Different ages

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Coop Lanson, Feb 27, 2017.

  1. Coop Lanson

    Coop Lanson Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 24, 2016
    Hi there, I have a small coop. I have one layer and lost one recently. So, I got two more RIRs that are 4 weeks now and two Golden Comets that are 4 days old. How should I go about everyone's feeding when I put the chicks outside??

    Also any free ranging tips? I grow barley and wheat grass but want to make sure I don't start free range them too early and make sure they get enough.

    Lastly are mealworms really just for treats? Could they have them regularly if their free ranging?
     
  2. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Layer feed with its extra calcium is for layers only. You can have everyone on flockraiser or grower or finisher feed and then just put out an extra container of oyster shell for calcium. The hens will help themselves as needed.
    Once they can make it back to the grower coop mine are allowed to free range with the adults but they go back to their own coop (on their own) at night. They're allowed to free range at maybe 6 weeks, depending, if the weather is nice.
    Mealworms are for treats. If a hen really over does it her eggs may taste vinegary. something you want to avoid. I'll usually throw out a handful as a treat several times a week, but that is it.
    When they are molting or need extra protein, I'll give them cat or dog kibble as a treat.
     
  3. Coop Lanson

    Coop Lanson Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks so much!! I will look into oyster shells, and keep everyone on grower. I wanted to make sure my layer would be good, thanks again!
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    An other consideration: I'd integrate the babies with the toddlers first, then integrate the whole group into the big coop just as soon as the babies are off heat. You can safely do so by providing them with some safe areas where they can go if bullied, but not be followed by the adults.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Ditto Dat^^^ Integration is more of a concern.

    Curious how 'small' your coop is...big enough for 5 birds?
    Hope so..... even still, integration takes some 'extra' space, keep that in mind.

    Agrees the mealworms are a 'treat',
    but an important addition of animal protein to their diet,
    and a much better source of supplemental protein than dog/cat food.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading, tho some info is outdated IMO:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock


    My Feeding Notes:
    I like to feed a flock raiser/grower/finisher 20% protein crumble full time to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat. I do grind up the crumbles (in the blender) for the chicks for the first week or so.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Animal protein (a freshly trapped mouse, mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided once in while and during molting and/or if I see any feather eating.
     
  6. Coop Lanson

    Coop Lanson Out Of The Brooder

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    The chicks and the younger chickens are completely speperate from the one layer. The older ones will go out soon and the chicks have another 5 weeks to go.
     
  7. Coop Lanson

    Coop Lanson Out Of The Brooder

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    My coops and enclosed area are actually very big for 5 chickens. I had chickens and ducks together for a while so I have two coops in a very large dog kennel and they free range. Thanks so very much for the food advice, the breakdown is helpful!
     

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