What to feed chicken

At different stages in their life chickens have different nutritional needs. Moreover, chickens reared for meat and chickens reared for eggs also have different nutrient needs. Your chicken feeding schedule should satisfy these needs. What then is the difference between these feeds? What’s the difference between
starter mash, growers mash and layers Mash. How long should your chicken feed on each type of feed? Let us now see what to feed chicken.

First deal with broilers because they are special.

What to feed Broiler chicken

Broiler chickens have special feeding considerations because of their immense feed conversion and rapid growth. Generally, to reach a market weight of 1200g to 1500g in six weeks, broilers need to be fed day and night on feed rich in protein and starch. They also need to be supplemented as necessary with vitamins and minerals for their health and to increase their feed conversion. In these six weeks, broilers change feed only once from starter to finish

What is broiler starter feed?

A broiler starter is a feed formulated to feed broilers for the first 4 weeks.  The broiler starter feed can be either a  mash or crumps. This feed is formulated for rapid growth.

Broiler finisher

For the last 2 weeks, broilers are fed on what is called broiler finisher. The feed is formulated to make them gain weight and make their meat firmer.

Broiler supplements (chick boost/chick starter)

At a day old, broiler chicks are given a little supplement in their water to relieve stress and encourage feeding. The supplement may be called chick boost or chick starter (name depending on the manufacturer


Layers are chicken reared purely for purposes of producing eggs. These chickens are genetically placed to produce a lot of eggs and therefore their nutritional needs are different from those of broilers.

In their lifetime Layers change feed twice. Chick mash, growers mash then layers mash.

Chick Mash/ chick crumps

Chick mash or crumps is the feed formulation given to infant birds from day-old to nine weeks.

Growers Mash

Growers mash is formulated for layers pullets from 6 weeks to 18 weeks.

Layers Mash

Layers mash is formulated for birds that are laying or about to start laying. This is from 18 weeks onwards. This is important because the calcium in layers mash can turn excess in non-laying birds.

Supplement for layers

When you receive your day-old chicks then give them a chick boost or any search stress relief. Continue with this supplement in their water for up to seven days. Also, give them a little liquid oil in their water to reduce the chances of constipation or vent blocking.

As growers give them vitamins as required by observation.

In their Layers stage give them Di-calcium phosphate (DCP) as necessary to compensate for any calcium deficiency observed.

Kienyeji Chicken

Kienyeji chickens change feed once. Chick mash-Kienyeji mash

From day old to around eight weeks give your kienyeji flock chick mash.

From 9 weeks give your kienyeji flock kienyeji mash.


A farmer who keeps improved indigenous chicken may want to confirm with the supplier whether there are any feed considerations peculiar to the breed.

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