Chick food/layer food but no grower food?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by theacw, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. theacw

    theacw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In town, all I can find is chick food that says feed until 8 weeks old. And layer feed. Ive been confused forever what to do and until recently, I didnt know there was GROWER feed your supposed to give them in between.

    I started feeding them layer food maybe at 10 weeks. Then a couple weeks later I realized they shouldnt have that because thats a week before they start laying so I went back to chick food....... and just read feed until 8 weeks!!! So now I cant find grower feed, and I dont know what to feed them and I dont know if it makes a difference. Did I goof up their nutritional needs or anything?

    Help me, Im confused. :s

    They are 18 weeks right now, neither showing anything obvious that they will be laying soon.
     
  2. AccentOnHakes

    AccentOnHakes Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chick feeder until they lay won't hurt them. I have the same problem with my feed store, so I fed gamebird in between. They call it pheasant crumbles at my place.
     
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    These are all just "names" and different stores/companies use different names. One thing for sure? Layer is for layers.

    I wouldn't worry about it. Chick feed is JUST FINE until they begin to lay. A whole bunch of us feed nothing but chick starter all the way til point of lay.
    It's feed. Good feed. You don't have to use grower at all, unless you want to.
     
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Well there is some debate that the protein level should be decreased when they are teenagers to prevent reproductive issues popping up so they don't mature too fast.

    But a lot of people just keep feeding chick starter until they are laying (or feed Flock raiser which is also high protein). The layer pellets should be fine now that they are 18 weeks old. There can be problems with bones and kidneys I have read if they get too much calcium as chicks.

    But with my first batch of chickens I did exactly what you did (years ago) and they were fine. I got rid of them after a little over a year I think but never saw any issues come up.

    Remember to offer oyster shell on the side (and grit too unless they are free ranging) so when they lay they can replentish their calcium as needed.

    You can feed Flock Raiser forever too (with oyster shell on the side) if you prefer the higher protein as many on BYC do. Some offer scratch to average out the protein a little lower and to save some $.
     
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    No one makes grower feed here in my location, either. The closest thing I can find is broiler grower, but it is higher in fat so I don't get that. I can't find plain old starter, either. Mine stay on 18% starter/grower combo feed till laying age. That's what it's for.
     
  6. theacw

    theacw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm this almost made me think even more, but very glad to know. I need as much help as I can get. I literally knew NOTHING about chickens when I got them (long story) and everything I learned was from reading through this forum.

    I know this sounds stupid but I only have 2 chickens and even though I may not know much.... They are now my pet chickens and really want them to grow as long and healthy as they can because I really care for them. The eggs are just something that come along with them so thats not my main goal.... having the best eggs. My main goal is just to prevent problems in the future with their health!

    -You mentioned decreasing protein, is there more protein in chick food so thats why I should maybe "wean" them off?

    -How would they get too much calcium as chicks? Is there more calcium in the layer food?

    -What if its medicated chick food that I have been using?

    -I sprinkled oyster shells around the run yesterday because I started learning about how thats good to have, should I hold off until I see eggs?

    -I also sprinkled oat meal raw around there run everyday so they get a lot of that, is that too much grains?

    Ugh, I feel so dumb not knowing anything about these guys!
     
  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Feed for laying hens has way more calcium for egg shell formation than chick starter does. It usually has less protein than chick starter. Chicks grow at rapid pace and need extra protein, vitamins and minerals, but not the extra calcium. When they are right at laying age and you see signs of them about to start, you can change to layer feed or wait till you see the first egg. No need to "wean", necessarily.

    NO oyster shell for chicks. That is for calcium for laying hens only. I put it in a rabbit feeder in the coop and they eat it as they need it. Don't put it in the run--sharp edges can cut their feet and cause a staph infection if it's the real oyster shells like I've had in the past.

    Medicated feed is to help build immunity to coccidiosis for chicks. They can be on it till they are laying, but after about 12 weeks, the medicated stuff isn't really necessary-they are usually immune by that time.
     
  8. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Quote:I wouldn't worry about too much protein if you are feeding chick starter, myself. I give oats too mixed in my feed. You are giving it as a treat and generally folks recommend on BYC I have read to keep treats at 10% or less of the total feed.

    They won't eat too much oyster shell before they are laying if you offer it free choice- they'll pick at it but not overindulge- not to worry. You wouldn't want to make a mash with it as that would get them to eat it unknowingly.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011

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