Feeding Chicks and Hens Together

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by rtwood42, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. rtwood42

    rtwood42 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 25, 2013
    Northern CA, near Chico.
    Hi all.

    I have a flock of laying hens and also a batch of chicks that are about 7 weeks old. The chicks have been raised in their brooder in the coop with the hens. First they were separated by cardboard then by wire then I cut holes in the wire so the chicks could mingle with the hens and everybody seems to get along fine. I am planning on removing the brooder completely in a day or two.

    For now, I will have a separate feeder for the chicks (the hens won't be able to get to it) with starter/grower in it. However, I imagine it won't be long until the chicks start getting into the hens' feeder.

    My question is: when the chicks are eating out of the hens' feeder, is it OK to mix starter/grower with layer, or is that still too much calcium for the chicks? Should I switch to flock raiser alone at that point (with plenty of oyster shell freely available)? Or should I do something else entirely?

    Thanks,
    Ryan
     
  2. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    You really don't want your chicks eating layer. I wouldn't risk it. Calcium can have long term health effect for young birds. But, the good thing is that as long as you supply oyster shell or some other calcium source SEPARATE from your feed then you do not have to feed a layer to your laying hens.

    I would get a non-medicated starter or a grower/flock raiser and feed that to all of your birds with a bowl of oyster on the side -- once you have all laying birds again you have switch back to a layer or just keep with a grower + calcium. Either way is fine.

    When the calcium is separate the birds will only eat as needed. I actually feed a non-medicated starter plus oyster all the time to all my birds.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
  3. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    What DinoChicken said.
    I don't like having to buy & handle different bags of feed so when I have a situation like that everybody eats starter/grower. I mix crack corn with the starter/grower for the Hen Pen and the Death Row rooster pen because they obviously don't need 20% protein. The Quail Pen and Brooder Pen gets straight starter/grower.
    Otherwise instead of just buying crumbles & corn I'd be buying starter, grower, finisher, layer, flock raiser, and gamebird food and having to deal with that many bags of feed just confuses my mind.
     
  4. rtwood42

    rtwood42 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 25, 2013
    Northern CA, near Chico.
    Thanks for the replies.

    I remember reading in a book somewhere that if you can't find grower, you can mix starter with layer and that brings the protein down as well as the calcium to an acceptable level. But I wasn't sure if that was a good idea.

    I have a non-medicated starter/grower available and a game bird mix that is designed for feeding chickens and other types of birds together. Both are 18% protein. So I suppose either would be a good choice as long as I also supply oyster shell. The game bird mix is available locally so I will probably use that.

    Thanks,
    Ryan
     
  5. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lower Alabama
    What you read in a book was probably meant as only a temporary thing until you could get the proper feed.
    The starters, growers, etc have the proper amount of calcium and any amount over that from mixing with layer would be too much for chicks.
    The other important thing is, your chicks needs 20% protein until they're 10 weeks old then it can be bumped down to 15% until 18 weeks old.
     

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