You would probably have been hearing about different types of chicken feed; say starter geed, grower, or finisher. have you wondered why these chicken feeds are specific in action; I mean why you can’t feed day-old chickens grower or finisher at the initial stage of growth? Well, you are just the best resource as this article discusses the meaning and difference in all chicken feeds, explaining the nutritional composition of starter feed, grower feed, and finisher feed with respect to the growth stages of chickens.
Types of Feeds For Chicken
Feeds and feeding take about 75 percent of the total cost of poultry production; the type of feed fed to chickens determines the productivity of the chickens and the profitability of the poultry business. Poultry feeds come in different forms; they are pellets, mash, or crumbles. All these forms are made to reduce the particle size of the feed ingredients such that the chickens find it palatable and for better utilization.
Chickens have stages of growth and each stage requires different nutritional requirements, medication, and other management practices. There are different types of feed fed to chickens at each stage, they are the best feed for chickens at each stage of their growth; their composition contains what the birds actually need at that particular age.
In the poultry business, there are four types of chicken feeds namely:
All these feeds are formulated to perform distinct functions in the development or growth, both physiologically and metabolically, of the chickens’ system. These feeds are a function of the birds’ age. You do not just feed your chickens any type of feed because they are made of grains; day-old chicks cannot eat grower feed and layers of feed cannot be fed to broiler chickens and still expect good performance. These are wrong feeding programs; hence, you need to understand why you are feeding your laying chickens layers feed and why you feed day-old chicks starter diet.
1. What is a Starter feed?
You are familiar with the starter diet but do you know what it is called or what made it a starter diet?
A starter diet is the type of feed given to poultry birds from a day old to four (4) weeks and a day old to three (2) weeks for pullets and broilers respectively, during the brooding stage. A broiler is fast maturing meat-producing bird that attains market maturity at about six weeks of age, pullet is a young laying chick with a cockerel being the male sorted out of pullets, mature at 18 weeks.
At the age of a day old to 3-4 weeks for pullets and cockerels or three weeks for broilers, the birds need certain nutrients which only the starter diet can provide it.
Starting from the particle sizes, a starter diet has a relatively smaller particle with a large surface area; this gives room for proper digestion and utilization of the feed. Considering the nutritional composition of this diet, a starter is more nutritious and contains the nutrients required for the optimum growth of the chicks. A starter contains 18 percent crude protein for layers starter or cockerel and 22 percent crude protein for broilers with high-energy content.
Younger chicks need high crude protein content to build their immune system and tissues to make them fit as they grow. This diet is characterized by high nutrient content to aid the development of the birds.
2. What is Grower feed?
Grower feed is the feed given to pullets or cockerel at the age of five (5) to nineteen or twentieth (20) weeks for pullets and broiler at (4) five (5) weeks. The nutrient composition of this feed is low compared to the starter diet.
The grower feed for chickens contains 16 percent crude protein for pullets and 20 percent crude protein for broilers and high energy, the protein content has been reduced to the level required by the birds. The energy content is much because the birds are now grown and tend to perform more inherent or habitual activities that enervate them, therefore, they need additional energy to complement the used ones.
Although the grower feed is not usually fed to broiler chickens, in order to reduce the cost of production and maximize profit, you can include grower feed in the feeding program.
Is Grower Feed Good for Broiler?
Grower feed is a good option for broiler chickens when looking to reduce the cost of feeding. A grower diet contains between 16-18% protein and can be served between 3-5 weeks of age. This is less expensive than a finisher’s diet and can be used as an alternative to it. A grower diet can be used until 6 weeks of age when the chickens are ready to go into the finishing stage.
How Long Do You Feed Starter Grower?
Starter feed is usually given to baby chicks until they are 4 weeks old. The birds need a high-protein diet in order to grow quickly, and starter feed is specially formulated for this purpose. If you are looking for an alternative to starter feed, you could try feeding them layer feed instead.
Starter feed should be replaced with grower feed at 4 weeks of age. Grower feed has a higher ratio of nutrients and vitamins for growing chickens, but it is not as high in protein as starter feed. If your chicks are being raised for meat, you should stop feeding them starter when they are 6-8 weeks old and switch over completely to grower feed from thereon out.
3. What is Finisher feed?
This diet is the last feed given to broilers at the age of five (5) and six (6) weeks before the sale. The finisher feed provides the nutrients that will sum up the basic requirements of the birds. It contains 21 percent crude protein with high energy to sustain life.
At this age, they are ready for sale so the farmer might tend to reduce costs here. The diet is high in energy because the birds are much engaged in inherent activities. The protein content is lower than the starter because as the birds grow, their protein content decreases and energy increases.
What Is The Purpose Of Broiler Finisher?
Broiler finishers are used to raise and process broiler chickens, which are chickens that have been raised for meat. The purpose of broiler finishers is to help the chicken produce more meat and to prepare the chicken for slaughter. It is designed to help chickens reach their optimal weight, while also increasing their muscle development and growth rate. Chicken finisher feed is made from the same ingredients as other chicken feeds, but it has a higher protein content and lower fiber content than other types of feed.
The broiler finisher phase of the chicken’s life begins when they reach 6 weeks old, and it lasts until they are ready to be processed (which can take anywhere from 7-10 weeks). During this time, the chickens’ feed is supplemented with vitamins and minerals that allow them to grow at a fast rate, so they can be ready for processing sooner than other types of chickens.
Chicken finisher feed is a type of chicken feed that helps chickens develop their muscles and grow to maturity. It is used to increase the weight of a chicken and help it reach its full potential. Broiler finishers also help ensure that the chickens are healthy before they are processed by monitoring them regularly for signs of illness or injury.
Finishing feed is typically used for chickens that are close to slaughter age although it can be used for younger chickens as well to boost their growth. Finishing feed contains more protein than starter feed, but less fat than layer feed. It also has higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients than either starter or layer feeds.
How Long Should Broilers Eat Finisher Feed?
When it comes to broilers, you want to start giving them finisher feed from about 6 weeks to the point of slaughter. This will usually be 7- 8 weeks. Finisher feed is designed to give your birds the nutrients they need to grow as much as possible in a short amount of time. It has a high protein content but also contains vitamin E and selenium, which are both essential for maintaining healthy skin and feathers.
Read: Tips On How To Get Bigger Broiler Chicken
4. What is Layer feed?
Layer feed is a special feed formulated to aid egg production in laying birds; it is the best chicken feed for laying hens. The standard layer diet is given to laying birds at about twenty-two (22) weeks; one of the mistakes most poultry farmers make is that they give standard layer feed to laying birds at about seventeen (17) weeks when the birds are on their point of lay or probably just started laying.
Standard laying diet should not be fed to birds at the point of lay or during their first week of lay. Giving them layer feed at seventeen (17) weeks would not meet their nutrient requirement at that age thereby reducing their production potential in the long run.
As said earlier, a layer feed is specially formulated for laying birds. It is formulated such that, it aids their production. A layer diet has 17 percent crude protein and is high in calcium to aid shell formation. Some farmer feed layers grower feed; well, the hen would truly lay but not to their genetic potential. layer feed is what to feed chickens to lay eggs profitably.
Read: How To Know A Good Laying Chicken (Layers) With Pictures
What Is The Difference Between Starter And Finisher?
Chicken starters and finishers are two types of food that can be fed to chickens. Both are designed to help your birds grow up strong and healthy, but there are some differences between the two.
The chicken starter is a feed specially formulated for young chicks containing between 22-24% of Crude protein. The purpose of a starter is to meet the nutritional needs of newly hatched chicks until they reach maturity. The goal is to help them grow big and strong by giving them a lot of energy. The high level of protein in the starter helps ensure that the chick’s body is able to grow and develop properly, while also providing enough energy for them to keep up with their rapid growth.
Chicken finisher is also a high-protein feed that helps your chicken reach its full potential size. It’s less rich than the chicken starter but still has enough nutrients to keep them fit and healthy. Finisher feed contains at least 18% of Crude Protein and is designed for mature chickens at maturity for good weight gain. This type of feed contains all the nutrients needed by mature chickens to help them put on weight quickly before slaughtering.
What is the difference between grower feed and layer feed?
The difference between grower feed and layer feed is in their nutritional makeup.
The main difference between grower feed and layer feed is that grower feed is designed for young chickens, while layer feed is designed for adult chickens.
While this may seem obvious, it’s important to understand that a lot of people think of these terms as interchangeable. This can lead to a lot of confusion and problems down the road.
Grower feed is designed specifically for young chickens, who need more protein than older chickens do in order to grow quickly and stay healthy. Layer feed, on the other hand, has less protein than grower feed because older chickens need less protein per pound of body weight than younger birds do.
Grower feed is designed to help chicks grow into mature hens, and it’s generally less expensive than layer feed. The reason for this is that grower feed contains less protein than layer feed does, typically 16% versus 18% crude protein.
Layer feed is for laying hens, which have reached maturity age. It contains 18 percent protein, which is lower than grower feed but higher than most other types of poultry feed. Layer feed also contains more calcium than grower feed, which helps the hen lay her eggs. The reason for this is that layer feed contains more calcium than grower feed, which helps the hens produce eggs with higher quality shells.
You may also find these helpful:
- How To Rear Broiler Chickens For 6 Weeks At Low Cost
- Chicken Feeding Guide: For Broilers And Layers
- Causes Of Thin-shelled Or Soft Egg In Layers And How To Control It
In conclusion, feeding the chickens rightly in terms of giving preference to the types of feed fed to them makes the poultry business more productive. These feeds are formulated considering several factors such as age, physiological demand, and health.
8 thoughts on “Difference Between Starter, Grower, And Finisher Feeds”
Thanks so much
Am a farmer
Thank you ,pls how can I join your watup group
send your number to [email protected]
Would like to learn more on broiler chicken
I ran out of finisher for my birds and couldn’t get to buy and someone advised me to mix equal parts of starter and grower feeds to give me finisher feeds.
Is it ok to do so ?
What about chick mass