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Feeding schedules for chickens

Poultry feeds are referred
to as "complete" feeds, because they are designed to contain all the
protein, energy, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients necessary for proper
growth, egg production, and health of the birds. Feeding any other ingredients,
mixed with the feed or fed separately, upsets the balance of nutrients in the
"complete" feed. Feeding additional grain or supplement with the
complete poultry feed is not recommended.

Feed chicks a
"starter" diet soon after they hatch. Continue feeding the starter
feed until they reach 6 or 8 weeks of age. The starter diet has the highest
level of protein a chicken receives during its lifetime. As the chick matures,
it requires a lower percentage of dietary protein and a higher level of energy.

After the chicks reach 6 or
8 weeks of age, feed them a "finisher" diet (to broilers) or a
"developer" diet (to pullets or cockerels saved for breeding
purposes). Feed broilers a finisher diet until they reach slaughter size. Feed
the pullets and cockerels a developer until they are at least 20 weeks of age.
When egg production starts, feed them a "layer" ration until egg
production ends.

The minimum requirements for
protein, calcium, and phosphorus in poultry feeds are shown. Remember, chickens
saved for egg production are fed pullet-type diets, not broiler diets,
regardless of being from broiler or egg-type stock.

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By the Mississipi State
University Extension

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