Some breeds of chickens grow and reach egg-producing maturity much more quickly, while others traditionally grow and mature at a slower pace. So, questions come up about whether it makes sense to prolong the use of chick feed, grower, etc. The simple answer is that it depends.
There is not an exact science to feed choice or length of time each feed phase should be maintained. Factors such as cost, age and size of flock, philosophies and other goals all need to be considered.
Agriculture production levels may require developing more rigid phase and feeding schedules just to maintain processes and profitability. Backyard or urban farming, however, may allow much more flexibility and, in some cases, may be the only way to achieve a desired outcome.
Many people want access to organic poultry and eggs to reduce exposure to GMOs and to avoid unnecessary pesticides and toxins. Those needs might be satisfied by commercially available products in the general marketplace. But clients who want soy-free or corn- and soy-free poultry and eggs will likely be unable to find them at their local big-box or grocery store. The only options for these consumers will likely be raising chickens themselves or finding local producers who put those qualities over profitability.
Ultra-specific goals like these will reduce feed choices and may affect production and costs. Soy-free feeds may meet the goal of avoiding soy, but there can be tradeoffs in the areas of quality of protein and amounts of amino acids. Lowering the amino acids may also reduce egg production, which could increase the amount of time, cost and birds needed to reach the same overall production goals.
The feeding of flocks for specific goals isn’t necessarily an exact science, but if it starts to feel complicated, reach out to Chris Wagner at 209-523-9167 ext.9107 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He will help you simplify the process and reach your goals.