Hey everybody just a quick question about feed I have some pullets and cockerels that are almost 5 months old and I know that if chicks are fed layer feed it will destroy their kidneys or something like that anyway my problem is that I have these birds and I am really anxious to put them in with the large flock they get along but I don't want to risk damage to their body so I was wondering if I could just switch the chickens feed to turkey feed instead of layer feed and have oyster shells as free choice or will this not suffice for all of them I don't know weather or not to switch in concern that it may drop egg production I run an egg business and have had them on the same type of feed for a few years now I used to use crumbles but now I use pellets so just a question that needs answering thank you.
turkey feed and chickens?
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Hi! Turkey grower is usually higher protein and fat. Good if you have meat birds. IMO, using lay pellets on 5 mo old pullets would not cause harm, they'll lay soon. The roos? Might be more calcium than they need, but it won't kill them tomorrow. If your hens are laying well, I'd stick to your program.
Why are you considering turkey feed, specifically? You can feed a regular poultry grower, an "all-flock" ration/Flock Raiser, etc and supplement with calcium in the form of oyster shell, yes.
x2 on flock raiser providing oyster shell or calcite grit (my preferred choice as I find it seems to get eaten and digested better) over turkey feed.
Turkey feed, I should think, would be more expensive (it sure seemed to be when we grew out 2 turkeys for the holidays a few years back) and I know is much higher in protein and fat than the chickens need.
Just as you can't put young chicks on layer feed due to the calcium overload, never put growing layer chicks continuously on meat or turkey/game feed. The protein is way too high and you risk developmental problems such as slipped hocks or such as the bones grow too fast for the ligaments. A short duration won't hurt if you run out and can't make it to the feed store, but a regular diet can cause growth issues.I've only used turkey/game feed for a short duration as I grew out Buckeyes, then took them back down to regular chick start and then back up to layer as I manipulated body weight for the roo's and the hens.
Depending upon the layer breeds, many commercial layer breeds actually do better maturing by being put on the layer ration earlier...sometimes as early as 16 weeks. (I'd have to look for the ag study I read that) as it actually helped the commercial layers mature for laying.
Typically you place them on layer feed from 18 weeks to 24 week, or point of lay. Five months is not too early for layer, and it may hasten them into laying...although you are entering the fall days of shorter daylight. I presume you are manipulating your lighting if you are selling eggs? You may have to do that if you want these girls to lay this fall. Hens need a minimum of 12 hours of light to begin laying and a continuous 14 hours to 16 hours of light for sustained production. (I can link the ag paper for that if you want).
I personally use Nutrena Feather Fixer year round...its 18% protein, good nutrients for feather growth in the fall (and year round), reasonably priced in my area (sign up for the Nutrena newsletter and you get regular coupons), and my girls do well on it looking fat and sassy and laying well. NFF has slightly less calcium than straight layer so its not so harsh for the roo's (posted on label that fine for mature roo's), but is better calcium for the hens than flock raiser. My hens just seem to have better production on the NFF feed with the higher 18% protein (vs. the 16% typical layer) and moderate calcium over the flock raiser (18% protein but low calcium) with oyster or calcite. I tend to get soft shells and less production then....something about it being balanced in the feed that gets them eating it better and producing better.
My 2 cents
Edited by Lady of McCamley - 9/21/15 at 10:49pm
also very helpful and by the way just to give everybody an idea of what the pullets are they are all hybrids from my mixed flock most of them are houdan, sultan,and jersey giant mixes but some have white leghorn, buff orpington and white rock in them so they are all different in breed and type but I know jersey giants shouldn't be on layer feed till they are at least 24 weeks old vs leghorn type breeds going for only 20