Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by KDOGG331, Apr 12, 2016.

  1. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Crossing the Road

    Jan 18, 2008
    Seems like most people just feed layer feed and their birds do fine and mine are on layer right now but I had also heard starter/grower until first egg so that's what I did (switched to layer at 15 weeks, went back to starter/grower by 17 weeks until first egg and I ran out). Well now I have also heard that layer is supposed to be the only feed they get and if they get other stuff it lowers the protein so that made me nervous they'd get a deficiency. They seem to be healthy so far but they get greens and such and sometimes free range. I heard all flock was better than I heard someone say they personally don't like it cause calcium is so low or something? And they feed starter/grower. I've also heard starter/grower is the same as all flock, just marketed differently. Also heard of people mixing layer and meat bird to up the protein. I don't know, it's all just so confusing.


    At our local feed store they have all flock (nutrena) which I'd prefer over Purina. As well as nature smart and nature wise and other nutrena but we know someone who works there so I'm afraid to tell them i dont want country feeds lol

    There are other Agways an hour away.

    Our TSC is about the same as the local Agway (15 mins) and for Nutrena brands they have Nature Wise Layer Pellets and Crumbles, both 16%, as well as chick starter/grower and feather fixer, both 18%. They also have Purina Flock Raiser and other feeds.

    Anyhow, was gonma ask this before we bought it but didn't wanna wait but just grabbed another bag of chick starter/grower but I was wondering if Feather Fixer would be okay???

    It says on the bag feed during molting or year round whereas starter/grower says, obviously, for growing chicks.

    My dad thinks they should just be on layer and they're too old for starter but I've heard it doesn't hurt them???

    They have free choice oyster shell (calcium) and just bought more grit.

    They seem healthy, fine, and laying well on all.

    Does it really matter much?

    I didn't wanna switch feed too fast so opted for starter/grower, which they've had a few bags of, over feather fixer.

    But I don't know.

  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Most feeds will be similar in vitamins, minerals, fats and energy. As you've noted, protein and calcium will be the major differences.
    Layer feed is approximately 4% calcium, which is only for birds actively making egg shells.
    Feather fixer is about 3% calcium because it is for layers that are molting so probably aren't laying.
    All other feeds are about 1% calcium. That's appropriate for birds not building shells.
    Protein is a different issue. The younger the bird the more protein they can make use of. When they are from 15 to 18 weeks they can cut back to about 15% protein. Then kick it back up a little at point of lay. 16-17% is sufficient.
    A little extra protein now and then isn't a big deal.
    Adding scratch, greens, fruit, etc. will lower the overall protein. If you feed table scraps, make sure they get meat and fish scraps to up the animal protein.
    Hope this helps.

    I rarely feed layer feed unless every bird in a flock is laying eggs. I always keep oyster shell available if some are laying whether I'm feeding layer or not.
    Layer feed doesn't stimulate laying, it just replaces the calcium lost in the medullary bone when shells are built.
  3. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Crossing the Road

    Jan 18, 2008
    Thank you!! That definitely does help!!

    So then is the higher protein in the chick starter/grower okay with oyster shell since the scraps lower the overall protein???? Or would something like the feather fixer with both the higher protein and calcium be a better compromise? I don't want them to have too low of calcium or protein.

    And I've been thinking of giving meat scraps but wasn't sure if it was safe. Should I cut it up or will they rip it up themselves?

    Thanks for your help
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I feed Flock Raiser with oyster shell on the side to all my birds, and it works fine. They also get limited amounts of scratch, kitchen scraps, and free range on pasture and woods, when the snow is gone. I feel that it's a better blend than feeding layer, for the cocks and young birds, and is less expensive than Feather Fixer. Mary
  5. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Crossing the Road

    Jan 18, 2008

    Thanks for the info! I may have to try Flock Raiser :)

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by