From grower to layer-- when is too soon, when is OK? And feed brand Q

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ND, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. ND

    ND Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 20, 2010
    I have a flock of mixed ages housed together... 13 of them are laying now, and 8 of them are just 16 weeks old. I feed everyone a grower feed and have oyster shell available. (The new layers are going thru the oyster shell like it's candy! Nice egg size/quality though... just a LOT of oyster shell is being taken in!)

    I'd like to eventually switch to a layer crumble, but do I absolutely need to wait until the younger ones are laying (or at least very close), or are they approaching close enough/safe enough age to handle the layer crumble without causing health issues?

    The young ones should be around 20 weeks before I need to buy feed again...but if I'm going to do a switch, I'd like to do a mix for a week or two to ease them into it. (I may also try another brand-- the main reason for doing a mix for so long)


    On the feed brands- I'm currently feeding ADM grower crumbles and don't have any complaints. I'm a fan of ADM in the horse feed line. I'm considering changing to Nutrena for the chickens... mostly because it's about $6 less a bag and at a closer location. Not exactly a budget buster amount... but, you know...


    Some of my older pullets have JUST started laying in the last month (or even week!), FINALLY! I don't want to throw them off somehow with a feed change.
    Any experience/opinions or pros/cons of Nutrena chicken feed? Anyone actually use ADM and Nutrena and have opinions on how their flock did on each one?

    Thanks!
     
  2. mdulik

    mdulik Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 10, 2010
    I switch all my birds to layer feed at 16 weeks and have never had a problem. I currently have 116 chickens and they are healthy and the girls give me lots of eggs.
     
  3. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    I'm no expert, but I have been mixing the grower and layer feeds in the inside feeder and putting just the layer in the outside feeder. The reason for this is because the younger birds (my youngest are about 14 weeks) tend to stay in the coop more than the older hens and guineas. If the younger birds eat the layer, I don't think it will hurt anything as long as they also eat the starter along with it. I have been doing it this way since they left the brooder at about 11 weeks. Before that they were separate and ate only starter/grower. I have about 3/4 bag of starter left and will continue to mix it half and half in one feeder until it is gone. The other birds eat out of the inside (mixed) feeder, too. I hope they know whats best for them...jk!
     
  4. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    I don't feed my chickens layer feed. Grower feed has more protein, and we put out bowls of oyster shell for the girls to help themselves... and oh, they do make such a mess with it! [​IMG]
     
  5. averytds

    averytds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2008
    KS
    You can start switching now. Our feeders are all filled with a mix of layer pellets, gamebird crumbles, alfalfa pellets, calf manna, sunflower seeds and grit. I don't buy oyster shell anymore. Whenever I make eggs, I grind up the shells and feed them back to the birds.


    I used to have separate stuff for ages and location (free ranging vs penned/layers vs show), but stopped all that after our first broody's hatch. She would get them access to her feed when they were inside and anything/everything she wanted to when we put them out so it didn't matter what we wanted them to have. Plus anytime someone else had to feed, we had to explain who all got what.


    For a while we did gamebird or an all purpose like Flock Raiser for everyone, but the crumbles are such a waste. If we've got chicks by themselves in a brooder, we'll give them just the crumbles, but everyone else just gets mixed.


    If I could find a 20% pellet I'd probably stop the mixing, feed it to everyone and just keep feeding eggshells back to the layers for a calcium boost.
     
  6. ND

    ND Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 20, 2010
    Thanks, all!

    I'd probably not worry about switching them from grower to layer if the feed I'm considering trying had an unmedicated grower available where I can get it. Right now, they only have a starter/grower that's medicated Or the layer (crumbles or pellets). So if I switch to the other feed, I'd have to go with the layer mix.

    The one time I attempted to switch to pellets, my picky birds went on strike...so I've just stuck with crumbles. Luckily, I made feeders that don't allow them to waste much, if any, of the crumbles...so I don't mind the crumbles.
     
  7. FlyingtheCoop

    FlyingtheCoop Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 25, 2010
    I had that problem too. I wanted to keep them on starter, but couldn't find it unmedicated at my local store.
     
  8. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    The protein of layer is typically 16%, while higher protein can be had with flock raiser type, upward of 20%.
    So, that is decision the farmer has to make.
    Starter, raiser and grower feeds have far less calcium, so layers need to get their calcium from shells you provide in supplement.

    I feed layer to keep things simple, but only after the entire flock is 16 weeks or older.
     
  9. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Feed Costs- Some of us keep a sharp eye on the feed costs. I will use Southern States, Purina, DuMOR or Armada. Whichever I can make a better buy. The hens make no fuss over any of them. For $2 or $3 a bag, I have absolutely no brand loyalty.
     
  10. averytds

    averytds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2008
    KS
    If you want unmedicated grower and can't find it, ask if they have unmedicated gamebird feed.
     

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