Feeding my layers the wrong starter!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Chickspa, Apr 7, 2017.

  1. Chickspa

    Chickspa New Egg

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    I have 5 week old chicks that I got from a reputable hatchery, but bought their feed at Tractor Supply. The person there told me what feed they use, so I picked up a bag. Now that I'm getting some meat chicks, I researched what they should eat, and bought the 24% starter for them. Got home, and realized that I've been feeding my layers 24%, too!! Argh! No wonder they are giants at 5 weeks! I'm going to the local farm bureau today and can pick up different feed for my layers. What SHOULD they be eating? And have I damaged my poor chicks by feeding them 24%?

    Thanks!
     
  2. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

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    They will be fine. If it were me I would give them flock raiser or similar. It's 20% protein. You can feed it to all ages.
     
  3. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I use Starter/Grower or All Flock for my entire flock. I have roosters, chicks of varying ages, and layers. So it makes no sense for me to buy one feed for this one, one for that one, and another for the rest. They won't stay out of each others' feeders anyway. I supply oyster shells in a separate container for the layers. I've had no issues the years I've been doing this, and the chicks grow well, the layers lay well and the roosters.....well, the roosters roost well. [​IMG] I want the higher protein for all of my chickens.....they molt faster, feathers are stronger, and they can withstand our harsh winters better. And feather eating, where they seem to eat every feather they find and then peck the feathers off flock-mates, is usually corrected with additional protein so why not try to prevent the problem in the first place?

    If you are concerned about the weight in your chicks, a few things come to mind. First of all, this is kinda the age when their growth is unbelievably fast, so it may well be nothing at all to worry about. They tend to look "rounder" at this stage. You could also rethink how much they eat. Lots of people fill the feeders in the morning and then adjust the amount they feed by checking if the feeders are close to empty at the end of the day. You could try "fermented feeds" too....lots of threads on here about that so just do a search in the search bar. And last, you don't say how many treats they get or if they free range at all (at 5 weeks old most folks don't do that yet, although mine are out at just a couple of weeks old) and base on their food intake accordingly. Treats are treats....they don't need them nor should they have them constantly.

    Good luck! And WELCOME TO BYC!

    Edited to add: @keesmom , we posted at the exact same moment! Haven't crossed paths with in in forever! Good to see you!
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2017
  4. Chickspa

    Chickspa New Egg

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    Thanks so much for your quick replies. My chicks are huge, in that they grew fast (my sister who raises chicks was surprised at their size, which is why I think they are giant), but not fat - frankly, I think they look awesome. Their feathers are almost all in, and they seem super happy and healthy. I'll pick up some oyster shells today for them. They will be separate from my meaties. I was hoping to put my chicks out in the coop after the weekend so I can use the brooder for the meaties. I'm a little nervous about putting a lamp in with them. They've been hanging out inside at 70 degree overnight, and everyday that isn't raining, they've been outside for the afternoons at between 50-70 degrees, happily plucking around in the dirt and grass. Will they be okay in the coop at 60-80 degree days and 40-50 degree nights without a lamp?
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2017
  5. KikisGirls

    KikisGirls Be Happy! Read more. Premium Member

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    How big is huge?
    Can you post a few pics of them?

    Yes they will be just fine out there..right Blooie?
     
  6. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Well, mine did great at 5.5 weeks old with no supplemental heat, and we were down to 18 degrees and snow! As long as they have a place that's dry, out of the wind, and predator proof, they should be fine. That said, have you weaned them off the heat yet? Start that process first.....moving to the coop is a huge adjustment and they aren't going to like it getting dark on them if they are used to lights on 24/7, and they need a couple of days to acclimate to cooler temperatures. Since you plan to put them out after the weekend, that's your opportune time to get them off any supplemental heat. If you are totally comfortable putting them out (your temps are really mild, from what you've said) then you can probably even skip the weaning-off part and just put them out. They'll huddle - they huddle both for security and for warmth. They aren't going to like you much for a few days, but they get over it!

    Now I totally skip the indoor brooding and start 'em right outside. They not only survive, they thrive!

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/yes-you-certainly-can-brood-chicks-outdoors

    Don't start the oyster shell too soon - I waited until I saw that first egg.
     
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    A chick up to 5 weeks can make use of that extra protein for tissue and feather growth. At this point, I'd cut them back to 18-120% protein.
     
  8. Chickspa

    Chickspa New Egg

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  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    You get all kinds of opinions on how to feed them. One reason for that is that so many different things work. Your problem is that you have too many good options, not just one way that is right where every other thing is wrong.

    I normally feed mine a 20% Starter and switch to a grower after about a month. When I raise turkeys with the chicken chicks I start them all off with a 24% Starter. The chicken chicks do grow a lot faster on that 24%, that’s why yours are so big. It will not hurt them.

    Did you try them in the coop last night? I totally agree with the others. At that age, they are fully feathered, especially with all that extra protein they have been getting. With those temperatures I wouldn’t bother acclimating them anymore, you’ve already been acclimating them.

    I’m not as brutal as Blooie (Hi young friend), but I don’t quite have the temperatures she sometimes deals with. The lowest I’ve had 5 week old chicks outside with no heat has been in the mid 20’s F. I’ve had them in my brooder in the coop in single digits, but they had supplemental heat then. I figured at less than a week old they needed it. But at five weeks the coldest I’ve had has been the mid 20’s.
     

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