9-Week-Olds Eating Layer Pellets, Scavenging


8 Years
Jul 9, 2011
Cleveland, Tennessee
I've got three 9-week-old speckled sussex chicks that were raised by my broody hen. They are still small enough to get out of the chicken run and run around in the yard a lot. For a few weeks, this was great. It made it possible for me to put their starter/grower feed outside the run, where the big girls couldn't eat it. So the chicks ate a lot and grew. But now, they don't seem to even touch their feed. My only guess is that they're eating layer feed and whatever bugs they come across in the yard. They're growing and seem healthy, but I want to make sure they'll be okay, as I've always heard only to feed them layer pellets once they start laying.

I don't have enough room to totally separate them from the other chickens.

I usually don't feed them layer until 3 months. My guess is that they are eating enough scratch that they don't want their starter. When my chickens free range my feed bill is cut by almost 3/4
Likely they are now experienced enough to find most of their food while out free ranging. I have a pair of Rhode Island reds that are doing just that. First out of the coop then through the fence in the morning and last in close to dark. Never see them back at the feeder during the day and only touch it lightly when they get back in at night. I wouldn't worry about them getting too much calcium if that is what they are doing even if they are filling only about half of their needs with layer they would be cutting the calcium way down with all else they are finding. Still, if you are worried you can change the whole flock over to a non-layer feed with calcium on the side for the layers.

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