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Ive been feeding my pullets layer :(

post #1 of 6
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Heya BYC! I went to a new feed store today to pick up a bag of my usual organic grower feed and the guy at the counter said that Hunt & Behrens stopped making grower feed awhile ago. This was a huge shock to me because I've been feeding chickens H & B "grower" since they were 6 weeks old. I called H & B to confirm that I had in fact been giving my pullets LAYER FEED hit.gif My girls are now 14 weeks old.

I am new to chickens so when I went to get their first bag of grower, a young man suggested H & B organic "grower" crumbles. I went with it and should have done more research.

So at this point, I'm debating on switching them to an actual grower feed until they start laying or maybe mixing a non medicated starter to the layer feed to make up for the lack of protein and excess calcium. What would y'all do? Also, do you think since they've been on layer since they were six weeks old that there could be any permanent health problems because of the excess calcium? For the most part, they are healthy and happy. I do notice some runny poos on the poo tray once in awhile and one of my Aussies is exceptionally small..maybe not eating enough? Please help. Comments, suggestions. Thank you in advance.
post #2 of 6

It is rare for them to get sick off of too much calcium although it can happen. Do you have the percentage lable off the bag of feed you were giving them? a good grower feed should do the trick... higher protein and a lot of people will continue that and just add a hand full of oyster shell out in the run to help with calcium when they lay. The Higher protein in grower feed is especially good if you tend to give them scraps and treats.. I wouldnt worry to much about your birds.. They are hardy. They will be fine and now you know what to feed them. Good luck.

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 My daily ramblings on about nothing http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1011208/making-the-most-of-it

 

 

If you can't laugh at yourself who can you laugh at.

 

I speak in silly and smartypants....

 

A picture is always worth showing.

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post #3 of 6

I really would not worry about it.  There is nothing you can do to turn back the clock. 

 

I just looked up a site to see what the difference is, grower is 14-16, and layer 15-18 percent protein.  Starter is 20-22.  If your feed is similar ratios, then you've actually been giving them higher protein, not less. 

 

As for the calcium, if there are no signs of effects of having had too much, I wouldn't worry, but if you are concerned, I'd get the contents list of the feed that I'd been giving to see exactly what its proportions are.  It may be that it isn't that high in calcium to worry.  There is also a big difference  between excess that causes organ damage, and excess to requirements that can be excreted normally. I strongly suspect that manufacturers aren't loading up any of their feed with an amount that would actively harm anybody - people will often be feeding the "wrong" thing without the intensive research that those of us who join forums do.  Also, if your feed is organic, they might not have been loading it up with added "anything".  

 

If you were trying to decide what to do before you do it, then researching all of this would be time well spent.  As the "horse has already bolted" it really won't achieve anything other than to possibly alleviate your worry and it could just make you more worried/confused/upset. 

 

If it makes you feel any better, the boy at the chicken farm said he though that grower feed was a lark for manufacturers to make you buy 3 lots of food and not just 2.... 

 

It's quite common for sizes (of every animal, including people) to vary and it's quite common for there to be a "runt" (if that's what your small one even is, maybe he's just small).  

 

I'd just determine an appropriate food for 14 week old birds and feed them that.  Carry on.  They look healthy and happy, that's probably exactly what they are.  

post #4 of 6

Please try not to worry! Your little girls haven't been eating the layer for all that long, and I doubt very much there has been any harm done to them.

 

Way back when I had my very first chicks, not knowing about the layer feed prohibition, I let my then six-week old pullets begin to eat layer feed since their chick crumbles had run out. I had two adult hens at the time, and thought it was okay.

 

One of those pullets is still very much alive and enjoying excellent health. She's going on eight years old. If that early exposure to calcium harmed her, I certainly can't figure out how.

 

That said, it's still a good idea to stash the layer feed until the pullets begin to lay. It'll keep for a few more months. You can continue to feed chick starter if you can't find grower feed.

post #5 of 6
@potato chip makes a good point that feed makers probably wouldn't put unsafe levels of calcium in any feed. My laying hens eat a lot of oyster shell on top of whatever calcium is in their feed, so the calcium content couldn't be that elevated. I agree with everyone here that you shouldn't worry too much: your girls should be fine.
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by potato chip View Post

 

As for the calcium, if there are no signs of effects of having had too much, I wouldn't worry, but if you are concerned, I'd get the contents list of the feed that I'd been giving to see exactly what its proportions are.  It may be that it isn't that high in calcium to worry.  There is also a big difference  between excess that causes organ damage, and excess to requirements that can be excreted normally. I strongly suspect that manufacturers aren't loading up any of their feed with an amount that would actively harm anybody - people will often be feeding the "wrong" thing without the intensive research that those of us who join forums do.

 

Most of the side effects of calcium overdosing wouldn't bee seen unless you cut the bird open and look at the liver.

Also as long as your feeding a layer type feed correctly the amount of calcium will not hurt you birds.

 

Note that I said correctly, that means that your feeding a layer feed to laying hens that are in production (hens that are laying eggs).

Chicks, Growing birds, Roosters, Hens that are not laying (do to illness, weather, age, etc.) should not be fed a high calcium feed like a layer feed..

 

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NPIP # 31-516
Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiquities http://sppa.webs.com/

Breeding Large Fowl Single and Rose Comb Rhode Island Reds to APA Standard


"I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman's cares." – 

George Washington

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