WASHINGTON — An apple a day keeps the doctor away. No dessert before dinner. Eat your vegetables! Do you remember hearing these phrases at the dining room table while growing up? Although you may have hated brussels sprouts, these wise words had the best intentions: Eat healthy, so you can grow strong.
Patrick Biggs, Ph.D., a flock nutritionist for Purina Animal Nutrition, says he gives advice with the same intent to backyard chicken raisers.
“Lifetime success begins on day one,” he says. “It all starts with chick nutrition and care. Baby chicks need 38 unique nutrients to grow into happy, healthy hens. Each of these nutrients – and the proper balance of them – plays a role in growth, performance and flock happiness.”
Success starts on day one
Your mother’s advice to eat more vegetables wasn’t just something to roll your eyes at. A balanced diet supports life-long health and well-being.
Industry research shows the long-term impact of early nutrition on lifetime health and performance . The same holds true for backyard chickens. Feeding chicks for a strong start can better equip them for a lifetime of success .
“Just like people and other animals, chicks need a strong start to grow into happy, healthy adults,” says Biggs. “Many people begin raising backyard chickens for farm fresh eggs, but before the first egg arrives, early chick nutrition is the foundation.”
Early nutrition develops the digestive tract and builds a healthy immune system, ultimately improving chick growth. Biggs says providing chicks a complete starter-grower feed is key.
“Chicks grow quickly, doubling their hatch weight in the first week and growing up to seven times their hatch weight in the first month,” continues Biggs. “This early growth requires the correct balance of nutrients.”
What to look for in a starter-grower feed
Each of the 38 nutrients in a complete feed plays a unique role in chick growth and development. Some nutrients directly impact bone, skeletal and chick growth while others work in tandem to support overall bird health and appearance.
To support chick growth from day one, choose a complete starter-grower feed that includes:
• 18% protein and 1.25% calcium for bone and body growth
• Prebiotics and probiotics for immune and digestive health
• Amino acids for muscle and feather development
• Marigold extract for brightly colored beaks, feet and legs and overall appearance
• Phosphorous and trace minerals for bone strength
• Vitamins A, D, E, K and B for overall health and growth
“A complete feed makes it simple, because everything chicks need is included in the bag without needing to supplement,” says Biggs. “All 38 nutrients for starting chicks strong can be found in Purina® starter-grower feeds with the Chick Strong™ System.”
To learn more about Purina® Chick Strong™ System, visit www.purinamills.com/chick-strong. Pick up chicks and learn how to start of your own by attending a local Flock Talk event near you: www.purinamills.com/events.