Can I feed my chicks layer ration?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by abelseville, May 23, 2010.

  1. abelseville

    abelseville Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 19, 2008
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    I ran out of crumbled starter ration last night and of course today is Sunday and the feed store is closed. Can I feed my 5 and 7 week old chicks pelletized laying ration for a day? How about scratch? - Thanks
     
  2. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

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    If it's pelleted they may not eat it well, but you can try it. For just a day pretty much anything they will eat will work. Try bread if you don't have anything else.
     
  3. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

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    I would go with scratch and scrambled eggs myself, but if it's only for a day a pellet with less than 2% calcium won't do any harm. The layer rations with 4% wouldn't be a good thing, but even that for one day wouldn't be the end of the world. It's the calcium that causes the oviduct to prematurely develop and that could cause serious laying issues later, like internal laying.
     
  4. abelseville

    abelseville Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 19, 2008
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    thanks! You guys rock! I will stop worrying and just give them layer and scratch today.
     
  5. abelseville

    abelseville Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 19, 2008
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    Wait. Now Chookschick has me worried. I just threw my 8 week old Delawares into a pen with mature layers. Will they be harmed at this age by feed with %4 calcium?
     
  6. cackler

    cackler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    abelseville - I'm wondering the same thing, too. Last year's chicks I'm pretty sure got fed layer mash before they were old enough. What happens if 10 week old chicks start eating layer mash? Does it mess up their egg production for life? (I'm wondering if this is why I have someone laying misshapen and soft eggs all of the time - even with calcium supplements). I have heard that you should not feed layer mash too young - but what happens if you do?
     
  7. beachchickie

    beachchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We will soon see b/c my 10 wk old chicks ate it since my parents came to feed when we were out of town 2 wks ago they are 12 wks now. We ran out I did not want my parents to have to try to go across town to buy feed. When we returned there was no flock finisher so we fed them the layer pellets and are still feeding it to them. Mine are free range and mostly eat forage food so I think they are fine but we will soon see.
     
  8. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

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    Sorry- didn't look for replies until now.

    Extra calcium for any prolonged period before the 16 week age-range can cause kidney problems, bone growth issues and possibly oviduct problems down the line- that's why foods like flock raiser aren't adequate sources of calcium by themselves- you ought not give that high calcium to chicks.

    Each of the different feeds is formulated to be the minimum to meet the needs of a particular age range, and flock raisers are meant to meet the minimums of multiple ages with you providing supplementation in the form of oyster shell for the adults.

    It really important to follow certain guidelines for protein and nutritional needs for various ages.

    Some guidelines:


    Approximate Ages (weeks) Crude protein % Calcium % Phosphorus %
    Starter 0 - 6 weeks 18 0.9 0.45
    Grower 6 - 16 weeks 16 0.8 0.45
    Pre-layer 16 - 19 weeks 17 2.0 0.45
    Laying > 19 17 - 19 3.8 - 4.0 0.45


    You'll see that many commercial feeds targeting a specific age are close to, but not exactly at, these levels, so it's just what you find works for you- but it's important to note that you'll need higher protein when they are recovering from a molt. It's also important to note that scratch is only 8% protein, so every bit you give them decreases their net protein intake- it's chicken Cap'n Crunch.

    It's no big deal to change them around for a few days, but you'll want to stick to guidelines for any lengthy duration.

    For mixed age groups, a flock raiser is the best choice, and just offer crushed oyster shell AND grit for everyone to take as they please.
     
  9. kidsncows

    kidsncows New Egg

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    Nov 23, 2013
    I have some Blue-laced Red Wyandottes that I got in July. I've been told they probably won't lay until next February. I usually get Barred Rocks and RIR's, and I haven't found that they start laying by 20 weeks. These RW's will be 7 months in February. I usually read that you can expect eggs anywhere from 20 to 24 weeks. Would this be more true for hybrids like sex-links?

    Also, if the pure breeds start to lay later, would you suggest continuing the grower ration until they begin to lay, then switch to layer?

    Thank you!
     
  10. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Welcome to BYC.
    Most hybrids do start around twenty weeks, just like most of the good layers they are bred from. Wyandottes are one of the breeds that tend to start later more at the twenty four or so week age. Of course with the shorter days of winter they may delay starting till the days get longer. If they aren't laying then they don't need the extra calcium in the layer. I would keep them on the grower till they start to lay.
     

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