26 week old pullets--half are laying, okay to switch feed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by mom22alcorns, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. mom22alcorns

    mom22alcorns Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2011
    Kansas City, Kansas
    Hey all you BYC'ers! I have 26 week old Barred Rocks and Silver Laced Wyandottes. Half of the Barred Rocks are laying, and the other pullets are in various stages of getting there. All of these gals were hatched on August 11th, 2011. Currently the whole flock eats medicated chick starter. I have maybe 1/4 of a 50 lb bag left. Can I switch them to layer crumbles when that runs out or should I stick with the medicated chick starter until all of them are laying? Any help appreciated! [​IMG]
  2. jmtcmkb

    jmtcmkb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 2, 2011
    New Hampshire
    I dont have a lot of experience, but can share what I have learned from BYC and my local feed store. I switched from medicated chick feed to grower feed after about 12 weeks. Mine are currently 20 weeks and I have 20lbs left of grower, they are showing signs of getting ready to lay, so I am going to start mixing 1/2 grower and 1/2 layer feed now.
  3. mom22alcorns

    mom22alcorns Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2011
    Kansas City, Kansas
    Thanks! I didn't know there was an in the middle feed called grower. I will have to see about getting some of that and mixing it in, and then when all of them are laying, maybe do the mixing again but with layer crumbles and grower. I appreciate the help! [​IMG]
  4. claudicles

    claudicles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 26, 2011
    Sydney, Australia
    If they are 26 weeks it is safe to transfer them all onto layer feed. Some people do it automatically around 18 weeks. Wyandottes are slow to mature so they probably don't need that much extra protein now and the calcium isn't likely to cause a problem at that age. The rocks should be closer to maturity so will need the layer feed. You also shouldn't need medicated feed at that age as the risk of cocci should be low. At least i'd be going straight onto layer now.
  5. BlazeJester

    BlazeJester Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2011
    Midway, GA
    Most layer feeds are 16%, which is lower protein than starter or grower (18-20%, depending). So that's not an issue.

    I switched mine over when I ran out of grower around 20 weeks. Since my locality doesn't have high demand for flock raiser, I switched back to grower and added oyster shell when I got a couple younger chicks that are now in with them, and will switch back again when the kids reach about 20 weeks. Which might be around when the new kids go in, so maybe I'll just stay on supplemented grower forever. The only difference I could find was that grower does NOT have added calcium for eggshells, and I notice in the eggs when I've run out of oyster shell in the coop.

    Moral of the story - if you're going to add to the flock and have younger birds around before they reach late teens, keep going with a grower or non-medicated starter/grower and make sure to have calcium available for the big girls. I use crushed eggshell and oyster shell in a separate dish.

    Happy laying!
  6. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Switch on over, not a problem that they are now fully grown for the most part. The added calcium is what is an issue with layer feed, it can set the pelvis bones if given too early resulting in laying issues. At 26 weeks they got hips already and are good to go.
  7. bigspringshatchery

    bigspringshatchery Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2010
    Roanoke Alabama
    I switch over at 18-20 weeks. No matter if they are laying or not. Never had a problem with any. Like the rest has said, they are grown and shouldnt be a problem.
  8. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    The bigger issues of pre-feeding high calcium is renal/kidney damage. This is not something you can "see", but occurs nonetheless.

    However, after 24 weeks, there just isn't time for this condition to develop. With slow developing breeds/strains, the pullets should absolutely not be rushed onto layer, and while I sound a bit hard-nosed about it, merely the keeper's convenience shouldn't be the sole factor. The healthy development and long life of the pullet should be the primary concern. A bird fed layer from 15 weeks on, but doesn't come into lay until 28 weeks, has had 3 months of unnecessary calcium. Feeding unmedicated chick feed, grower, or raiser, while providing calcium on the side eliminates all these issues in a mixed age flock.

    With all that said, again, you'd be just fine making the switch. You're entering an exciting time. Enjoy.
  9. AccentOnHakes

    AccentOnHakes Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 2, 2009
    My feed store did not have grower, either, so here's what I did.

    I fed chick starter or gamebird crumbles. When one girl started laying, I added the oyster shells. When both started laying, the next bag I bought was layer. Hope that helped. :)
  10. 400constantne

    400constantne Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 30, 2012
    I am sure that in the previous centuries people fed their chickens whatever they had available... I don't think there were any bone growth problems. The "you must feed your chickens starter feed for x amount of weeks" hysteria... is mostly just status quoe, that nobody has any good reason to believe.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2012

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