Chick starter feed works as a complete feed as it contains around 20-22% protein, 0.08% to 1% calcium, as well as many other nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, zinc, lysine, methionine, etc. These sources of nutrition make chickens stronger and help them to grow at a proper pace.
What ingredients in chick starter feed have? Chick starter feed contains grain-based ingredients, such as wheat, triticale, barley, oats, etc. It has plant-based proteins, like peas, lupine, lentils, beans, soybean, canola, sunflower, etc. Also, many animal-based proteins are included, such as meat meal, fish meal, blood meal, insect meal, and mealworms
What Grain Ingredients Used In Chick Starter Feed?
A chick starter feed contains various ingredients in a particular amount to provide all nutrients necessary for proper growth.
The followings are common ingredients a chicken starter has.
One of the most common ingredients is wheat, which has 94% to 96% energy content, similar to corn. It only lacks 5-7% of energy content than corn.
The main advantage of wheat is decreasing the probability of pro-ventriculitis and improving the workability of the gizzard.
It also improves their digestive tracts. They can fight against the coccidiosis challenge.
Manufacturers add wheat in chick starter feed as grain is very palatable for chicks.
They usually use hard red wheat and soft white wheat to create a more balanced nutrition level.
Besides, it contains dietary fiber to escape digestion and absorption in their tiny intestine.
Also, wheat has phytochemicals that improve the flavor and palatability of the overall taste.
Many manufacturers use triticale as an alternative to wheat. However, they add only a low-level inclusion because excessive triticale will negatively affect their health.
It contains around 16% to 18.3% of protein. Triticale has the same functionality as hard red wheat.
Triticale contains crude protein to improve immunity, develop new feathers, and ensure general body functions.
This ingredient has excellent digestible energy and can improve the microbial diversity in their digestive tract.
Besides, they have 0.39% lysine concentration, whereas corn has only 0.26%.
It is mainly a low-energy grain due to reduced starch content.
Reduced starch content can significantly drop the level of triglycerides and keep chickens’ hearts healthy.
However, it is a high fiber content to improve their digestive organ development, especially gizzard activity.
More importantly, chicks can digest food effortlessly without the help of grit.
Besides, barley contains groups of bioactive compounds that improve nutrient utilization efficiency and modulate their immune system.
Chickens will be less vulnerable to cancer, heart disease, and other diseases.
Experts recommend not feeding more than 113 to 150 grams of barley daily.
Baby chicks have a good amount of vitamins, protein, and antioxidants from oats.
Their biologically relevant molecules will be protected from getting damaged due to the presence of antioxidants.
Plus, it is high fiber content to stimulate their GIT development and enzyme production.
Oats also modulate beneficial microbiota in the small intestine and enhance their immune functions.
It contains around 10 – 17% of protein, depending on its type.
Manufacturers use a limited amount of oats in starter feed as it decreases the availability of dietary energy and other nutrients.
What Plant-based Proteins Chick Starter Feed Has?
Plant-based proteins are a good source of nutrition and can be sustainable and cost-effective.
The followings are the common plant-based proteins used in starter feed.
Another essential ingredient is peas. It contains calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and various vitamins.
Besides, peas have high levels of lysine, which is known as one of the most vital amino acids to optimize live production and meat yield.
The feed contains around 1.187% digestible lysine. Generally, a baby chick needs approximately 11.16 grams of lysine daily.
Many manufacturers use field peas (Pisum sativum) in chick starter feed that contains 20-29% crude protein.
Compared to other grain legumes, Lupine seeds have more protein.
Lupine has around 36-40% of protein. But the protein level becomes more balanced when mixed with other ingredients.
It works as a dietary protein supplement in baby chicks to improve their environmental adaptability and many other biological functions.
This high-quality plant protein doesn’t contain any gluten, as it reduces their feed intake and growth.
In addition, lupine has around 37% of dietary fiber to increase the muscular activity of the gizzard.
Lentils contain around 17.9% protein and 15.6% fiber.
Manufacturers properly prepare lentils before adding them to chick starter feed to ensure a good source of protein, potassium, and antioxidants.
Additionally, this plant-based protein has folate or folic acid to improve the body’s response to pathogens.
It also plays a crucial role in proper functioning carbohydrate and fat metabolism.
Other than these, lentils have energizing iron to bring energy to their brain, muscles, and all moving parts.
This edible legume contains vitamin B1 to provide a consistent metabolic energy supply and maintain a steady heartbeat.
Beans are a well-rounded diet for chickens. They can improve chickens’ feathers and help them maintain a healthy weight.
Manufacturers are a bit picky when it comes to adding beans into chick starter feed.
They don’t use any beans that have phytohaemagglutinin. This toxic ingredient affects the development of a baby chick’s immune system
Beans are cooked thoroughly to remove lectin, which can cause strokes and immune disorders.
Manufacturers usually use cooked or baked beans as they have high amounts of plant-based proteins. It can fulfill various dietary needs.
It is a high protein content, ranging from 44% to 49%. Soybean is well known for having a relatively consistent source of protein.
It has an excellent amino acid profile containing 20 common, proteinogenic amino acids.
Besides, soybean is highly palatable to attract baby chicks easily.
It has a nutrient-dense food to consume more purposeful calories and promotes a healthy metabolism by reducing overall body stress.
Manufacturers add soybean in chick starter feed as it is the cheapest protein form.
If you want to increase feed conversation rates and overall body weight gain of your baby chicks, select a starter feed with soybean content.
This rapeseed is a high protein content food. Besides, it has high levels of methionine, lysine, and arginine.
Methionine will develop a better immune system, increase muscle mass, and form new feathers.
Lysine is an essential amino acid that participates in protein synthesis and ensures a diversion synthesis of fat.
Its arginine will improve antioxidant capacity, alleviate oxidative stress, modulates lipid metabolism, and help the chicken body build protein.
Besides, it can improve baby chicks’ trabecular and cortical bone mineral densities.
Many manufacturers use 15% to 20% level of sunflower seeds in chick starter feed.
They contain 20.77% protein, 51.5% fats, and 8.5% fiber. Sunflower is also high-calorie based food that contains 585 calories of energy for every 100 grams.
Besides, sunflower seeds contain different minerals and vitamins to improve chickens’ immune systems and resistance capabilities to fight against viruses.
It has vitamin B to ensure normal nerve function and protect them from chronic respiratory disease.
Sunflower seeds also improve the feed conversion ratio. This ingredient can be crucial in raising chickens, especially for meat production.
What Animal-based Proteins Chick Starter Feed Has?
Chick starter feed contains various types of animal-based proteins other than plant-based proteins.
The followings are the common animal-based protein used in chick starter feed.
Regarding meat meal, manufacturers keep it limited to 5% because it contains increased calcium, phosphorus, and lysine.
Plus, a meat meal is one type of animal by-product. Chickens might be omnivores by nature. It means they can eat everything.
Due to minimal nutrient digestibility, manufacturers use them in limited amounts as it can affect their digestive system.
Meatmeal is a combination of meat and bone to provide chickens with a good amount of various essential nutrients.
02. Fish Meal
Fish meal is an excellent source of protein that contains 60% to 72% of crude protein.
Crude protein can play a crucial role in helping baby chicks grow in terms of size, muscle, and organs.
It will also promote strength and bone integrity and build the chick’s muscles.
In addition, a fish meal has unsaturated fatty acids, such as long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids.
It can regulate the immune system and play a key role in embryonic growth and chick tissue maturation.
Moreover, a fish meal has A, D, and B-complex vitamins and phosphorus.
B-complex vitamins will play a vital role in a healthy bird organism, and Vitamin D for Ca and P metabolism in their intestine and bones.
03. Blood Meal
A blood meal is highly palatable and a good protein and iron source. It usually contains 90%-95% of protein.
An adequate amount of iron in blood meals will contribute to the production of hemoglobin and the prevention of anemia in chicks.
Manufacturers generally add 3% to 5% of blood meal in starter feed. Blood meal increases the feed intake and live-weight gain of a baby chick.
Laying hens can also eat blood meals as it improves egg production and Fe content in yolks.
This type of animal-based protein is typically made from the blood collected during the slaughter of animals such as cattle, pigs, or poultry.
In addition, blood meal contains immunoglobulins, antibodies that can help boost baby chicks’ immune systems.
04. Insect Meal
Many dried insects are included in chick starter feed as it can improve their growth performance and nutrient digestibility. They have around 40% to 50% of protein.
Besides, insect meal contains more essential amino acids and omega fatty acids.
These ingredients play a crucial role in good health and productivity.
Besides, essential amino acids synthesize proteins within their body and produce enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract to ensure smooth digestion.
Its omega fatty acids will play a key role in metabolic functions in its body.
They will also help maintain enough fluidity and permeability in their cell membrane for optimally functioning cells.
Worms contain a dense source of protein, which can be around 55%.
Hence, a small number of mealworms will significantly increase their protein intake.
Baby chicks love to eat mealworms as it helps them to grow their feathers quickly.
Mealworms have zero toxins. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about health risks.
Besides, it contains all essential amino and fatty acids to avoid energy loss.
This highly protein-rich ingredient can keep your younger chickens happy, healthy, and strong.
Instead of typical worms, manufacturers generally use the larval stage of the darkling beetle (Tenebrio molitor).
Chick starter feed is a wholesome food for baby chicks. It contains highly nutritional ingredients to support bone health and immunity and ensures optimal health conditions.
Before choosing a particular option, make sure you read the label to learn what ingredients in chick starter feed are available. It should not contain any toxic or harmful substances.
If your baby chicks have any health issues, take suggestions from a certified poultry veterinarian to figure out the best chick starter feed based on your chicken’s size, age, and breed.