What’s in Chick Starter?

The golden crumble your new baby chicks are devouring -- chick starter -- was carefully formulated for their unique needs. But what’s in it?

As you might expect, a large component of chick starter is grains. Poultry have a unique digestive system that well suited for taking advantage of the nutrients found in these grains. These ingredients are carefully selected in order to support a baby chick’s nutritional needs:

  • Energy to support daily needs and growth.
  • Protein (including critical amino acids like Lysine) to support muscle growth and development.
  • Fiber for optimum digestion.
  • Vitamins and minerals to support rapid skeletal system growth and other essential functions.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common grains found in poultry feed.

  • Soybean meal. Consisting of dried and crushed beans from the soybean plant, soybean meal offers the highest concentration of protein of plant proteins, often 44-48%.
  • Canola meal. Consisting of dried and crushed seeds from the canola plant (noted for its beautiful yellow blooms), canola meal is also very dense in protein. It is often used in conjunction with soybean meal, or as a replacement, when soy is not desired in a formulation.
  • Corn. A go-to source for energy, cracked corn is often viewed as a pastoral, traditional form of poultry feed. However, as nutrition research has advanced, we now understand that a diet made entirely of corn is lacking in protein as well as essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Wheat midds. Never heard of them? We’re not surprised. Wheat midds are a by-product of the wheat milling process. By-products can sometimes be viewed as a filler or leftover, but in the case of poultry feeds, wheat midds make a great addition because they are a good source of energy, protein, and fiber. They also help create a nice pellet that holds together and reduces dust.

Besides grains, premium poultry feeds often contain value-added ingredients. Nutrena NatureWise poultry feeds, for example, contain the following:

  • Pre and probiotics. These feed additives benefit both microbes in the chicken’s gut and add beneficial bacteria to the existing population in the chicken’s digestive tract.
  • Vitamins and minerals. Just like humans, chickens need supplemental vitamins and minerals to help them stay healthy and perform regular body functions like seeing, growing, and eventually laying eggs.

When you're ready to get your baby chicks started with a quality feed, let our knowledgeable associates point you in the right direction. We're standing by to help!


NOTE: This post is adapted (with permission) from content proudly brought to you by our partners at Nutrena and Cargill Animal Nutrition. The original article appears here.

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