Feeding concerns for a mixed coop

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by RyanAndMeri, Jun 6, 2008.

  1. RyanAndMeri

    RyanAndMeri In the Brooder

    Sep 10, 2007
    I've been browing posts for several hours now...and I'd like to see if anyone has an opinion for our situation.

    We have twelve 9 month old Buff Orps outside in the coop and running around the backyard. One of those is a roo.

    We finally moved a batch of 'teenage' chickens outside last night. I don't have anywhere to really keep them apart. There are five 3-month old chickens and two 2-month old chickens - they are all fully feathered.

    So far they are getting along ok...hehe...we'll see how that goes. However I have some food questions.

    I have 3 options at my feed store:

    Medicated chick starter
    16% protein lay mash or pellets
    20% protein lay mash or pellets

    (Please keep in mind that until last fall my only animal experience has been with cats...and with them, the higher the protein content in their food, the better. Or at least that's what the vet said...)

    I fed the older chickens the medicated chick started until 16 weeks. Yeah. At week 17 they started laying. LOL. So they are solidly on the 20% lay mash -- and about 3 weeks ago, I started mixing the oyster shell right in the feed because we had an issue with one hen laying 'soft' eggs...or wierdly shaped ones. The extra calcium straight into the food seems to have fixed the problem.

    Will that extra calcium hurt the rooster?

    Now with my teenagers out there...is having that oyster shell in the food going to cause a problem?

    I've read so many posts that says the extra calcium causes problems, but then I've read posts that says that after the major growth spurt (1st 8 weeks) they can pretty much eat whatever they want.

    I'm not worried about the protein content. I chose the 20% protein because I think higher protein makes healthier animals -- not to mention the eggs taste fantastic.

    The teenagers seem to be eating fine...and I definately don't want to put the chick starter out there because my hens pretty much eat anything I take out. [​IMG]

  2. ZooMummzy

    ZooMummzy Queen of the Zoo

    Mar 31, 2008
    Philomath, Oregon
    I don't know but I'm anxiously awaiting the answers because I'm going to have these same questions and issues very soon. I know it shouldn't be, but this whole feeding thing is pretty confusing to me at times.
  3. a2ms4chickens

    a2ms4chickens Songster

    Dec 16, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    I'm in the same situation.

    My adult hens and roosters get the layer feed & oyster shell. I also put the oyster shell in with the food because I read that the rooster won't eat it.

    I have 4 2mos old chicks, and 3 3week olds and 9 2 week old chicks.
    Right now, the babies are either in a separate pen, or in a pen with the 2 mamas, so feeding them the starter/grower is no problem. However, when they get mixed in with the other chickens, how do I keep the older ones out of the starter/grower feed, because they love it!!

    How do I keep the chicks from eating the layer feed?

    Any answers to clarify my confusion would be greatly appreciated.
  4. edster951

    edster951 Songster

    my chooks of all ages freerange, and three times a day I throw in some pellets, grains etc...

    It is not thier staple diet, so I think it is ok.

    All mine are various ages too, from 3 months to 3-4 years old.

    I donot leave bicket full of pellets around for choice as I think it attracks(sp) the rats etc..

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