Feed chicks within the flock

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In the Brooder
Jul 2, 2016
I have a broody hen raising 6 chicks that she hatched. They are 3 1/2 weeks old now and I plan to move them to the coop with my other two hens when they are 4 weeks old. I know there will be some concerns introducing them to the flock but I am not overly concerned and have somewhat of a plan to handle it.

However, I am concerned about feeding the chicks with the hens. The hens need the layer feed which could cause problems for the chicks. I do have oyster shell available for the hens but like the assurance of giving them the layer feed. I don't know how to ensure the chicks don't eat the layer feed and that the hens don't overly eat the chick starter/grower and miss the calcium they need.

If any of you guys have experienced this or have any ideas please share.

The coup is 4x4 and I don't usually put food in there. The run is 8x16 and I could section a portion off for them but I don't have separate housing for them.
I do grower with oyster shell on the side all the time, because I always have chicks running around it seems, but...
If I were in your place, I'd just mix the layer and starter/grower all together in the same feeder and call it a day. The chicks will probably eat a little of the layer, and the hens will probably eat the chick feed. They'll be okay. The layer isn't the only source of food for the chicks and the hens still have their food with the calcium they need. Layer feed can be an issue when its all the immature birds have to eat. That wouldn't be the case here, they have the option of eating an appropriate feed.

Good luck!
Ideally you should keep the chicks in a portioned off area next to the hens for a bit while they get used to each other, before letting them mingle. I wait until the chicks are around 2-3 months old usually. Then, once they are all together, offer them all chick grower feed, with crushed egg shells or oystershell in a separate feeder for the hens. The hens will help themselves to the shell as and when they feel they need it.
Thanks for the replies! This is very helpful. I can't wait to see how these guys turn out!
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