Feeding laying hens and a rooster


Jun 9, 2022

I have a flock of 5 laying hens and one rooster. They are 10 weeks old and still on starter feed. But when they’re 18 weeks, I’m not sure what to switch them to. I’m under the impression laying hens require different nutrition than a rooster. Any recommendations?
I usually recommend that the typical backyard owner, of the typical backyard flock, with typical backyard management practices feed an All Flock/Flock Raiser* type crumble to all their birds, all their lives, with free choice grit, oyster shell, and fresh clean water available at all times in seperate dishes. Without regard to age, gender, onset of of lay, condition of molt, etc.

*Essentially an 18-20% protein, 3.5% fat+/-, 1.5% calcium +/-, 3.5% fiber +/- feed, preferably with about .6% Phosphorus, at least .35% Methionine, and .7% Lysine.

Because its easy for you, and its good nutrition for them.

All of my adult birds - chickens and ducks - get exactly the same feed, which happens to be 20% protein. I feed my youngsters a higher protein mix for their first 6-8 weeks (basically, until they join the adult flock) as I have facilites to separate the flocks. My reasons for that are complicated, its not something I recommend for everyone. But All Flock, all the time, for all the birds of all the genders is a safe and easy way to raise chickens, ducks, geese. Doing something different has limited benefits in limited conditions, and should only be considered after weighing all practical options.

My flock is in my Sig, below. You can see the results of me feed regimen here.
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I have 4 chicks and a roo 3 weeks old, and 3 pullets 6 1/2 months old. The chicks are in the coop and I am feeding them the starter. Big girls are outside but have access to the coop. Is it ok if they eat some of the starter? And what if the roo eats some of the laying feed? have been reading all the wonderful info on the site but wondered if it would be alright to continue to feed the laying feed to big girls and would it be ok for the others to eat it if they want. I plan on changing to an all-flock as soon as we finish with the starter amd what laying feed I have left.
Perfectly safe for all your birds to eat starter. The calcium in layer feed is bad for roosters and hatchlings/adolescents, but its a progressive pathology and most affects very young/developing birds. You will never notice any effects if every once in a while your rooster gets some layer feed.

That said, feeding mixed flocks is a hassle. Its why a majority of the active posters on BYC's feed forums recommend all flock, all the time, with clean fresh water and oyster shell (seperate dishes) and grit available for all the flock, all the time.

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