Chick starter and then ...??

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by UnlabeledMama, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. UnlabeledMama

    UnlabeledMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My girls are 6 weeks old. We went through a bag of medicated chick starter and then I bought a bag of non-medicated chick starter. What do I feed them when that is done? It seems to early to start Layena ... or is it? At what age do you start laying feed? I also plan on feeding plenty of scraps from the kitchen, at what age do you think they are ready for that? Thanks for the help!
     
  2. blondiebee181

    blondiebee181 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are threads in the learning center of this site that will give you lots of idea on feed so it is worth it to check it out.

    If you are feeding Purina brand, it even offers instructions on the package as to how to manage your birds feed throughout their lives.

    In MY case....I raised chicks and ducklings together so I started with non-medicated Flock Raiser (most cocci meds are toxic to duckies) Flock Raiser is safe for everyone including turkeys and geese and is high in protein. It is also a great adult feed especially now that it's getting cooler, I want those girls to have nice warm coats! HOWEVER, if you feed anything that is not high enough in calcium, you will need to provide calcium supplements for laying hens, otherwise their egg shells will not be hard enough.

    If you would like to feed Layena, you can usually transfer them over at about 16 weeks, and you will probably want to start buying pellet feed (they tend not to waste so much of it) and DO NOT overfeed them or you will contunue to have wasting problems. Layena by itself is usually high enough in calcium so you will not need oyster shells but I always offer it free choice no matter what I'm feeding. I am probably going to finish off my Layena after I finish my bag of Flock Raiser and then buy Omega3 Layena because their foraging will decrease greatly this winter and I want them to be healthy. Both Flock Raiser and Layena are COMPLETE FEEDS, this means they have all the vitamins and minerals neccessary by themselves.....never, EVER feed scratch grain or corn as a complete feed. They have little to no real nutritional value. A girl on here once couldn't figure out why her hens weren't laying.....this was why.

    Kitchen scraps and free-ranging/foraging is important for chickens. This site has a huge list of treats recommended and NOT recommended for chickens...also in the learning center, but most hens will love it if you give them carrot or beet greens, lettuce, melon, pumpkins, grapes, berries, ANY veggies or fruits really but NOTHING that is rotten or moldy or high in fat. My hens LOVE potato chicps but obviously they don't get them a lot. Also don't feed raw potatoes, or raw beans, most hens don't like citrus, don't feed apple or peach pits or seeds....they LOVE mealworms and any grubs they can get. As I said before, corn and scratch can also be fed as treats only.

    Lastly, make sure that when you start feeding anything besides Starter that your hens have access to grit. Grit can be sand in your yard, free choice crushed granite, small stones....it is essential for proper digestion otherwise they get crop-bound and can't digest food.

    Oy, sorry this is a novel...
     
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  3. blondiebee181

    blondiebee181 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh and btw...[​IMG]
     
  4. UnlabeledMama

    UnlabeledMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No - thank you! My husband is finishing up their outside run (hopefully it will be done by next weekend). It will be 20x20 and I was going to wait to give them any scraps until they had the run to range on, but I wasn't sure if I should wait a little after that. I will peruse the articles at the Learning Center but I would appreciate any more thoughts!
     
  5. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Laying feed has calcium in it and too much calcium can be bad for any birds that are not laying eggs. It can build up in their system and cause a variety of problems over time including kidney failure. Some people do go from starter to lay but I personally recommend against it. I have done a lot of research and think there is no good reason to start them on calcium that they can not self regulate that early.

    I would do a non medicated grower or flock raiser. When the girls get close to laying age add oyster shell or some other separate source of calcium in a separate bowl on the side. The girls that start to lay will eat the calcium as needed and the girls that aren't laying yet won't eat it. Once ALL of your birds are confirmed layers you can switch to a laying feed to keep with the grower and extra calcium. Either option is fine.

    If you need up with rooster or a mixed age flock with some layers and non layers the grower with extra calcium is a great way to go and what I personally do to get everyone the best nutrition.

    As the above states if they are not free ranging and live in a smaller space they may also need grit - these are just little rocks that are critical for their digestion. Think of them as chicken teeth.

    If you are looking for good treats, farming your own mealworms is cheap and sort of fun and they LOVE them. Very healthy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
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  6. hen101

    hen101 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    regular chicken laying feed and mine also eat apples
     
  7. bazza56

    bazza56 Out Of The Brooder

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    When feeding you can go many directions to all sorts of extremes. From very expensive feeds to protein, mineral and probiotic supplements. i like to go for the middle ground. Good whole grains and lots of bugs and grass along with treats of yogurt and table scraps for dessert. i also feed some red grit just for giggles.[​IMG]
    Thanx
     
  8. 3forfree

    3forfree Chillin' With My Peeps

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    bazza, where in michigan are you? When I raised pigeons I used red grit, brings back some good memories.
     
  9. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    I personally use a non-medicated starter crumbles all the way to laying age. Once one starts laying or they reach 24 weeks-ish and the last bag of starter is empty it's time to get layer pellet. Very few birds lay at 20 weeks and 16 is exceedingly rare. The real marker/average age is 24 weeks.

    Once the chicks are old enough to go outside they get our scraps and leftovers that stayed in the fridge to long.
     
  10. blondiebee181

    blondiebee181 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My White Leghorn layed at 16 weeks almost to the day and my Americauna at 17 1/2....I was lucky though, no one else on the egg laying thread I am following has had that luck. 24 is average, but it lso depends on breed...some breeds are late bloomers like Marans and Faverolles and Cochins...
     

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