Broody hen ?? CHick food

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by kbreak, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. kbreak

    kbreak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 1, 2011
    Columbia, MS
    My hen has 6 chicks that are 6 weeks old. We are still feeding Medicated chick starter. How long do they need to eat this. This is what the mom eats too. Is that ok for her nad when can I switch the chicks feed to non medicated or layer pellets?
  2. geoff40

    geoff40 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2011
    Boonies, NH
    6 weeks, they should be switched to pullet feed/pellets. Leave them on this for just a month or so, then switch them to layer pellets. You want 15 to 20 percent protein for the pullet feed, and about 14 or 15 for the layer pellets.
  3. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    Different brands of feeds have different formulations, but you really shouldn't feed "layer" food to birds younger than laying age. Layer feed has calcium in it that chicks don't need. Check the label for the feed you're considering for specific age recommendations.

    I can't advise you about the medicated part because we didn't use medicated feed for our chicks. At six weeks, you hen is probably close to finishing her job of raising her chicks and starting to lay again herself.
  4. I must respectfully disagree with the above (geoff). IMPO..... switch them to non medicated starter crumbles asap. The first 4 weeks of life with the medicated is plenty. Mother hen will do well on the starter crumbles. Purina is 18% protein which is not too much for mom and just right for babies. Unless you want chick mortality in a hurry, do not feed a high calcium layer to those babies. The better vitamin base in the non medicated crumble will do mom some good (trust me).
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011
  5. As matter of fact I am not a huge believer that even laying hens need a calcium content between 3.5 and 4.5 percent anyway. I used to always mix layer and flock feed at 50/50 and have always had very good luck with egg shell hardness and healthy birds. People think that hens were fed just what ever grains were spilled and free ranged for bugs and such was "way back in the old days" LOL. It has not been that long ago. What ever natural calcium they could get was way less than the 3-4% that is in layer feed. The soft shell egg was very rare even on this diet.
    I believe that the feed companies were responding to the commercial market to strengthen the eggs for the rigors of transport and handling when they started fortifying with so much calcium. I think this became SOP and was accepted as normal for even the back yard folks like us.
    If I ever get tired of the long drive for a blue seal dealer, I will probably go with purina non medicated chick starter for all my breeders and laying flock. 18% protein, a little over 1% calcium, decent amount of methanone, marigold extract, and vitamin base is about the same as blue seal breeder. This also will be a whole lot better for the roosters that especially dont need all that calcium either.
  6. kbreak

    kbreak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 1, 2011
    Columbia, MS
    Thanks so much for the information. I have less than half 25lb bag of medicated. I will probably finish it up. I have been mixing it with a nonmedicated chick starter. It was a different brand looked more crushed and dusty so I was mixing it. Then i will switch to non medicated chick crumble. These are my first chickens !!
  7. Jewels1935

    Jewels1935 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 4, 2011
    Central Florida broody silky has chicks that are 3 weeks old, and she has laid 2 eggs already! I can't feed her the layer, because then she'll feed her babies that.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by