10 week old chicks eating egg layer food?

chicken stick

In the Brooder
9 Years
Apr 25, 2010
long island new york
is it bad or ok or what for 10 week old chicks eating egg layer pellets? i just introduced chicks to the origional flock, they like to eat the egg layer pellets am i gonna get early eggs? or should i stop them some how?


12 Years
Apr 29, 2010
oh i am so glad you asked this i am wondering about it too!


Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers
10 Years
Sep 22, 2009
My slice of heaven in Somerset, CA
It's really best to wait to give layer feed to pullets until they are closer to laying, which is generally (depending on breed) 18 to 26 weeks of age.

Too much calcium can damage growing chickens. It builds up in their livers (or other organs) because they're not producing eggs yet, and is not good for them at all. You won't see any adverse effects until later.

The best thing to do is give them a flock raiser, "grower" or all purpose type chicken feed, until you change them to layer feed when, #1 they reach 18 weeks of age or so, OR #2 - they start to lay eggs.

If you wish, you can continue to feed "starter/grower" until then (although it's more expensive than general purpose feed).

Because I have layers AND young chickens, I stopped feeding layer feed and changed to all purpose feed, then put oyster shell out for the laying hens to eat "free choice." I just put oyster shell flakes in an empty tun can, nailed to the inside coop wall, near the feeder.
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15 Years
Dec 12, 2007
ID/WA border
A high calcium diet is needed by laying hens for eggshells. Those birds that aren't making eggshells daily, don't need all that calcium and must void it from their bodies after digestion of the feed.

Non-laying adult birds can deal with the layer feed's excess better than chicks. "It is also interesting to realize that most roosters today are fed high-calcium breeder diets, which provide 4-6x their calcium needs, yet kidney dysfunction is quite rare in these birds." Steve Lesson, Department Animal and Poultry Science/University of Guelph.

The veterinarians at DeKalb Poultry report on health problems juvenile birds experience given a laying hen's diet. Included was a doubled expected mortality throughout life of flock.


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