For each of my batches for chicks, I buy 1 or 2 bags of chicks starter and when it runs out, they go straight to layer pellets. This is usually when they are around 2 -3 months of age and it's because I want to integrate them with the older chickens. When they are with the older laying hens, it's pointless to keep both foods out when they are together because they will both end up eating each others food. My problem is that in the past 4 years, I have rasied about 30 chicks to adult hood, and of those, 5 died a sudden death at 5 months old. They were happily running around as healthy birds one day and gone the next. I just now realized that this is a problem and I'm trying to figure out the cause. Other than these 5, the only other deaths were caused by old age. When I brought these deaths to attention, I was asked by a fellow BYCer when I switched the chicks to layers pellets. I thought about it and they were all switched early. Another BYCer thought that the extra calicum causes kidney damage. So, could the fact that they were switched early be the cause of the sudden deaths at 5 months? Not everyone died, like I said, 5 died out of about 30. Are there any other problems associated with switching the later pellets early? I currently have five 3 month old chicks that have been eating layer pellets for the past couple of weeks, are they at risk? Should I switch anybody under 10 months old back the chick starter? I'd feel horrible if I killed those 5 through the feed, I never thought about that posiblity until it was brought up. Thanks.