Chicks with older


In the Brooder
9 Years
Apr 17, 2010
Living Free in NH
I will be ordering a new batch of chicks next spring. My 15 chickens will then be a year old and of course on layer feed. When the chicks come out of the brooder (and eventually commingle with the layers) and I start them in on grower feed, how do I get them to stay with the grower feed and the layers on layer feed? Sure...different feeders - but won't they go for whatever food they can find?
I currently have a couple of pullets who have started to lay, and a couple who haven't. I'm giving everyone the same all purpose poultry food, but I'm also offering oyster shell, so the layers get the extra calcium they need. You could do the same. Have everyone eat the grower food, but offer oyster shell for the layers. Calcium is the biggest difference between the two kinds of food.
I feed mine Flock Raiser and Layena for matured and growing stock.

For chicks and all around, best for me is just use Flock Raiser and supplement the laying hens with calcium shells in a separate container.
If you co-mingle the youngsters with the mature flock, you should feed grower/finisher or the equivalent of FlockRaiser and offer oyster shell free choice, as I do.

I keep the oyster shell in an empty tuna can nailed to an inside coop wall near a feeder. I also dump some in one particular spot in the yard because I have a laying duck who does not go into the chicken coop(s).

I tried feeding the different types to the two groups at first, because the mature birds were in one coop and the rest were in other coops (they all free range). The youngsters didn't get the laying feed, but the grown birds went for the grower/finisher feed a lot MORE than they ate the laying feed. When I got a couple of soft-shelled eggs, I realized I had to fix that.

So now I don't even buy laying feed. They're all on the same thing (except that chicks under 8 weeks of age are still on chick starter) and the crushed oyster shell is out there for the layers.
Yes, in a separate dispenser. That way the girls who need it can help themselves. I've read it's easy for non-layers to get too much calcium in layer food, and it's hard on their kidneys. I'm hoping my other girls will start laying some time soon.

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