Chicks on layers pellets

hellfire

Songster
7 Years
Nov 5, 2013
134
117
171
Plymouth Devon UK
I’ve hatched and sold poultry for years and am shocked by this. I sold fertile eggs to a man very late in the season as he returned some young ducks as they were scared of his children. He contacted me to ask if I’d like the chickens he hatched back as just couldn’t have poultry in his garden and wasn’t working out now.
I went to collect them today and they are TINY for 16 week old birds. They are barred Plymouth Rock x RIR. I asked if he’s fed what I’d suggested and said no they’ve been on layers pellets and mixed corn since they hatched! I only had chick crumb mixed in for the first week. I’m amazed 3 survived as I gave him 12 eggs. Apparently a few died at hatch and sounds like his humidity was way too high.
I’ve put them in quarantine and just wondering if anyone actually knows the long term effects of rearing them on that diet? He also only had them under heat for a week.
Needless to say he only reared 3 to this age. Apparently they’ve had greens regularly too such as cabbage broccoli and lots and lots of sweet corn. 🙄
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
4,686
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North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Long term, excessive calcium in layer feed is associated with higher incidence of mortality - particularly in cockerels - due to kidney damage. Short term, the low protein plus the rest of that diet looks a lot like malnutrition and, loosely, "failure to thrive".

I've seen no reliable studies on ways to "fix" the excess calcium build up in the kidneys, but they are quite young, so (as with any condition where the dosage is the poison) there is room for reasonable hope. "I'm not dead yet", I believe, is the quote.

I'd put then on a starter/grower or an all flock (my choice, due to my flock composition), though both are very similar feeds and see what happens. In life, nothing is assured - if there's been no damage done thus far, getting them on a proper diet causes no harm. If there is some damage, its a roll of the dice as to whether its enough to have a health impact, and whether that impact will end them prematurely, or if they first go down to disease or the butcher's knife...

When you find yourself digging a hole, the first step is to "stop digging".
 

Kiki

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6 Years
Jul 31, 2015
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I always raise mine on layer crumble. Had one set of problems I still don't believe was food caused. Everyone else was just fine.
Oh my.
Too much calcium for too long of a period at two young of an age causes irreversible damage to kidneys.

How many birds have you lost over the years of your chicken keeping?
 

Liz Birdlover

Crowing
Jan 6, 2018
1,273
4,316
396
Delaware, USA
I always read the feed bags, it's printed right on them what ages to feed what...I guess that guy didn't bother to read. I wish the feed bags would print a bold type sentence on the front to please refer to proper age feeding chart on back of bag.

I have 5 Maran hens, they're almost 2 yrs old now, laying big, beautiful dark brown eggs. Before I got them, I was told they were fed the proper chick feed, but when they got older they mixed pellets in & those were layer pellets, too soon. I'm not positive how long they were fed wrong, but when I got them I adjusted their feed to be on the safe side & didn't get them on layer feed again til they started laying eggs. I have not seen any illness or issues with them. I know too much calcium too soon was not good, but all I can do is hope their kidneys are ok. They're very sweet, active & good natured birds.
 

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hellfire

Songster
7 Years
Nov 5, 2013
134
117
171
Plymouth Devon UK
Long term, excessive calcium in layer feed is associated with higher incidence of mortality - particularly in cockerels - due to kidney damage. Short term, the low protein plus the rest of that diet looks a lot like malnutrition and, loosely, "failure to thrive".

I've seen no reliable studies on ways to "fix" the excess calcium build up in the kidneys, but they are quite young, so (as with any condition where the dosage is the poison) there is room for reasonable hope. "I'm not dead yet", I believe, is the quote.

I'd put then on a starter/grower or an all flock (my choice, due to my flock composition), though both are very similar feeds and see what happens. In life, nothing is assured - if there's been no damage done thus far, getting them on a proper diet causes no harm. If there is some damage, its a roll of the dice as to whether its enough to have a health impact, and whether that impact will end them prematurely, or if they first go down to disease or the butcher's knife...

When you find yourself digging a hole, the first step is to "stop digging".
Thanks for that. I’ve put them onto growers feed as already had some. They do look malnourished. I’d heard of kidney failure but wasn’t sure if it was proven in hens and cockerels or at all.
I think it will be a waiting game as to if these 3 start to thrive now. 16 weeks old and they look like how mine do at 7 weeks old size wise.
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
4,686
13,673
536
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Chicks and layer feed are like smoking and cancer. You can no more say that a chick raised on laying layer feed will die of kidney damage, assuming you even autopsy, at some future point then you can say a pack a day smoker will die of lung cancer. What you can say with absolute confidence, is that chicks raised on layer feed show incidence of kidney damage and premature death far more frequently than chicks not raised on layer feed. Just like you can say that smokers suffer lung cancer more frequently than the general population...

Its a generality you can have confidence in, even if it tells you very little about a given individual.
 

hellfire

Songster
7 Years
Nov 5, 2013
134
117
171
Plymouth Devon UK
I always read the feed bags, it's printed right on them what ages to feed what...I guess that guy didn't bother to read. I wish the feed bags would print a bold type sentence on the front to please refer to proper age feeding chart on back of bag.

I have 5 Maran hens, they're almost 2 yrs old now, laying big, beautiful dark brown eggs. Before I got them, I was told they were fed the proper chick feed, but when they got older they mixed pellets in & those were layer pellets, too soon. I'm not positive how long they were fed wrong, but when I got them I adjusted their feed to be on the safe side & didn't get them on layer feed again til they started laying eggs. I have not seen any illness or issues with them. I know too much calcium too soon was not good, but all I can do is hope their kidneys are ok. They're very sweet, active & good natured birds.
This bloke clearly didn’t listen to me as he asked me about hatching and raising even though he told me he knew all about keeping any birds due to hatching budgies!
I was quite blunt when I collected them and said they are tiny and your lucky they’ve survived.
He has another several bantams he’s hatched since which he needs gone and some of them are only 4 weeks old and on layers pellets. Was quite tempted to say I’d go back and take them too but no room right now with locking everything up and quarantining them.
Have messaged a friend to ask if she has room.
Your right they need to put it in bold on the front of bags for people who don’t research or read. I often start mine onto layers pellets at about 17/18 weeks old and never had a issue with that. I mix flock raiser in the feeders when they go out with the flock so they get a mix for another week or two. So by 19/20 weeks they are on full layers pellets diet.
 

Aapomp831

Crowing
Oct 4, 2017
3,670
6,223
471
Lincolnton, NC
I always read the feed bags, it's printed right on them what ages to feed what...I guess that guy didn't bother to read. I wish the feed bags would print a bold type sentence on the front to please refer to proper age feeding chart on back of bag.

I have 5 Maran hens, they're almost 2 yrs old now, laying big, beautiful dark brown eggs. Before I got them, I was told they were fed the proper chick feed, but when they got older they mixed pellets in & those were layer pellets, too soon. I'm not positive how long they were fed wrong, but when I got them I adjusted their feed to be on the safe side & didn't get them on layer feed again til they started laying eggs. I have not seen any illness or issues with them. I know too much calcium too soon was not good, but all I can do is hope their kidneys are ok. They're very sweet, active & good natured birds.
I don’t see any Marans in that picture. I thought Marans had feathered feet?
 

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