View Full Version : Good chicken feed

Mar. 23, 2012, 04:28 PM
I KNOW this has been discussed, I remember someone recommending Purina's Layena (or something like that) as a good brand, but the search isn't working :(

I just got 8 chicks - 2 coming up on 2 weeks, 6 coming up on 1 week. So, for now, the're on a medicated feed (Manna Pro Chicken Starter), and it says to keep them on that until they are 8 weeks. Can the older ones stay on it for 9 weeks? That would keep them all on the same schedule.

Once they reach 8/9 weeks, what then? 3 of these are Sex-links and I've been told they'll start laying around 20 weeks. I need to use something with more calcium, correct?

These will be intended to be free range during the day, in a coop at night.

Southern States is by far the most convenient, if that helps. My feed mill has a variety, but I can't tell you atm what they have, other than I saw they have the Layena (or whatever LOL). They have most any Purina product, though I'm fairly anti-Purina unless you can prove to me it's a good one :))

If it makes a difference, I have Sex-links, an Australorp, a RIR, a Chochina cross, a Naked Neck, and either an Easter Egg or an Americauna.

Mar. 23, 2012, 06:03 PM
I feed the basic layer pellet that is my feed store's brand (Del's). It's 10 lbs more for a few bucks less that Purina. My girls lay and look great - we even got 3 best of breeds at the fair so they must be doing fine on it :)

I'm sure your local feed store has a generic layer pellet as well. I supplement this with veggie ends and all kinds of treats from the kitchen. They basically eat all of our leftovers that we aren't going to get to (as long as it doesn't contain chicken cuz that creeps me out).

The older ones are totally fine on the starter until 9 weeks - no worries there. You're about right on laying age for the breeds you have. I'm assuming these were purchased from a feed store (hatchery birds) or directly from the hatchery? You may get some a that start earlier and some a few weeks later but hatchery chicks are bred for laying so 20 weeks is a good estimate. Heritage and other breeds (Silkies, for example) purchased from a breeder often take MUCH longer to start laying. I have a batch of Silkies that hatched out in July or August and still haven't shown the first signs of laying :rolleyes:

Mar. 23, 2012, 06:11 PM
These were given to me by a wonderful friend! :D She hatched some of them, and she trades with another friend so she knows when those were hatched as well, so I'm very confident of the dates. My friend bought the eggs to hatch (and the batch didn't hatch true to what they were supposed to be LOL but she knows what they are), and HER friend raises eggs for hatching so they were always known as to their status.

It was an awesome trade - she brought chickies, and I sent her away with buckets full of volunteer plants that I just HATE killing but cannot keep.

I do plan to offer them any veggies we don't eat, but I do keep a compost so would like to still keep some for that. I DO want to share though :) We're growing a Bunch O' Veggies this year, so there will be plenty to go around. I may even set up another plot next year as a Chicken Garden :)

I'm very good at reading labels for cats/dogs/horses - what are the look-fors for chicken feed?

Ridge Runner
Mar. 23, 2012, 06:24 PM
I won't use medicated feed on poultry. Start and Grow by Purina is non medicated and perfectly fine for them. If you keep the coop clean, litter dry and water clean, you will not need medication. All that medicated feed is doing is helping breed antibiotic resistant germs. I never use antibiotics unless I have a sick animal...period. Your chooks are going to be able to have plenty of room, fresh air, sunshine and will be perfectly fine without it.

Nutrena makes a good chick starter as does Blue Seal...all are non medicated.

I keep pullets on chick starter until they are close to 16 weeks. Then I switch over to layer mash at a lower protein. I, of course, see that they get plenty of bugs, plant matter and good scratch grains daily. Once they start laying, they will need oyster shell. Also offer them grit when they are about a month old.

Mar. 23, 2012, 06:43 PM
I know, I thought about that medicated thing but at the time I had no other option - chicks were coming, that's all the starter I had available at the time. This bag isn't going to last more than a couple of weeks, so the next bag will be non-medicated :)

When do you start the bugs/plants/scratch grains (they are....?) Can I toss some maimed stinkbugs in there now? :D

Ridge Runner
Mar. 23, 2012, 08:55 PM
I'd toss in bugs and greens now. They'll peck at them. I generally get my chicks out by 5 weeks in a protected outside pen. They will be fully feathered by then and able to take most weather.

Mar. 23, 2012, 09:51 PM

Mar. 23, 2012, 09:59 PM
oh oh, I just discovered I can feed them CHICKWEED! :lol: :lol:

I just find that really, really funny.

I also happen to have about 800lb of it growing in my flower beds :mad: :mad: Can I teach them to "hunt" chickweed? Man, I could rent them out to clear out flower beds...

Ridge Runner
Mar. 23, 2012, 10:57 PM
Oh Yes! They Love that stuff. It's edible to people also. it grows like crazy this time of the year. I give it to my ducklings too and they chow down on it.

They will clear your flower beds of everything to include your good plants probably.

Mar. 24, 2012, 04:48 AM
I feed my pullet chicks starter (organic, non-medicated, whole grain) until they hit 15-16 weeks and then I switch them to layer feed (organic, pelleted). If you're going to give them greens and other scraps before you give them access to dirt, you should give them some chick grit. You can usually get it at the feed store by the pound. They don't need much, but it will help them digest the extras and keep them from getting the runs. If they have access to dirt, they'll find their own.

Have fun! I've got 15 one week old pullet chicks out in my shed right now. I think they're graduating from a big box to the full shed on Sunday. And then I'll probably open the door to the yard when they hit 3 weeks and can no longer fit through the fence (it's 2"x2" wire).

Mar. 24, 2012, 09:35 AM
Oh thanks for the grit tip - I'll get some today :)

Mar. 24, 2012, 10:01 AM
I feed Blue Seal products and am quite happy with them. I start with the Medicated Chick Starter and then at about 8 weeks switch them to Grower-Cal until first egg, then they get switched to Layer. The brand you choose will indicate what to feed your chickens and when to switch etc. Good luck.

Mar. 24, 2012, 07:00 PM
Thanks! I got the grit just a bit ago, put some on a deep lid, and they were all atwitter with it :lol: