Broiler Hen feed!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by gavinh, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. gavinh

    gavinh New Egg

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    Apr 25, 2017
    about three weeks ago i saved a broiler hen from my parents broiler farm and brought her home with us. She is only about 11-12 weeks old but she is fully grown, way bigger than our other two hens who are well over 1.5 years old. My question is can i just give her laying mash like the older hens or should she be on the pullet grower pellets until she is ready to lay?
     
  2. rachelsflock

    rachelsflock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi,

    You're probably going to hate me, but this "rescue" probably won't end well. No, if she is a broiler, she can not be free fed any feed of any sort. In fact, I would only feed her very little, and make her forage for food. Somebody else with more experience can tell you specifics as I've only seen a broiler live much past your bird's age once and that bird free ranged and foraged with no supplemental food for months until it disappeared because it somehow got forgotten during loading for the processor. I'm not saying this is ideal (PROTECTION?!!! SHELTER?!!!), but that was how it lived until something got it. Basically, broiler chickens are a multiple generation hybrid cross that is genetically programmed through careful breeding to get as fat as possible as quickly as possible and aren't meant to live very long at all. They basically self destruct. So if you want to keep her alive, it's all about healthy CONTROLLED diet, exercise, and luck. Honestly, if I were you I would either give her back, or save one more so she'll have a buddy in her new, strict dieting life. And if she makes it to laying, you win. Just be aware that if she survives to adulthood it's very likely that she's eventually going to have a broiler problem come back and get her sooner than expected.

    There's a thread on here about someone who raises giant Cornish crosses like your bird, basically by working hard to keep them alive for longer than normal until they're huge. I'd look for that thread and glean what you can from it. Your goal is to combat her genetics to be a blob and bring out the chicken in her, because that will very much help keep her alive. I hope the person who wrote that thread/article sees this and gives better instructions.

    But in any case, here's a bump.

    Good luck. I'd love to know how this challenge winds up.

    -R
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017
  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Be aware that she may not survive until laying age. Being at or even over intended slaughter weight you may be behind in attempting to ration feed to keep her active and healthy. People do raise broilers to laying age all the time but it's not with 100% success rate and typically they were not on broiler feed with food available all day up to this age. Just a heads up.

    Layer feed has far more calcium than growing birds need or even want. It can cause laying issues for pullets as their pelvis bones can set too early. For non laying birds and prolonged intake of extra calcium causes organ damage but this is more of a cock bird and many years thing. For pullets it's that their pelvis won't be flexible and widen as it should for first eggs.
     
  4. gavinh

    gavinh New Egg

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    Apr 25, 2017
    She seems to be doing really well. She free ranges around the yard all day. She is quite active although is a bit big to jump up to her perch at the moment. Her feathers are coming through nicely and she looks really healthy. She doesn't seem too hungry and eats grass and bugs and all the things our laying hens eat. I just don't want to keep buying two types of feed if she will be ok on the layer mash.
     
  5. rachelsflock

    rachelsflock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can you get mixed flock or all flock feed? It might be helpful here.
     
  6. gavinh

    gavinh New Egg

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    Apr 25, 2017
    i am heading down to the supply place this afternoon (im in australia) so i will ask them and see what they have
    thanks for you help
     
  7. rachelsflock

    rachelsflock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Best of luck!
     
  8. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Just buy a starter, grower, or all flock and set some crushed oyster shell out separately for the layers. Much simpler to only buy one feed that is safe for all. Layer feed isn't even really needed. There is no magic ingredient in it. It's just regular feed with less protein and a whole lot more calcium.
     
  9. gavinh

    gavinh New Egg

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    Apr 25, 2017
    so you are saying for my laying hens i shouldnt bother with the layer mash at all? what should i go with?
     
  10. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Unmedicated starter, grower, all flock, or flock raiser. Basically, any feed other than layer is safe for all ages and stages. Layer is strictly for actively laying birds only.
     
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