in chicks and promote healthy growth. When your chickens have been vaccinated they will not require to have medicated chick starter. If you’ve only a handful of chicks, a non-medicated starter feed is generally okay, if you have a suitable chick feeder, which reduces the risk of contamination.
How much chick starter food should I feed per chick?
The amount to feed chicks depends on whether they will be layers or used for meat. According to some sources, chicks need about 2.2 lbs (1 kg) of starter feed in their first three weeks. Chicks raised for meat production can eat up to 9 lbs (4 kg) of starter, grower, and finisher feed to reach maturity.
How many times per day do I feed my chickens?
Chickens eat small amounts of feed throughout the day. It’s usually best to provide feed in the morning and then in the afternoon. Chickens don’t overeat, so you don’t need to worry about over-feeding them. However, remember that food left out overnight can attract rodents and other animals.
What is the difference between chick starter and growers feed?
After chicks are six weeks old, they need a suitable feed to meet their nutritional requirements. The difference between grower feed and a starter crumbles is that the protein content is lower. Starter feed should have a lot more protein and less calcium than growers feed.
The Top Chick Starter Feed: Conclusion
When choosing the best type of chick starter feed, the main things to choose from are medicated or non-medicated feed. If you have a large brood of chicks—50 or more—then high-quality medicated feed can help prevent outbreaks of disease. However, many types of non-medicated, organic starter feeds contain plenty of protein and nutrients to grow healthy, disease-resistant birds.
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