Feeding layers and chicks together

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by AlbionWood, May 19, 2011.

  1. AlbionWood

    AlbionWood Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 24, 2010
    Albion, California
    I'm sure this question has been asked & answered here, but I tried searching and couldn't seem to find what I was looking for. If someone can point me to threads where this has already been discussed that would be great.

    We've let a couple of broody hens hatch out some chicks, which are currently held in a separate pen away from the other laying hens. This is kind of a pain and everybody really seems to want to get back together, but I can't let the chicks eat the layer feed because it has too much Calcium. How do people deal with this issue? Switch back to FlockRaiser or the like, and let the hens get their calcium from the oyster shell grit?
  2. mdbokc

    mdbokc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    The starter/grower crumbles for the chicks. Layer pellets available for the layers. Oyster shell left out as the layers will eat starter/grower for awhile as well as their layer pellets. The starter/grower will be shared. You are on target.

    ETA - Oyster shell is not grit. I have the small chick starter grit for the chicks. The big ones pretty much leave it alone but the chicks eat it up.
    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  3. Clay Valley Farmer

    Clay Valley Farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2010
    An option too is to make a little cage with small opening and put the chick feed inside so the adults cant get it but the chicks can. Good way too to keep the adults out of medicated chick feed if that is what is being fed.
  4. mdbokc

    mdbokc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    FWIW - I never had any problem with adults in the medicated feed of starter/grower. In fact, I had a couple of girls feeling a bit poorly that after access to the chick food, they definitely perked up and were doing better. That's all I know.
  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    You can go with flockraiser or nonmedicated chick starter with oyster shell available for the layers.

    If you prefer medicated chick starter, I would personally not want my layers eating it.
  6. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    When I have mixed aged groups I feed an all-purpose food (like flock raiser) and keep oyster shell out for those that need it.
  7. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Most of the posters have it right. You can feed Starter, Grower, or Flock Raiser to all your chickens and offer oyster shell on the side. The ones that need the extra calcium should get it while the others will not. Don't panic if you see a chick eating a bite or two of oyster shell. They should not eat enough to hurt themselves.

    Do not have Layer around. If the chicks cannot get to it, Mama will pick it out and give it to them, even if chick starter is available on the ground. Within a week, mine were flying up to the adult feeder to eat out of it with no assist from Mama.
  9. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 11, 2011
    I feed everyone a gamebird feed. I've never seen a need to give my broody hatched chicks medicated feed, but don't like the idea of the chicks being able to access the layer feed. So the gamebird feed was my solution. They all love it, and their feathers are gorgeous. I do believe it is probably more expensive than the other options mentioned, but my birds have never looked better and I think they're worth it. Good luck with your decision.
  10. AlbionWood

    AlbionWood Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 24, 2010
    Albion, California
    Quote:But that isn't the problem. The issue is keeping the chicks away from the layer feed, because the extra Calcium in layer pellets is toxic to chicks. As others have noted, just putting the layer feed out of reach won't do it - the momma will throw some down for her chicks, or the chicks will jump up on her back to reach the food... or just fly up and perch on the feeder while eating!

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