Adult vs chick food

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by timco, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. timco

    timco Out Of The Brooder

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    Salt Lake City, UT
    Hello again all!

    We have 4 3 yr old hens and now have 4 10 week old pullets. We were told that the big girls eat lay mash that has hormones to promote egg production, and the little chicks get a basic growing feed. The issue is that the big girls almost exclusively eat the chick food. Will this slow egg production? Can the little ones just eat the adult lay mash? All IFA feeds.

    Little ones live in the pen with the big girls, no problems. They have even learned what home is and put themselves to bed now.

    Thanks, Tim
     
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    You don't want your older girls eating the chick food IF it is medicated- I wouldn't want to eat those eggs. Your chicks don't need the calcium from the layer feed (I don't know anything about "hormones" being in the food) and it can harm their bodies.

    Some people buy grower feed and put a tin of oyster shell on the side for the older girls to get their calcium.
     
  3. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Quote:The person that told you that your hens had to eat a "lay mash that has hormones to promote egg production" had no idea what they were talking about.
    Layer feed (Mash, Crumble, Pellet or other wise) has NO hormones in it.

    You hens can eat the Chick Feed with no problem. (Just make sure it is not medicated Chick Feed. It wont harm the hen but you might not want to eat the eggs)
    You don't want to feed the chicks layer feed. The layer feed has too much calcium (Ca) in it for the chicks...

    Chris
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    I'm not familiar with that brand of feed, but generally layer feed doesn't have hormones. The reason you don't want the little ones eating the layer feed is that it contains too much calcium for them.
    When feeding a mixed age flock you can feed a flock raiser type of feed and just offer oyster shell on the side as a calcium supplement for the laying hens. Those that need it will take it.
     
  5. Jx2inNC

    Jx2inNC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Caraway, NC
    We've got 3 different age group chickens currently, so it is inevitable that the small birds are eating the large birds' food at some point, and vice versa. The younger birds' medicated food is harder for the big birds to get to, so there probably isn't a ton of that going on, but I've seen it happen.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2010
  6. chickenlady08

    chickenlady08 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 27, 2009
    Eastern Shore, VA
    I feed my babies the starter food. My teenagers and adults get the grower finisher food, that way when the babies are out free I don't have to worry to much if they are eating the food the big girls eat. Now my babies are at least 1 to 1 1/2 months old before I let them out to roam with the older girls and boys. Just put the calcuim and grit out for the bigger ones to get to easily. Been doing this for over a year or so now.
     
  7. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

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    timco I am very familliar with IFA since I live in UT as well. I am not sure if the IFA brand carries a grow out food that is non-medicated. I do know that IFA does carry Purina feeds as well so they should carry a grower food without the medication. If you have a Cal Ranch nearby they carry Nutrina feeds and I know that they carry the non-medicated grower food for chicks since that is where I got my food for my chickens. I am sure that you could ask the people at IFA, they seem to know what they are talking about (at least the ones in the Riverton store). Like many other posters said, all you would have to do is offer free choice oyster shell for the laying hens. The additional protien in the grow out food won't hurt the hens.
     
  8. Jx2inNC

    Jx2inNC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I went to Southern States tonight and asked the professionally knowledgeable owner (he has quite a bit of chickens and specializes in the animal health there -- no telling what certifications he has, legitimately).
    I told him about the ranging age groups with the medicated chick food (although hard to get to for the big chickens, so not eaten very often by them at all) and the layer's feed out in the open.
    He said I didn't need to throw out the chick food that's in their, just to let them finish it off. With the layer's feed, he said there would be no problems if the younger chickens ate it even though they aren't 18 weeks old, etc.

    Ultimately, my local store orders a special chicken feed for a guy who has TONS of chickens that lives in the area. I suppose the mixture is so good they order more for the store and sell it with his name included in the feed title.
    Apparently, they have been feeding this to just about every age chicken with great results -- greater bulk and egg production than on the standard layer's food. And it has less calcium as a % than the standard feed...but again, specially formulated. Other than that, I picked up some two-grain scratch and wild bird seed to throw on the ground and such for them to peck around at. No more need for oyster shells or insoluble granite like I have bought in the past.
    If someone is interested, I'd be glad to post the contents and percentages, although I'm sure it isn't that interesting.
     
  9. timco

    timco Out Of The Brooder

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    Salt Lake City, UT
    Quote:That actually does sound interesting. Please post that if you can.

    I gave up trying to keep big girls from the grower feed. they just stand there all day and eat it...those pigs! I have a few feeding spots currently so the teenagers can get food without a big girl guarding it. We added a Gold Star, Aulstralorp, B&W EE and a bearded EE. Great looking birds!

    No luck trapping that raccoon yet, though......

    Tim
     
  10. Jx2inNC

    Jx2inNC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Caraway, NC
    Quote:Sure, I'll try to do that next chance I get at home. I thought it was neat that a local co-op gets in a specially formulated, and locally exclusive feed -- but then again we have a ton of chickens in my area of the state (as far as farms) so I'm not too surprised.

    Yeah, the chick starter/grower, if medicated, is something you don't want them to be consuming constantly, but if they ate it now and again, I doubt you'd have any serious issues. That isn't to say I'd be okay with knowingly supplying it to the big chickens at all, but you probably have to be highly allergic to the medicine in the feed to even see any reaction at all from eating the eggs or the chicken. My best guess is eating the chicken itself would be more likely to show an issue than the eggs, but I can't prove that.
     

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