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Eight week old pullets and laying mash = dead chick? :(

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by MrsCadenhead, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. MrsCadenhead

    MrsCadenhead Out Of The Brooder

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    Don't crucify me!
    Saturday night a friend offered me four seven and eight week old BO pullets. I asked him (he's what I consider a chicken guru) if the babies could eat laying mash (crumbles) until this weekend and he said it wouldn't harm them. This morning, I found a dead chick who's seemed completely healthy. :( This absolutely devastated me, of course. It was 28 degrees last night, but I didn't suspect that was cold enough to kill them...i would have taken more measures if I didn't think it'd be ok, but on top of everything else I was diagnosed with pre term labor yesterday and put on modified bed rest, I'm not supposed to be doing anything at all.

    So my real question is, could the chicks die from eating only laying mash crumbles? And at the same time.. How cold is too cold? Their shelter in the small pen isn't fully enclosed since i was just using it to introduce them to the flock, but they aren't exposed wind or moisture. They're also getting a heat lamp this evening, if you guys think it's necessary! I trust the majority of you.

    I'm just confused and sad :( hoping to prevent any more fatalities since it will be cold for a few more weeks.
     
  2. spotsplus

    spotsplus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't think giving the 7-8 week old chicks a layer's mash would kill them. The cold would probably stress them unless they are used to being outdoors. Without more to go on I don't know what may have killed your chick. So sorry for your loss. I would be tempted to put in a heat lamp for ones so young. That's my preference as I think 28 degrees is awfully cold for chicks this young.

    Tammie
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  3. MrsCadenhead

    MrsCadenhead Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you! The question was mostly about the food I suppose, especially since I decided they MUST have a heat lamp... OR ELSE!!! (at least, that's probably how my husband perceived it when i told him...) LOL :lol:
    They have a heat bulb now, and the big chickies can enjoy it too if they'd like! :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    The Layer food did not kill the chick. The problem with feeding Layer to chicks is that Layer has extra calcium for the egg shell. Since those chicks are not laying eggs, they don’t need the extra calcium.

    There are studies that show feeding Layer to growing chicks can harm their internal organs. They actually cut the chicks open so they can see the damage done. But one bite won’t kill them. They have to eat layer over a time period for it to cause any damage. Your chick did not die from eating Layer for one day. It just doesn’t work that way. Your chicks should have been OK eating Layer for a few days but yes, I’d switch them to Grower which has a lot less calcium as soon as reasonable.

    I don’t know what killed that chick. At 7 to 8 weeks old I seriously doubt it was from cold if it was protected from wind as long as it was generally healthy. I know we all have different conditions and raise chicks differently so we will get different results. I can tell you what I did last fall to back up why I feel the way I do.

    My brooder is in the coop. It is well protected from drafts but well ventilated. It is fairly large (3’ x 6’) and I only heat one end. The rest cools off pretty well. The chicks spend a lot of time in the cooler end of that brooder, just going back to the heat when they need to warm up.

    I moved those chicks to an unheated grow-out coop when they were 5 weeks old. Overnight lows were in the mid 40’s Fahrenheit. About three days later, when they were 5-1/2 weeks old, the overnight low hit the mid 20’s Fahrenheit. Those chicks were fine at 5-1/2 weeks old. They were acclimated to cooler weather in the brooder since the far reaches were allowed to cool off. I think that did help them quite a bit.

    I don’t know how acclimated yours are but at 7 to 8 weeks old, they really should not need additional heat in 28 degree weather as long as they are not in a direct breeze. They should be well enough feathered out by now.

    Chickens drop dead at any age. Often it is very difficult to determine why. Sometimes it is a combination of events. Maybe that chick was injured during the move and the stress from the cold was enough to push it over the edge. Maybe it was something totally different.

    Installing a heat lamp won’t hurt as long as it does not start a fire and the chicks have room to get away from it if they get too warm.

    I’m sorry for the loss. I’m absolutely sure it was not from eating Layer for one day. I doubt it was from the cold, though the cold may have been a contributing factor if something else was wrong.
     
  5. nothingbutbirds

    nothingbutbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    the feed should be fine for a while but try not to give it to them for to long as they dont need the amount of calcium in it which can lead to cancer. Like mentioned before I would put a heat lamp on them.sorry bout your chicky tge stress from the move could have caused the chicks death. chickens dont like change that much.Hope every thing turns out all right for the rest.
     
  6. nothingbutbirds

    nothingbutbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    good post :)
     
  7. MrsCadenhead

    MrsCadenhead Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you both!!! :) I'll have them eating a grower variety of food in the next few days. I figured there must be some kind of danger to the layer's mash since my grandfather asked what I'd fed them when I told him she died :/

    You've all been very helpful!
     

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