Feeding young pullet layer feed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by MIchick, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. MIchick

    MIchick Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 16, 2012
    I think I've been feeding my young pullet (about 22-24 weeks) incorrectly...for quite awhile now. She is in with two laying pullets, and they have all be getting layer feed since I got them several months ago. This youngest one has not started laying yet. Should I change the feed to starter until she does, or now that I've had her on layer for so long just leave it? I've read today about how the extra calcium is hard on their kidneys. [​IMG] I will feel terrible if I've caused any damage to her...she's our favorite and our baby. This was our first summer ever having chickens, so we are still learning.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    You won't find many here who didn't make one rookie mistake or another. I sure did! If she seems well, you'll probably get away with it. The calcium damage I believe occurs at a very young age, if it does.

    Lots of folks don't feed layer at all, they feed grower or flock raiser, or even starter if it's not medicated. They also put out oyster shell or another calcium source separately, so whichever ones need clacium take what they want. You could get a different kind of feed and gradually mix the old with the new, to decrease the calcium and ease the transition.
     
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Take a breath. If you feed her layer when she was 10-14 weeks? That'd not be a good thing. If you've been feeding her pellets at this age AND she begins to lay this week or next? No harm no fowl. (pun intended).

    My only concern would be if she decides to wait until spring to lay. That's a long way off. This issue comes up often here, but the essentially, the whole thing stems from a misunderstanding about the "magic" of layer feed. Layer isn't ever needed. It is merely convenient. It is essentially Grower with 5% calcium ground into it for the convenience of the flock keeper. Lots of folks never feed Layer because they keep mixed flocks and the hassle isn't worth it, trying to keep non-laying birds from eating it.

    Since I use a pen system in our barn, I control different "sub-flocks" eating habits. But if I couldn't, everyone would get a non-calcium loaded product and I'd provide the calcium supplement on the side.
     
  4. MIchick

    MIchick Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 16, 2012
    She's probably been getting it since about that age (10-14 weeks). [​IMG] So it sounds from both of you I should get something else, and just offer the oyster shells? We only have three pullets...and that's all we will have (we live in the city). The other two are about 7-8 months and have been laying the last few months.
     

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