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Feeding a mixed flock

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by tstmard, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. tstmard

    tstmard Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm trying to figure out what I should be feeding my mixed flock. I have 2 laying hens who are 3 years old, some chicks that are about 12 weeks old that are both pullets and cockerels, and 2 little pullets that are about 7 weeks old. They all free range during the day. I've been feeding the youngest 2 Nutrena medicated chick starter, and the rest who are all in the same coop nutrena layer crumbles but after reading up on things today I've found out that I probably shouldn't be feeding them the layers. I also feed all but the youngest ones scratch as well.
    So I'm not sure exactly what I should be feeding them where it's such a mix of ages and genders.
    Thanks in advance for any advice I get.
     
  2. shortstaque

    shortstaque Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not very knowledgable in the feed department, but personally I wouldn't have medicated crumbles where my layers could access it because I wouldn't want to eat the eggs. I have a feeling that since they all free range, as long as they have a access to a large and diverse area that you could probably feed a non medicated crumble and everyone would adjust their diet to suit their own personal needs when they are out on the range. I'm a fan of supplementing the feed ration on the side with a little something high protein like BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds) and high carb, like scratch once or twice a day to let them adjust the protein/carb ratio to their own needs too. I tend to give more scratch in the winter when they have to generate heat to keep warm.

    ETA: Of course I would also make sure to have free choice calcium for the layers.

    I'm sure someone else will come along with a more scientific answer for you.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    At my house, chicks in brooders get medicated chick starter and they continue with that once they are "on the ground" in their grow out coops for another month. (No good giving them something to build their resistance to cocci, which is what the med feed does, if they don't get EXPOSED to cocci whilst on it!)

    Everybody else gets the equivalent of Flock Raiser or All Flock feed, and I keep crushed oyster shell out 24/7, free choice, for the layers.

    I do not use layer feed.

    My flock is comprised of chickens and ducks at ages from 3 days to 2 years. All it took was one attempt to keep feed separate, and watching the hens scarf up the chick starter and all the youngsters eating the layer feed which was left, for me to realize they all needed to eat the same thing.
     
  4. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 13, 2008
    Quote:I have a mixed flock too. I've heard others talk about something called "flock raiser" which is a general feed suited to a situation like yours. You might look for that. I also have used something called "all-purpose" before, which I believe is similar.

    But I would also like to say that I have raised young birds from maybe 8 weeks or so with the rest of the flock on layer feed before--no harm done. I've also fed it to baby chicks, at least short term, when I ran out of starter. I'm not sure why some people make all this hullabaloo about the "hazards" of feeding young birds layer and so forth. Just from looking at the nutritional information on the bags of feed, I've observed that all of these single-purpose feed mixes are remarkably similar in their makeup. When I thought about that, along with the fact that about a third of what my flock eats is random scraps, moldy bread, vegetables, azolla, insects etc., etc. (as well as the fact that throughout most of history chickens were raised on a few handfuls of surplus grain and some garbage, plus whatever they could scrounge up on their own), I started doubting how important those tiny differences in the numbers really are... As a result, I've started worrying about it less and less. And I don't see the point in making other people worry overmuch about it either.

    I privately suspect much of this is a marketing gimick--the same people are the ones who will tell you that you should never raise chickens of different ages together in the first place, OR ELSE. Much of what you hear or read has little bearing on home flocks--but if people make you think that raising chickens is more complicated than it is, then they can sell you more stuff.

    If the babies need some extra protein, for example, I give them a piece of spoiled cheese or leftover fish once in a while, or I kick over a rotten log so they can eat some bugs. I have yet to see any ill effects from my "carelessness" in this regard...

    You will hear wildly varying opinions on this, I'm sure--but this is my personal experience and opinions formed thereof...

    Good luck with your motley chicken family! [​IMG]
     
  5. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, and just BTW, for whatever an alternate perspective is worth to you, I never use medicated starter feed. Never had any problems over the years. Lot's of folks like to use it because they feel better that way, and of course if you've actually HAD Cocci problems in your flock on a regular basis you might want it. But I feel that in general medication is something better used to deal with a problem, not used indiscriminately on the off chance a problem might arise. I think it's unnecessary, and even harmful in the sense that you might breed resistent strains of pathogens in the flock and/or weaken the young birds' immune systems. Everytime I buy chick starter they try to convince me I need the medicated feed. I just smile, and buy the non-medicated.

    To my mind, metaphorically speaking, giving medicated feed de rigeur is like locking the barn door in case you ever happen to get a horse... [​IMG]
     
  6. painterpeach

    painterpeach Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] skythechickenman i,that is we, think that you are spot on man! way to go! we think you know what your talking about!
     
  7. tstmard

    tstmard Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 8, 2008
    Thanks everyone! Think I'll have my Mom return the bags of food she got the other day and see if she can exchange them for the All Flock and some oyster shell.
    Question on the eggs from the hens who get alittle of the medicated chick starter. The website for the brand of food I use Nutrena says
    Laying hens can be fed amprolium, and eggs are safe for human consumption.

    Is that correct?​
     

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