Good nutrition is essential for keeping your flock happy and healthy. Make sure to provide your chickens with the proper balanced diet and plenty of fresh, clean water! We have everything your flock needs!

Interested in baby chicks?

Chicks are one of the biggest draws to Pittsboro Feed. Not only are we one of the largest backyard poultry suppliers in the Triangle, but we also have one of the most knowledgeable staffs in North Carolina as well.

Our chicks are available from February to early November usually, and we have a large variety of layer chicks, bantams, turkeys, ducks and geese.

Keep Them Healthy

Take a look in our health and wellness section to keep your flock healthy so they lay to their fullest potential.

Your Hens Deserve A Treat

Looking for a better solution for feed & water?

Excited to start a new flock?

It can be a bit confusing to understand what to feed & when to feed it or how warm to keep baby chicks. We would love to help you and guide you through the process of starting a flock!

What type of feed should I be feeding? View lifestyle descriptions below:

1. Weeks 1-4: You just purchased or hatched out baby chicks. Let's start them out strong by providing them a complete starter-grower feed with at least 18% protein to support chick growth. The feed should also include amino acids for chick development, prebiotics and probiotics for immune health and vitamins and minerals to support bone health.

Chicks are also susceptible to illness. If chicks were not vaccinated for coccidiosis by the hatchery, choose a medicated chick starter feed. Try a medicated feed like Purina Start & Grow Medicated (with amprolium to help with coccidiosis).

2. Weeks 5-15: The fun teenage chicken stage. During weeks 5 and 6, chicks will go through visible growth changes, including new primary feathers and developing a pecking order. Growing birds are now referred to differently. Pullet is the term for a teenage female, while a young male is a called a cockerel. Between weeks 7 and 15, the physical differences between genders will become even more visible.

Continue to feed a complete-grower feed, like Purina Start & Grow Non-Medicated or Purina Organic Starter-Grower, during the teenage stage. Along with 18% protein, make sure the feed contains no more than 1.25% calcium. Too much calcium can have a detrimental effect on growth, but a complete starter feed is balanced for growing birds.

3. Weeks 16-17: When to swtich from chick starter to layer feed? Around these weeks, people begin to check their nesting boxes for their first egg. At this point, consider layer feed options so you can make a smooth transition.

As compared to starter-grower, a layer chicken feed has less protein and more calcium. This added calcium is important for egg production.

Look for a chicken layer feed that matches your flock goals – whether that’s Purina Organic Layer Pellets or Crumbles, Purina Layena+ Omega-3, Purina Layena+ High Protein or Purina Layena Pellets or Crumbles. In any case, be sure the layer feed is made with simple, wholesome ingredients and includes 16% protein, at least 3.25% calcium, as well as key vitamins and minerals.

4. Week 18: At what age do chickens start laying eggs?

When birds reach 18 weeks old or when the first egg arrives, slowly transition to a layer feed. Make the transition gradually to prevent digestive upset.

We have found it’s best to transition over time rather than all at once. We mix the starter and layer feed evenly for four or five days. If birds are used to crumbles, start with a crumble layer feed. The same goes with pellets. The more similar the two feeds are, the smoother the transition will go.

Find all of our feeds and treats here!

Many hens lay their first egg around 18 weeks of age and then lay up to an egg each day. This is subject to change based on breed, environment and individual bird.

The chickens have been moved to a coop already and we are just waiting for the first egg.

1. Prepare chicken nesting boxes in their coop. Create several comfortable, clean and cozy nesting boxes. Keep the boxes closed until the hens are 16 weeks old and then provide open access after that. As a general rule of thumb, each box should be 1 square foot, off the floor and lined with a thick layer of straw.

2. From day 1 through week 17, keep them on a complete starter grower feed with higher protein and lower calcium. At 18 weeks, choose a complete layer feed to transition to that matches your goals. If your hens are not laying at week 18, you can still transition them from the chick starter food to the layer food. This change may even jumpstart egg production. Your layer food should include at least 16% protein and 3.25-4.5% calcium. Hens that lack proper calcium levels typcially produce soft or brittle egg shells.

3.If they have retired from egg laying, continue to feed them a higher-protein feed such as Purina Flock Raiser or Purina Layena+ High-Protein . If you have laying hens in the mix, supplement them with oyster shell to assist their egg production.

*If your birds are starting to molt (read our "Molting Season" tab)*

Find all of our feeds and treats here!

Healthy chicken treats can be fed in moderation along with a complete chicken feed. Be sure to follow the 90/10 rule - offer 90% complete feed to a maximum of 10% treats each day.

Complete feeds are formulated to meet the 38 required, unique nutrients that chickens need especially for laying eggs!

To prevent nutrient dilution, provide complete feed for at least 90% of the bird's diet. The remaining 10% can be filled with chicken treats, table scraps or scratch grains.

Find all of our treats here!

What should you feed laying hens for organic eggs? No matter where you are in your journey raising chickens, it’s always possible to produce organic chicken eggs in your backyard.

Do you want to raise a conventional or organic flock? Both options of raising chickens are fun for the family, good for the environment, and produce healthy, nutritious eggs. The difference comes down to the feed you choose.

Both traditional and organic chicken feed options provide the same nutritional value. However, organic chicken feed ingredients are sourced differently. For chicken feed to be considered organic, all ingredients must be raised and manufactured according to the requirements established by the National Organic Program.
Feeds that meet these criteria, like Purina Organic Starter-Grower, Layer Pellets or Crumbles and Scratch Grains, are typically certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and will carry a seal or statement from the certifying agency that verifies their authenticity. Choosing between traditional and organic chicken feeds comes down to personal preference.

Two reasons to transition to an organic chicken feed include: to produce eggs for your family from organic-fed hens; or to market certified organic eggs. The distinction between these two options is very important and will impact your transition process.

Find all of our feeds and treats here!

Backyard chickens often begin molting in the fall. Molting lasts anywhere from 8-12 weeks and can cause a decrease in egg production. A high-protein feed can help molting chickens with feather regrowth.

Shorter days often signal time for a break in egg production, lose old feathers and experience feather regrowth. This means that your chickens are preparing for winter, which requires quality feathers. This is why hens take a vacation from laying eggs and redirect their energy to feather regrowth (this could take up to 16 weeks).

1. Pack the protein in their feed with products like Purina Flock Raiser, Purina Layena+ High Protein, Nutrena Naturewise Feather Fixer or Purina Organic Starter Grower

2. Keep stress low. Offer enough space for your birds to rest and relax in private (4 square feet per bird inside and 10 square feet per bird outside). In addition, provide access to plenty of fresh, clean water and proper air ventilation.

3. Transition back to a layer food. Once the birds start laying eggs again, transition back to a complete layer feed that matches your goals. Gradually mix the complete layer feed with the high-protein layer feed over 7-10 days. This can help avoid digestive upsets.

Find all of our feeds and treats here!

From chicks to laying hens and all the way to retirement - we have the nutritional answers. All the descriptions have come from the Purina Mills website. If you have any further questions or would like help, please contact us!

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