Combining Pullets with Layers....

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by P-Dog, Dec 4, 2016.

  1. P-Dog

    P-Dog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So tonight is the night! We are going to combine our four Cuckoo Marans (about 14 weeks old or so) with our year and a half old Buff Orpingtons. We think they'll be able to hold their own and we're going to do it at night while they are sleeping so they just wake up together.

    My question is about food. The Marans are eating All Purpose crumbles. The Orpingtons are eating Layer Crumbles. I don't want to put the Marans on Layer Feed until they are laying. Can the Orpingtons be switched to All Purpose until the Marans are ready for Layer Feed? If so, what should I give them to supplement the calcium loss?

    Or, is it better to keep them separated? The Marans are in our goat pen while our goats are off being bred. I think the goats are coming home this week, so that's why the combination of the flock.
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Oyster shell is what is commonly used to supplement calcium for layers. Many of us hear don't ever use layer feed as it's easier to have one feed and toss shell on the ground once a week or even use a separate dish for it. Those laying will eat it free choice. The crushed shell is sold in bulk at feed stores. Don't buy the overpriced prepacked shell on the shelf. Bulk is about 30 cents per pound. A 5 to 10 lbs of bulk lasts a very long time. I only toss a handful once per week on the ground for 8 layers.

    Any all flock type feed works. I use turkey/gamebird finisher as it's in pellet form and 20% protein. In spring the entire flock switches over to chick starter, non medicated, until the chicks are old enough to take pellets- about 10-12 weeks of age.
     
  3. P-Dog

    P-Dog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much!
     
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    No problem.

    The feeds are all basically the same excepting protein, fat and calcium content. Omitting the obvious organic, non gmo and whatever else people want but basic nutrition analysis are same. All feeds with 1% calcium are considered all flock as any bird can eat it. The only feed with more calcium is layer and it's also the least amount of protein. Protein content makes feed expensive so the layer is made at bare minimum amounts. Your birds will do better with more. If you take layer out of the mix and your only looking at feed in the protein range your wanting and what form it's served in; mash, crumble or pellet. I'm a huge fan of pellet and witness first hand the savings in waste or wildlife taking less feed. We use less feed when on pellets. Little chicks need mash or crumbles hence everyone on crumble until youngest are 10 weeks then pellet. Both types I use are 20% protein and all other listed analysis nearly identical so all I'm really doing is changing the form the feed is in, crumble to pellet for cost savings.

    18% protein is OK for older birds but I prefer 20% and you'll see layer as low as 15%- that's real bottom of the barrel. Starting and growing birds could get more but do quite well at 20%. If my local mill offered it I'd use 22-24% protein. Which you'd think their meat bird feed was at but nope, they seem to only offer 20% then gamebird/turkey starter at 27%. The thing to take away from my ramblings is don't get pigeon holed by a feed saying it's for Turkey or Meat birds. Look at the tag and you'll see it's really only a protein content change. Use what protein you want to use regardless of intended poultry on the bag.
     
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  5. SueT

    SueT Overrun With Chickens

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    In addition to switching to an all flock type feed, I would also suggest having more than one feeder. This way if the hens try to keep the pullets from eating, there is more than one option. Some people add another waterer as well.
     
  6. P-Dog

    P-Dog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes. I need to get out there in this raging downpour to get the second feeder and waterer out there. I have them both, but the weather today!
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  7. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

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    Let us know how it goes. I haven't had much luck integrating quickly like that, and usually do it gradually over a couple of weeks with a "look, don't touch" period - like with a chicken wire divider. But all breeds and situations are different, so hope it works well for you!

    Last few batches I've integrated early - like starting at 4-5 weeks and it's working much better. I think at that age, the newbies aren't seen to be threats to the pecking order. I provide plenty of hiding places, and a safe house with it's own food and water where the bigger chicken's can't get to.
     
  8. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Feed a grower feed with granite grit and Oyster shell on the side.........

    The best or easiest way to introduce new birds is free range and look no touch pens.......Less stress on all involved.......



    Cheers!
     
  9. P-Dog

    P-Dog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just spent 45 minutes out in the coop. The new girls are cowering in the corner. The two weakest girls in the main flock are randomly coming over and pecking them.

    It does not help that it is raining buckets here and they are not spending any real time in the run. We don't free range. They get a couple of hours every afternoon to play in the yard when we lock up our dogs inside.

    That is a good idea to create a secondary area within the main coop. What we have been doing the past few weeks is allowing the other girls to see the the new pullets when they are out for afternoon play, because the new girls have been in our goat pen in a small coop. (the goats are away being bred) The big girls have shown little interest. In fact we have put them in the goat pen with them the past week in the afternoon in order to introduce them. They have not interacted with the young chickens at all. They sure don't like them being in the main coop though!
     
  10. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Chickens are creatures of habit and very territorial......Pecking order......Yes, they were fine on the new Chickens digs/goat pen......When it comes to their own home.......Pecking order comes into play......Introducing Birds can be a headache if not done properly......Move the Birds into the Chicken Coop and run....look no touch for another week or so.....


    Cheers!
     

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