feeding layer feed when there's a chick present.


6 Years
Aug 17, 2013
If I'm not supposed to feed layer feed until 18 weeks how do I feed the flock if one of the hens has a chick. I was gonna by a bag if purina flock raiser to put in the feeder and then add oyster shells to the coop for the hens but I didn't know if the hens will still lay. I was tild they don't lay eggs if I don't feed layer food but im wondering how all the chickens in the beginning reproduced if this is true. I just dont want to hurt my chick..
I’m sorry but you have received bad information. Many of us in your situation feed Grower, Starter, or Flock Raiser with oyster shell on the side and do fine.

If you look on the label at the analysis the only difference in Layer and the others is calcium. There will be some differences in protein too. The minor differences in the other stuff is not significant.
Most layer has 16% protein wile grower is 20-22% and some meat bird grower is 25-16%. Then there are the different nutrients. Your layers do not "need" layer food to lay. When we have chicks everyone gets starter/ grower and then finisher.... and then once everyone is ready for layer we switch back. We have close to 70 chickens not counting the meat birds as we keep them separate on high protein feed.
With mixed ages, we try to feed an all ages food that is 18-20% protein and have oyster shell on the side for the laying hens, they lay fine. A little extra protein won't hurt laying hens. Protein is money, and 16% seems to be the protein % point where commercially they get the best value of eggs for money spent on feed.
My flock is mixed with 16 eighteen month old, 5 eight month olds, and 17 at 18-19 weeks. I feed the entire flock chick grower 20% with oyster shell thrown in for the egg shell strength. When I was gifted the 18 month olds they were in really bad shape so they were fed chick grower. I figured the high protein would help with recovery. They now are great and lay well. I switched to layer rations about 3 weeks ago and my egg production dropped by nearly half and the size of the eggs diminshed. I went back to the higher protein and, you guessed it, the production and egg size went back up.
I guess what I'm leading to is my hens lay better on the grower feed than the layer. I know all flocks aren't the same but that's my experience.
Isn't it amazing how some folks think layer feed is magic or something? I've also met folks who swear blind a hen won't lay a single egg ever if she's not getting "layer" feed. Uh, yeah, how did chickens ever survive? okay, off with the sarcasm.........

I'm in the group that feeds an all-in-one type feed to everyone, all the time. new chicks, old hens, roosters, whatever. Toss oyster shell in the run occasionally (they really don't need that much) and my birds are good to go. Heavens, if they managed to lay more eggs if I gave them layer feed, I'd literally be swimming in eggs!

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