Feeding help! Several questions...

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by kressg23, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. kressg23

    kressg23 In the Brooder

    May 12, 2008
    Hi all! I'm getting quite the little flock built up now. My bantams are 4 months old (I expect my hens will soon start laying?), my RIRs are 2 months old, and I have 8 one-week-old chicks of varying breeds.

    My first question is regarding feeding in general. First off, I put their food in the little feeders I have hanging on the wall, and they immediately flick it all out onto the floor. While I don't mind them doing this, since they can "forage" for it, it makes it a huge waste when I clean out their coop. Can someone suggest a better feeder that makes it more difficult for them to flip it out?

    My second question is regarding my older hens. I know I'm supposed to feed them layer pellets when they start laying as well as oyster shell. How do the other chickens know which are the grower pellets and which are the layer pellets? How will the hens know?

    Lastly, regarding my newest babies. I have a small cage inside the big coop outside. The babies are inside my house now, in a homemade brooder. At what age can I move them to the cage inside the coop? And again at what age can I let them out with the rest of the flock?

    I introduced my RIRs to my banties by letting them live inside the cage for 2 weeks so the banties could get used to them. They have been living together for about 2 weeks now and the banties still rule the roost. The RIRs, while growing - and are now the same size as the banties, will eventually surpass them in size, are still very afraid of them. The banties don't appear to be doing anything to them other than chasing them around sometimes, but I don't sit out there all day long to watch. I want to be sure my baby chicks will be safe, but since there are 8 of them, they will outgrow that cage by the time they are 2 months old. It's 3Wx4Lx3H. Thanks for any help. [​IMG]
  2. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    I'll try to answer some of these...
    1. Chickens are HUGE food wasters! [​IMG] I hang my feeders as high as I can so that they can barely get the food out, but can't beak it all over the place.
    2. Only hens of laying age should eat layer feed, so you have one of two options. You can keep feeding the grower until everyone is old enough for layer feed, or you need to separate the different ages until they are all over 18 weeks or so.
    3. I don't put any birds together until they are the same size. Since some of yours are banties that obviously isn't possible, but I'd keep the babies away from the RIRs until they are all of similar size.
  3. dirtfishing1

    dirtfishing1 In the Brooder

    Oct 5, 2007
    Blue Ridge Mtns VA
    Hello, First off let me welcome you to the forum.

    I feed all my birds grower finisher after 10 weeks old.
    I supply oyster shell in a separate feeder for the layers.
    That way all the birds eat the same food and the layers will take the calcium as needed. You do not need layer ration if you supply oyster shell.

    The feeder I use is from Foys Pigeon Supplies. I hang it at back height and only have to fill it every 3 days. I use the 14 lb model. Try this link.


    As for mixing flocks, I have a teenager pen inside my run so that all the birds can see each other for at least a week.
    Then I let the older birds mingle for a hour or so a couple of days. Then I mix them first thing in the morning and leave them to it. I have had no issues, just a little chasing. Make sure the little birds have lots of room to run away from the chasers. In about a week they will get along fine.
    2months old should be alright, but I would be around if there are any rescues to be made.

    Good luck.

    Last edited: Jun 30, 2008
  4. DouglasPeeps

    DouglasPeeps Songster

    Feb 26, 2008
    This picture is of my hanging feeder. As the others have said, "chickens are huge food wasters!". I like this feeder because it has a "lip" around the edge. While the chickens still like to "bill" their food out, I have noticed less waste. Also, when I switched my chickens to layer pellets from their starter grower, there is also less waste. I think it is because they can bill out the crumbles easier then the pellets. Just a guess...


    I found this at our local feed store. I don't think it is hard to find.
  5. kressg23

    kressg23 In the Brooder

    May 12, 2008
    Thanks for the replies!! I was able to find that exact feeder and will move to that. I think it will work much better. I like the idea of feeding the grower/finisher to everyone and the hens will still get the nutrients they need. I'll have to use up what I have for now, but that'll be next on the list. (And thanks to all the awesome info here, I'll remember to mix it with what they have here for a time before changing them over completely.) [​IMG]

    Thanks for the help! I am so anxious to have eggs!!! Should be soon!

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