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Feeding my flock...

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by TracyLK, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. TracyLK

    TracyLK Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 15, 2011
    I have 6 three month old hens and 4 three and a half old hens. They are currently eating medicated chick feed. I am running out and wondering what to switch them to next. Out in their run there is some grass as well as dirt, bugs, etc. What type of food do I need to feed them and anything else (oyster shell etc). This is our first time raising chickens and could use all the advice.
     
  2. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Tracy,

    You may get lots of different advice, but here's what I would do if I were you. I would continue with the chick feed until they are at least old enough for egg laying. It is a little difficult (read impossible) to have the feed sack end at the exact time that you need to switch feed types, but that needn't be a problem.

    It is important to have your chickens get everything that they need while they are still developing. You didn't say what breeds you have, but in general the earliest that chickens would lay is 16 weeks or 4-months. Some breeds wait until 7-months old to start. So those chick feeds with 18-20% protein will probably help guarantee healthy chickens. Once they start to lay you can switch to a layer feed, or you can get 'flock feeder' feed which is generally higher in protein than layer feed and always have oyster shell or other source of calcium available to them.

    There is no harm what so ever in making oyster shell available to your chickens all the time. If they need it they will eat it, if they don't need it they will ignore it. I have a cage cup of oyster shell and one of grit there so that they have what they need should they ever require either of those.

    Lots of nice fresh water and adequate food 'free choice' are the approaches most people take. Chickens know what they want/need, so oyster shell available even if you chickens are beginning to lay could easily help you finish off your bags of chck feed in the event that you have early layers.

    Good luck with what you decide.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2011
  3. TracyLK

    TracyLK Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 15, 2011
    Thank you so much for your great advice. It is really appreciated [​IMG]
     
  4. peachachecha

    peachachecha Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 2, 2011
    I got 2, approx. 20 wk, hens and a 16 or 18 wk isa brown hen from a friend. All she has ever fed her chickens is chicken scratch and cracked corn. I purchased Layena crumbles for them. From what I have read chicken scratch is not good as a main diet. I have a dish of grit and oyster shells out for them whenever they want. My concern is should I have gotten a different type of feed for them? They were let out to roam during the day at their old home but I live in the city so have to have them in a small run. I am able to move the run daily, which I have done. This is my first time having chickens, decided to get them since retiring this past Feb. Have been giving them lettuce, melon and cucumber peelings and meal worms.
     
  5. peachachecha

    peachachecha Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 2, 2011
    the 20 wk old hens are Marans.
     

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