Feeding a Mixed Flock. Questions!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by KinderKorner, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. KinderKorner

    KinderKorner Songster

    Mar 8, 2009
    Southern Illinois
    Alright so I hatch chicks out monthly. They stay in the house for a few weeks, then move outside to a smaller brooder, then are mixed into a larger brooder that hold my birds that are 1 month-3 months old.

    All during this time, they are on medicated chick starter/grower. I only have medicated avalible in my area.

    Then once they seem big enough, (usually 3 months) they are released outside with the main flock.

    The main flock has laying hens, roosters, young started birds, broodies chicks.

    But I am still so confuzed on what to feed them.

    Layer will hurt the babies, but on the chick starter is says not to feed to hens.

    So what should I feed them? [​IMG]

    I never worried about it until I read several times that different foods can hurt them.

    It's impossible to spearate feed for the main flock. So they are all going to eat the same thing.

    The brooders will have chick starter, and the ducks will have game bird food. My breeding pens get layer.

    Please help me figure out what is the healthiest food for my flock.
  2. moonflowers

    moonflowers Songster

    Apr 3, 2009
    Louisville, KY
    I can't help, but am very interested in the answer. I currently have 8 12 week olds and 3 8 week olds. I had planned on switching to layer when the 12 week olds lay, but am scared it could hurt the younger ones.
    Maybe while you have younger chickens with the main flock you could feed grower with a side of oyster shells?
  3. poultryhaven

    poultryhaven Addicted to Seramas!

    Jan 19, 2009
    Ocala, FL
    I have fed my hens chick starter it didn't kill hem. I fed them that for like a month, it just might cut back on egg production. I have also have fed my chicks layer pellets it didnt hurt them either
  4. Chickenmaven

    Chickenmaven Songster

    Feb 6, 2009
    Hens need calcium and the babies do not.
    I think I have it figured out. I feed the whole gang a multi-flock/flock raiser feed and make sure there's a calcium source for my hens. I am interested to see how others will respond to this question.
  5. citrusdreams

    citrusdreams Songster

    May 4, 2009
    I feed the chicks broiler starter until they go outside to the henhouse or to a shelter in their assigned pen. If I still have that feed left, I'll finish it with them. But if I don't, they get layer mash. I don't buy anymore after that anyway, so in addition to free ranging, they get layer mash and scratch as a treat.

    So this batch of babies that I have this spring got starter for about a month, and after that I put them on layer mash. They're all big, healthy and lively.

    I've never had any problems when feeding chicks layer mash. Two years ago I didn't buy one bag of starter feed. They all turned out healthy and they're fine.

    Perhaps it helps that I free range them? Even when they're penned, the pen is full of foliage (you can't even see a chicken in the foliage right now, they love it hide in it when the sun is out) and they have a pretty varied diet. Maybe that offsets the calcium that some suggest is too much for chicks?

    If I had a mix as you're describing, everyone would get layer mash, scratch for treats, table scraps, and they'd be free ranging.
  6. SunAngel

    SunAngel Songster

    May 20, 2008
    Chambersburg, Pa.
    I am often adding 3-4 month olds to my flock of hens...so I mix 15% grower crumbles with 16% layer crumbles in their feeder and then offer oyster shell separately. They all seem to do just fine.
  7. kathyinmo

    kathyinmo Nothing In Moderation

    But, how do you offer the hens extra calcium seperately? How do you keep the younger ones out of it, if they are all together?
  8. momoftwinsinwi

    momoftwinsinwi Songster

    May 29, 2007
    Rochester, WI
    oyster shells available for the hens is all they need for extra calcium
  9. momoftwinsinwi

    momoftwinsinwi Songster

    May 29, 2007
    Rochester, WI
    and it's cheap and will last forever LOL
  10. Hazelnut

    Hazelnut In the Brooder

    Jun 16, 2009
    Just to add to the confusion, does chick starter have too much protein for hens that are close to laying age?

    I am in a similar situation, I have 10 week old chicks and I am about to get a laying hen that is over a year old. I am planning on feeding them all an organic layer feed that is locally mixed. The man who makes it told me that my chicks will be fine on it and that he feeds it to chicks as early as 4 weeks with no problems. He raises a lot of chickens for egg production, and supplies his feed to a local organic farm that I go to, so I feel pretty confident about his advice.

    When I asked him about the issue of too much calcium for chicks, he said, "That shouldn't be a problem. What you worry about is too much protein for chickens close to laying age. Then that can cause real problems."

    It's all very confusing.

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