Originally Posted by KDOGG331
Wow thats some really scary stuff! So should I switch them over then or is ot too late? I did it a couple days before they turned 16 weeks and now they're turning 17 weeks tomorrow/today (Monday, it's after midnight here) cause i figured they would be okay. Been meaning to switch back but haven't been able to and now I'm terrified I'm gonna kill my birds
does a week or two really make that huge of a difference or is it more like don't feed it to baby chicks/under 8 weeks, etc.? Cause it said right on the bag 16 weeks and older and now I'm worried they're going to have problems
should they even be on it at all even as adults?
No, there is no cause for alarm at that age and for that duration of feeding. 16 weeks is developed enough to not cause issues. It is more of a major concern in weeks 0-14.
That said, it is common for them to not want to eat it. As I mentioned in my first post, your birds know that they don't need large amounts of calcium yet, and will shy away from a food that is too high in calcium. Usually, they will eat it for a day or two, and then their body will tell them to stop eating it (mostly because of the changes in processing in the kidneys, and the issues in getting rid of the extra calcium). At that point, they will shy away from it, and try to find other food sources. They will go days without eating the layer feed, and will just hope they find other stuff to eat. That will continue for days until they get too hungry and have no other choice...... At which point, they will start to eat it again because they have no choice.
It has been very popular in the last 5-10 years for people to put on a couple backyard chickens at their home. Many of them educate themselves, and are prepared to take care of their chickens. Many of them are not, which is how I run in to this problem frequently. Most commonly, a customer has chicks/young birds, and adult layers. They want one feed and figure they can just feed layer feed to all of them. In doing so, I eventually get a phone call with one of two different concerns.
1) My chicks don't like your feed, but my laying birds do.
2) My birds are 12-16 weeks of age, some have died, and the others are not moving much and are breathing really weird. It seems to be getting worse and worse.
If it's number 2, it is too late for all of them..... That would typically happen within 4-5 weeks of feeding layer feed to young birds. (For example, started layer feed at 6 weeks, and getting problems at 12 weeks)
Problems with feeding layer feed to young birds is further amplified in faster growing birds. Layer feed will kill a young broiler within a week or two. You wouldn't think anyone would ever give layer feed to broilers, but I have seen it happen many many times. They want all their chickens to eat the same food, and figure layer feed is the best choice. In fact, it is the worst choice for that. They should be buying a grower feed, and putting out oyster shell for the layers to grab on their own.
Nonetheless, in your case, you are fine. The major problem you will see, is just palatability issues. They will eat the layer feed much better once they start laying.