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can chicks get damage to kidneys if they eat layer pellets to soon?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by chickatee, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. chickatee

    chickatee In the Brooder

    May 8, 2010
    Co. Wexford , Ireland
    is it true that if you feed chicks layer pellets before their 21 weeks old the calcium in the pellets will damage their kidneys and they will start laying too early and get egbound? my uncle told me this. my chicks are18 weeks old and i still feed them on grower pellets. when are they old enough to eat layers?
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Extra calcium has nothing to do with when they lay or them getting eggbound. However, it is true young growing chicks can damage their kidneys if they eat too much calcium. The normal recommendation is to switch from grower to layer at 20 weeks or when they start to lay, whichever happens first.
  3. chickenboy21

    chickenboy21 Songster

    Mar 8, 2010
    i was told not to put my broilers on layer because the extra calcium would give the birds gall stones i dont know about chicks but i agree with ridgerunner goodluck
  4. SunnyDawn

    SunnyDawn Sun Lovin' Lizard

    Sep 12, 2009
    Nor Cal
    From everything I have read, you should not feed them layer pellets before they start laying. It will delay the process. You can however give them crushed oyster shell to supplement the flock raiser. The pullets that are laying or about to lay will eat it but those not laying will not.
    Anyone else read otherwise?
  5. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    I find this the best and most readable online information on feed: Nutrition for Backyard Chicken Flocks, Poultry Science, Auburn University.

    Notice the big jump in Calcium (%) between feed for chicks and layers in Table 1: from less than 1% to about 4%.

    The laying hen uses that calcium to produce egg shells. If she lays an egg each day, she has a critical need for all that calcium. If a non-laying pullet is eating an adult ration of layer feed, she may be voiding the equivalent of an eggshell through her kidneys each day.

  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
  7. wyliefarms

    wyliefarms Songster

    Aug 19, 2008
    The rule of thumb is switch to layer when you get your first egg. You can put oyster shells in as a supplement and the ones that need it will eat them.

    I learned the hard way with our chicks years ago when we started. If I recall we lost about 1/2 the flock from feeding them layer when they were about a month old (they were in with the broilers and eating that feed) I seperated them and feed them layer feed not knowing the extra calcium does their kidneys in.

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