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Can I start them on layer feed?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by DavidKerk, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. DavidKerk

    DavidKerk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi, my new batch of chicks are between 12 and 15 weeks of age and are a variety of different breeds. I am going on a week trip soon and was wondering if I could put them in with my big chickens because the chicks feed and water containers won't last them. I am also out of starter feed. Will eating layer feed this early be harmful to them? I usually switch them at about 16 weeks so this would be a little early. I have had to switch previous batches at about 13 weeks before do to a un-predator-proof chick coop. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  2. Veer67

    Veer67 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Layer feed for chicks can kill them. It contains too much calcium in there and can damage a chicks kidneys.
     
  3. xmonster0

    xmonster0 Out Of The Brooder

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    3 months is far too long for them to be on starter feed.

    they should have been on layer probably no later than 5 weeks old

    i usually switch them as soon as they are fully feathered

    just throw them out there they will be fine :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Chicks should not ever be started on layer until they start laying, around 16 to 20 weeks of age. The excess calcium at that age can be very bad, even lethal for them. Starter/grower can and should be fed right up to point of lay, or a flock raiser type feed.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh geez, I'm sorry, but this is completely wrong.
     
  6. xmonster0

    xmonster0 Out Of The Brooder

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    never waited that long, all my adults get layer feed , and they get watermellon, lettuce, apples, cooked rice, etc etc.. every day. and i have never kept a chicken on starter until they started laying, i have never had a chicken get sick nor have i ever had one die.

    this would require seperating them until they start laying , so for my breeds 5-6 months old chickens still on starter? thats rediculous
     
  7. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    DavidKerk, My pullets are just a few days shy of 17wks and they are still on starter/grower. If you don't want to get another bag of starter then I'd go with flock raiser but certainly not layer, not yet.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  8. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    "Layer feed should never be fed to chickens younger than 18 weeks as it contains calcium that can permanently damage the kidneys, cause kidney stones, reduce lifetime egg production and shorten a bird's lifespan."

    I'd recommend reading this article and doing some research on BYC. Figuring out which food should be given to chickens is a very common topic.

    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/11/feeding-chickens-at-different-ages.html
     
  9. DavidKerk

    DavidKerk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So how bad will it be for them to be on layer feed right now? The only person to come and feed them is my brother ( unreliable at best, and he would only be able to come once during the week.) They will be without feed and water quite a bit if they aren't with the others. What to do?????

    Would it help if I bought scratch and mixed it 3 parts layer feed to 1 part scratch?
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  10. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    This is why feed companies produce feeds that the entire flock can eat. Just lock down the Layer in a good sealed tub and break it out a month from now. Meanwhile, pick up some good All Flock or Flock Raiser, or a Grower that is 16-18% protein and have the brother feed them all. Done. There is no magic in Layer feed, only the marketing of convenience, that's all.

    There are lots and lots of folks who never feed Layer. As long as the hens have a bowl of calcium supplement to pick at as their bodies demand it, all is well. Young birds don't normally fuss with the calcium.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
    2 people like this.

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