Feeding mixed age flock layer feed

Megs_menagerie

Chirping
May 16, 2021
28
33
51
Hi, I have 14 hens and 1 little bantam rooster. Only 4 hens are bantam, the rest are larger assorted breeds but I’m worried about starting layer feed as 4 big hens and the bantams will be 18 weeks around August 22, then I have 2 hens at 18 weeks around 9/8, 2 hens on 9/15 and the final two are 18 wks around 9/22. Can I mix the starter and layer feed for a month plus add oyster shell? Also do you offer grit & oyster shell in two separate dishes free choice?
 

U_Stormcrow

Crossing the Road
Jun 7, 2020
8,188
28,642
776
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Better answer.

Switch to an All Flock/Flock Raiser feed, and feed it to your whole flock, all their lives. No muss, no fuss, no concerns about who is laying, who isn't, or what gender they might be. Grit and oyster shell available on the side, seperate buckets, free choice.

MUCH better for the overall health of your birds.

/p.s. Also 18 weeks is a good estimate +/- 2 weeks for when certain breeds of chickens, mostly hybrid layers, are likely to begin laying. Other breeds can, and routinely do, take much longer. Seasonal Light levels and individual bird variations also play a big role - "Start of Lay" is more like a strong suggestion than a date for the calendar.
 

Megs_menagerie

Chirping
May 16, 2021
28
33
51
Better answer.

Switch to an All Flock/Flock Raiser feed, and feed it to your whole flock, all their lives. No muss, no fuss, no concerns about who is laying, who isn't, or what gender they might be. Grit and oyster shell available on the side, seperate buckets, free choice.

MUCH better for the overall health of your birds.

/p.s. Also 18 weeks is a good estimate +/- 2 weeks for when certain breeds of chickens, mostly hybrid layers, are likely to begin laying. Other breeds can, and routinely do, take much longer. Seasonal Light levels and individual bird variations also play a big role - "Start of Lay" is more like a strong suggestion than a date for the calendar.
Thank you, that sounds great! Should I worry about protein level, I saw Nutrena makes one with 20% protein and didn’t know if that was too much?
 

U_Stormcrow

Crossing the Road
Jun 7, 2020
8,188
28,642
776
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Over 24% is too much for baby ducks - higher risk of "angel wing".

Perfectly all right for laying chickens, and developing chickens, and chickens in molt. A number of benefits for higher protein feeds relative to 16% rations, but diminishing returns (and of course a slight increase in cost). Statistically measurable increases in frequency of lay, quality of egg (contents), and size of egg - but all so small as a backyard owner you won't notice. Biggest observable benefits are in overall health, speed of weight gain for developing chicks, body condition for "adult" birds, and speed of molt when they get their - the higher protein helps with feather replacement.

There is a down side - higher protein means higher nitrogen content in the poops - but because you don't have to dispose of tons of chicken waste a month like a commercial breeder, and because your coop is very well ventilated (if not, we can help with that too), the trace additonal ammonia isn't a concern either.

and of course, as fertilizer, their poop will be a little "hotter" - but that's not an issue for the very vast majority of management practices.

So. good question. No, its not too high. Some people raise meaties on higher protein than that. My own flock (in Signature, below) gets 24% to six weeks. Then I cut the protein to something more cost effective - but I like the early weight gain, makes them better prepared to enter the grow out pen & run at 3 weeks, and to join the free range flock at 6 weeks.
 

Parront

Crossing the Road
Jul 27, 2017
6,522
27,667
907
Prescott, AZ
I feed an All Flock feed that is 20%, I think I get larger eggs with it than the 16% I was using. I had bought 3 new birds from a local AZ member, and the eggs were very large at first. On my feed, the egg size went down. She told me she uses the high protein feed, and I switched. For my small number of birds, the cost is negligible. I sell my extra eggs, and larger eggs sell better.
 

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