Chicks fed layer feed/cracked corn for first 6 weeks

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Katydid2011, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

    793
    4
    121
    Apr 22, 2011
    West Coast USA
    Earlier this year I encountered a guy who was selling pullets online. I went out for a look and was appalled by the conditions in which they were kept. They were huddled in a dank, dark room in an unclean barn, the only light a 25watt bulb in a corner. He said they'd never seen the light of day or a blade of grass and - he was representing them as 12-week olds - were stunted and only looked like six-week old chicks because of the way he was keeping them. He mentioned that he was feeding them layer feed and cracked corn and had been since they were born... I was beyond appalled, actually, especially since he loudly and proudly proclaimed that he was turning his chicken hobby into a business. [​IMG] He seemed unworried about the way he was raising them, admitting that they weren't being kept well. When I asked him about it his response was that it's cheaper...

    *deep breath*

    I ended up buying the chicks, simply to save them from what I consider horrid conditions.

    I kept them in isolation for a month, with sunshine, grass, quality chick feed, fresh air, clean surroundings, and they did grow quickly. Eventually, I introduced them to my other chicks of the same size. I'm guessing that they're about 14-16 weeks old now and they're beautiful girls that appear to be wonderfully healthy, but I'm worried about whether or not they'll have problems as they reach POL and beyond.

    Has anyone else ever tended chickens that were started on layer feed and cracked corn or anything of that nature? I know that the calcium content in layer feed is too much for chicks but I don't know what to prepare for, if anything. I thought they might fail to thrive and die, but my fears thus far have been unfounded. I feel like I could benefit from the experience/advice of others here, if anyone is willing to offer it.
     
  2. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

    793
    4
    121
    Apr 22, 2011
    West Coast USA
    Hello? Anyone?
     
  3. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    5,390
    131
    303
    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    Life will find a way. Children or chickens, they can be badly misfed, badly treated, and neglected and still find a way to survive.

    You get what you pay for. Feed them poorly, manage them poorly, and you will get poor results just as he did. But they may well survive.
     
  4. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

    793
    4
    121
    Apr 22, 2011
    West Coast USA
    A.T. Hagan :

    Life will find a way. Children or chickens, they can be badly misfed, badly treated, and neglected and still find a way to survive.

    You get what you pay for. Feed them poorly, manage them poorly, and you will get poor results just as he did. But they may well survive.

    As someone who works with abused and neglected children, I can say with some authority that while some children are lost and others simply survive, many THRIVE. I'm so glad you made that comparison between children and chickens. I didn't buy those particular chicks thinking about what I would get out of it, I bought them simply to rescue them, and I think that's exactly what I did. They're beautiful and thriving. Perhaps I should stop worrying about the future and simply enjoy what is.​
     
  5. MetalSmitten

    MetalSmitten Chillin' With My Peeps

    575
    8
    131
    Apr 11, 2010
    bloomington, indiana
    it's hard to say what the outcome will be, just do the best you can and hope they recover. they have a much better chance now with you than they did with him, that's for sure.

    as a side note though, PLEASE call the humane society or animal cops or whoever you have available about this guy. you may have rescued these particular birds, but you gave this man money that he can turn around and use to buy MORE birds. this is just like a puppy mill situation, where you actually do more harm than good in the long run by buying his birds without reporting him, and he's just going to keep on making money off good-hearted people such as yourself. it's a con, through and through, that both takes your money and makes animals suffer.
     
  6. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

    793
    4
    121
    Apr 22, 2011
    West Coast USA
    Quote:You're preaching to the choir. Rest assured that he has been reported and investigated. I understand that he has cleaned-up his operation enough to continue in business, albeit I seriously doubt that any of his chickens will ever be well tended.

    I have worked to rescue many horses over the years and it makes me sick that the minimum standard is so low. I also work with abused and neglected children and, unfortunately, it's the same thing there. The minimum standard is too... minimum.
     
  7. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Hi Katydid2011

    Good luck with the rescue birds.

    In April, I bought a laying hen, and two 5-month pullets. The hen is (gold comet) amazing. Today was her 43rd-in-a-row egg. The pullets, had been getting layer rations as well, but when I got them I switched to 'grower' and I had concerns similar to the ones you expressed.

    Now one is (I think) really doing exceptionally for her breed, while the other one is 'sickly'. If it is due to their raising, or other factors, I don't know for certain---and there is hardly a way to tell without a 'control' group.

    That being said, the management of chickens for many many years was less 'scientific' than it is now -- especially regarding feeds. (at the same time, I guess they had more chance to free range and choose their own diet 'down on granny's farm'.) You gave them their best chance for recovery---and I would expect that they will produce as well as can be expected, especially since you say that they are looking healthy right now.

    Be sure to post back when they are laying age. Animals are remarkable in their ability to adapt and recover.
     
  8. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,867
    14
    171
    Jul 26, 2009
    I think that chickens are pretty tough, as well, and despite the protein deficit and other issues, I bet they'll do fine.

    I would suspect that they'll end up small for their breed, though, since they lacked protein at the crucial stages of development.
     
  9. aggie9296

    aggie9296 Chillin' With My Peeps

    960
    2
    111
    Jan 28, 2011
    Panama City, FL
    I got 3 month old pullets that were raised on scratch. They are now about 7 months old and complete healthy, filled out, and laying daily.
     
  10. MetalSmitten

    MetalSmitten Chillin' With My Peeps

    575
    8
    131
    Apr 11, 2010
    bloomington, indiana
    Quote:glad to hear it, and sorry for the little lecture then [​IMG] I just see it happen SO MUCH where people rescue the babies without reporting, and that's the vicious cycle, over and over and over and...

    i wish people like this guy didn't exist though. you're totally right about the "minimum standards" and it always makes me sad. for any living thing, human or otherwise, it's all just so sad when the bare minimum effort (or worse) is made. why do they even have kids/animals if they don't want to care for them? =/ anyway though, i'll be quiet now, this is clearly a hot button for me and i'm guessing you as well. seriously, good luck with the chickies, i hope no permanent damage was done.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by