Laying hens need types of food that are protein-rich and have high calcium levels with the purpose of laying strong eggs. However, not every food is suitable to feed the hens.
Chick starter is food for baby chickens that contains a high nutritious content. So, what are the advantages of using chick starter? And can laying hens eat chick starter? Let’s find the answer right now!
What is chick starter?
Chick starter is a type of feed that provides all essential nutrients for a day-old layer chickens to 8 weeks of age. This is a mixture of whole-grain or slightly cracked grains, so it is full of protein, energy, vitamins, and minerals to promote the strong and healthy development of fluffy newcomers.
Starter feed is really important to baby chickens, especially from birth to the first eight weeks. Young chickens always need more protein in order to develop their bone and support their immunity rapidly at the very start. Therefore, the high protein content, usually between 20-24% in chick starter will meet their dietary requirements.
Besides, chick starter is produced in the form of crumbles. So, it can reduce feed wastage and it is easy for small chickens to peck and digest them easily.
Can laying hens eat chick starter?
Now that you completely know the benefits of chick starter to baby chickens. So, it makes sense that many people wonder if they can feed laying hens chick starter as well?
This answer is yes. A hen can eat chick starter feed. But chick feed isn’t really perfect for layers – too much protein and not enough calcium. All laying hens require an extra amount of calcium for strong bones and creating eggshells. Using chick starter alone is not an adequate calcium source for chickens to lay eggs. In this case, you need to get calcium supplements for hens from other sources.
Keep in mind, layers can eat chick starter but a chick shouldn’t eat chicken layer feed. In the feed of laying hens, the amount of calcium is too much but the protein is not enough for babies.
The additional protein in chick starter won’t hurt adult chickens for a short time. However, if chickens absorb calcium in high content in layer feed, it will make their digestive system unhealthy and cause a lot of health issues.
The benefits laying hens can get out of chick starter
Sources of superior nutrition
Chick starter is formulated from a selection of natural ingredients such as wheat, corn, peas, soybeans, canola, oats,… So, it contains a high percentage of protein to support weight gain and muscle development.
Moreover, starter feed is also fortified with vitamins & minerals. The group of essential vitamins & minerals such as A, D3, E, K, B12, calcium, phosphorus, zinc,…will be good for the growth of a flock of chickens.
Of all the vitamins, there is folate that helps prevent embryo loss during the incubation’s late state. So it would make a nice treat for laying hens.
A lack of calcium and vitamin D may cause weak, porous, and fragile bones, which may cause fractures in chicken bones, especially in old or adult chickens.
However, the calcium can damage the chickens’ kidneys if consumed too much. But for chick starter, this won’t happen because all of the ingredients are mixed together properly.
Protection from common diseases
Chick Starter has two different kinds of feed: medicated and non-medicated feed. The medicated feed has an amount of amprolium which helps chickens prevent coccidiosis. This is one of the most common intestinal diseases that young chickens are vulnerable to.
However, chickens that have received the coccidiosis vaccine should not use medicated chick starter. Amprolium will render the vaccine inactive and the chickens are prone to this disease.
Furthermore, some weather conditions can create an ideal environment for the development of cocci. Having a good diet and supplement of herbs such as apple cider vinegar (a natural probiotic) and garlic (a natural herb with antibiotic properties) can help them fight off coccidia.
How to care for laying hens properly
A balanced diet will help your chickens have sufficient energy for laying eggs. The standard amounts of nutrients are protein content between 16-20% and added omega-3. Protein is vital for hens to maintain their energy level to continue to grow and lay. Omega-3 makes eggs more nutritious.
Besides, layer feed should have probiotics as well. Prebiotics and probiotics can boost the immune and digestive system. While calcium and magnesium are needed for strong shells and bones.
Also, keep in mind that you should let your flocks stay warm in cold climates or cool off in the heat of summer.
Instructions for using chick starter
- Use chick starter crumbles continuously as the sole ration to chickens from 0 to 8 weeks
- Ensure fresh, clean water at all times. Water intake is 2-3 times their chick starter intake.
- Chick starter is perishable, so store it in a cool, dry space and keep them away from rodents and insects.
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So, can laying hens eat chick starter? Of course, the answer is yes. But you need to pay attention to supplement their diets with something that has high levels of calcium. Having enough nutrients will make laying hens create strong eggshells.
To sum up, chick food provides a wide range of essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein,… which is good for baby chickens’ bone health and digestive health in the first few months of life. It is also known as an aid to prevent coccidiosis thanks to amprolium substance in chick starter.
We hope that you will obtain much useful knowledge through the above-shared information.