there at 8 weeks. there on a 20% crumbles then in 3 weeks we go up to the next feed.
should i stay with feed be fore i give them scapes? the last flock i had seemed to
get spoiled with all the scapes and wouldn't eat the layer pellets.
My Feeding Notes: I like to feed a flock raiser/starter/grower/finisher type feed with 20% protein crumble full time to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat. I do grind up the crumbles (in the blender) for the chicks for the first week or so.
The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.
Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.
Animal protein (a freshly trapped mouse, mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided once in while and during molting and/or if I see any feather eating.
Just out of curiosity what is the next feed? I'd imagine a grower or a finisher/developer. You don't have to follow that schedule rigidly. I'd switch when your bag of food runs out or start mixing them when it gets low to transition them. I don't transition mine, just go from one to another, but some people like to transition.
Broody hens start feeding their chicks other things whenever they bring them off the nest. Many people start giving their chicks treats well before 8 weeks, just make sure they are bite size, appropriate size for the age.
The others have already mentioned two of the key points. For most things other than chick feed they need grit to help grind it up in their gizzard. And the vast majority of what they eat should be their chick feed so they get a nutritiously balanced diet. Chicken feed contains a balance of protein, vitamins, minerals, fats, fiber and other things that they need in the proportion they need it. It's not just about protein, there are many different nutrients they need. There is nothing wrong with feeding treats, just do it in moderation.
Don't be surprised If they don't immediately eat whatever treat you offer. Chickens don't like change and can be funny about trying new things. When you offer the treats, whatever they are, be patient. Give them time to work up their courage to try it. Sometimes that doesn't take long, sometimes it can take days.
we just got the birds the other day, there still learning to go inside at dark....had to put them inside by hand past 2 days....they'll learn. as for the food we got a 10 lb bag of 20% crumbles (do more brand) then off to the finisher then i have some pellets from the last flock. hopefully we'll see eggs around sept....nov..
The form of the feed isn't important as far as nutrients. To make feed they gather all the ingredients and grind them up. This is called "mash". To make "pellets" they add water to mash to make a paste, extrude it through a round die, and flash dry it. To make "crumble" they partially crush pellets. So just saying pellets or crumbles doesn't tell us what age group the feed is good for. The important variables are protein and calcium.
The reason they make these different forms is mainly because different automatic feeding machines work best with different forms. Baby chicks can't handle pellets so chick feed has to be mash or crumbles, but other than that the different feeds can come in any form.
I get Dumor from Tractor Supply so I think I know what you are talking about. The 20% crumbles is their combined Starter/Grower. You can feed that from when you get them until they start to lay if you want. You could feed them that 20% forever and never switch, just offer oyster shell on the side for those that need it for egg shells when they start to lay.
The Finisher is their 15% Finisher/Developer, also in crumble form. According to the chart on the bag you can feed that from about 10 weeks until they start to lay. While the 20% Starter/Grower won't hurt them, they don't need the higher protein during this time phase and the 15% is less expensive, $2.00 per bag less for the 50 pound bag. The 15% is what I use. Don't switch to the 15% just because they reach a certain age. Feed it until the bag runs out.
The pellets is the Dumor Layer. I don't use it, I do the oyster shell on the side since I practically always have juveniles in my flock, but I think it is 16% protein and has around 4% calcium. According to the bag you can start that at 18 weeks but they are OK on the 15% until they start to lay. A lot of people wait until they see the first egg to switch or just offer oyster shell on the side until the bag of feed runs out.
The recommendations on the bag are for commercial laying flocks of chickens. Our backyard flocks don't have to follow such a rigid schedule. You have a lot of leeway in how you feed them.
You can offer treats at any age, just make sure you don't overdo treats. The feed contains all they actually need so you don't want to feed them so much other stuff you upset that balance of nutrients, but many and probably most of us feed other things. As long as you don't get carried away it doesn't hurt them.