What to Feed Chickens After Chick Starter (A Look at Grower Feed)

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What To Feed Chickens After Chick Starter

If your chicks are going to be layer chicks (so you’re raising them to lay eggs), then you want to feed them grower feed (Amazon) from the ages of 6 to about 16 weeks old (or until they lay eggs).

If your chickens are already passed this age and they’re laying eggs, skip to this section: What To Feed Chickens After Grower Feed? (After 16 to 20 Weeks of Age)

But, if your chickens aren’t laying eggs yet, keep reading to learn what the best grower feed is for your chicks, if grower feed is suitable for meat birds, if you should give your chickens grit with their feed, and more!

What Is the Best Grower Feed for Chicks?

From about 6 weeks old to around 16 to 20 weeks old, you should be feeding your chickens some kind of high-quality grower feed (Amazon) until they start laying eggs.

The best grower feed for chickens is feed that’s filled with complete proteins (around 18%), amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.

Often you can find feed that’s good for both chicks and pullets, often called starter grower or start & grow feed.

Is Grower Feed Good for Broiler Chicks?

Broiler chickens (chickens raised for meat) require a higher-level protein feed (Amazon) than grower feed. For maximum growth, they require a meat bird feed (approx. 22%-25%).

Most meat bird keepers will suggest offering meat birds unlimited feed 24/7 for the first 2-3 weeks and then 12 hours with feed and 12 hours without afterward until they reach slaughter weight.

What To Feed Chickens After Grower Feed? (After 16 to 20 Weeks of Age)

Once chickens start laying eggs (at around 16 to 20 weeks), they require around 16% protein in their feed. You should feed your hens layer feed (Amazon) to help them in their egg-laying. (Don’t feed this to your non-laying hens).

How Much Grower Feed Do Chicks Eat?

Instead of me trying to figure out how much each of my chickens needs to eat, I’ve always free-fed my chickens. That means they have access to food throughout the day.

If they’re hungry, they’ll eat. When they’re not hungry, they’ll stop eating.

I trust that they know how much food they need to stay healthy. In my personal experience, none of my chicks, pullets, and egg-laying hens have ever been overweight.

However, if you plan on measuring their food, there’s plenty of information in my post: How Much to Feed Chickens per Day (Amount in Cups, Kg, Lbs)

Grower Feed + Grit = Healthy Chickens

It’s very important that chickens have access to poultry grit (Amazon) if anything other than commercial feed is offered.

Grit is the term for tiny stones. Chickens keep it in their gizzards to help them grind up the food they forage.

Free-ranging chickens may get enough grit naturally if they have access to soil. But confined chickens, including chicks in brooders, should be given grit if they’re given table scraps or treats.

Make sure that the grit is the appropriate size for the age of the chicken (read the packaging carefully). Chicks need chick grit (Amazon), which is finer than grit given to older chickens.

Need more information about grit? Check out my post: Do Chickens Need Oyster Shells and Grit?

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Summary: What Do You Feed Chickens After Chick Starter

  • If your chicks are going to be layer hens, then you want to feed them grower feed (Amazon) from the ages of 6 to about 16 weeks old (or until they lay eggs).
  • The best grower feed for chickens is feed that’s filled with complete proteins (around 18%), amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Broiler chickens require a higher-level protein feed (Amazon) than grower feed. For maximum growth, they require a meat bird feed (approx. 22%-25%).
  • Once chickens start laying eggs, they require around 16% protein in their feed (Amazon).
  • It’s very important that chickens have access to poultry grit (Amazon) if anything other than commercial feed is offered.