? about mixed age flock and what to feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by creative14215, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. creative14215

    creative14215 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 27, 2012
    I have 4 laying chickens (RR) and am feeding them layer feed. I just introduced 2 younger chickens almost 3 mo old to the coop. I have a dish of their feed in there but am not sure which they are eating. I know the layer feed can be harmful to the younger chicks. How can this be handled? I also have 2 silkies, 1 almost 5 mo, one 4 who are still using the starter feed since the 2 month old ones were too. My silkies are alone in a small crated area and not in the coop but the rest are together. How does everyone handle feeding chicks of different ages until they reaching laying age? Also, does anyone have any advice on adding the silkies in with the rest of the flock. Those RR's can be kind of antisocial and I don't want my beauties getting hurt!
     
  2. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Feed everyone grower, or flock raiser with oyster shell on the side. I don't ever buy layer, because I usually have at least a few (dozen) that are not laying. Extra calcium can really damage their kidneys because they have to filter out that extra calcium they don't need. Eventually this can lead to kidney failure. Roosters should also not have layer.
     
  3. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Also you may never have luck adding your silkies in with your RIRs. You may be fine. I know my silkies share their living space with many different breeds, including one RIR.
     
  4. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    great advice from Aoxa. I have had an RIR and a silkie at the same time with no issues. I always feed a grower with oyster shell on the side. I usually have a mixed flock and when my silkie starts laying I know it will likely be infrequent so I don't want her to have too much calcium.

    Good luck!
     
  5. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    It all depends on the RIR I guess :) Mine is quite good with other breeds, but wasn't when I first got her. I have heard a lot of people say they are aggressive, but mine sure isn't.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    The simple solution to feeding a mixed age flock is to feed them all the same thing, Starter, Grower, Flock Raiser, or something else fairly low in calcium and offer oyster shell on the side. The ones that need it for the egg shell should eat it and the others should not eat enough to harm them. Don't freak out if you see the young ones eating a bit. They might experiment with it, but they should not at enough to harm themselves.

    The integration question is a lot harder. I integrate 8 week old chicks all the time without serious issues. I have broodies that raise chicks with the flock and wean them anywhere from 3 weeks of age to 9 weeks. I have a lot of space. I think that is why I don't have serious issues.

    Mature chickens will always outrank immature chickens until they mature. Then they will find their place in the pecking order. What normally happens is that a mature chicken will peck an immature chicken if it invades her personal space. The younger chicken runs away. All is well in the chicken world.

    But if that younger chicken does not run away, it is a challenge to the pecking order. A serious fight can ensue. Usually these end pretty quickly in some chasing and running away, but occasionally they get serious. If your space is tight where the younger chicken cannot run away, the danger level goes way up. That's why space is important. You are going to see some pecking, chasing, and running away. That is normal. You don't want it to get bloody.

    Normally you will see the younger chickens acting like a totally separate flock. They try to keep a distance between themselves and the older ones. This reduces the chances of conflict tremendously. It also helps to have separate feeding and watering stations so they can eat without challenging the older ones.

    It helps a lot to house them side by side for a while, where they can see each other but not be able to attack each other. That way, they get used to those chicks being a part of the flock. It does not solve the pecking order issues but it does help a lot in just basic integration.

    Sometimes these integrations go really smoothly and you wonder what all the worry was about. Sometimes it gets really messy.
     
  7. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have heard that too. Mine was so nice and friendly! Maybe she was just a fluke lol. I think sometimes you just have to try and see what happens. Every bird is going to be a little different.
     
  8. creative14215

    creative14215 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 27, 2012
    Thank you all for your responses and the great advice. I sent this ?, went out to give the chicks a treat of pumpkin. I fed the older ones in the run, they got nosy. The younger ones were on the roost so I hand fed it to them, the older ones wouldn't give them a chance. I walked away a minute and one of the RR's got the young ones foot and it was bleeding all over, and she didn't appreciate me trying to clean and dress it! I guess I have the somewhat aggressive RR's! I did keep the chicks separate from the flock for about 2 weeks, then integrated them at night. One is white/buff colored and she seems to get singled out over the other one.
     

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