Help! Fed my chicks layer pellets from early age!!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by SMLA21, Mar 5, 2015.

  1. SMLA21

    SMLA21 Hatching

    Mar 5, 2015
    Hi guys so I really need some help/advice. I got these two adorable chickens (Henrietta - Barred Rock and Betty - Buff Orpington) from Dare2Dream Farms. They delivered these chickens to me on January 11th and promised me that I would be receiving two 4-5 month old hens. So in preparation I bought them layer feed. I just discovered after watching for 3 months and only just recently seeing their combs come in that they were MOST DEFINITELY NOT 4-5 month old hens but instead maybe 9 week old chicks!

    I am absolutely terrified that I might have done something to hurt them internally since I have been feeding them layer feed all this time. They seem fine, relaxed and they just roam in their coop or roost but i've done some research and heard that they could show no symptoms but be very ill. They have had the occasional scoop of scratch a few times a week and a good amount of veggies and also always access to lots of water but I am still very worried!

    Has anyone else had any experience with feeding their chicks layer pellets starting from such an early age? If so what happened? And does anyone know what I can do if it did indeed damage their kidneys. I called a All Animal Clinic and he said that they should be fine but I am not so sure about that.

    They are probably around 5 months old now.
    Any input would be greatly appreciated!!
    Thanks again!
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Crossing the Road

    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    Well, here is the scoop. If their kidneys are shot, then only thing would save them would be a transplant. I don't want you to think of me as a wise guy, or someone insensitive. What I'm saying is there is nothing that you can do. Now to inform you a little about layer feed. It contains about 4% calcium VS starter feed at 2%. Since you gave them other feed such as scratch and veggies, I think you balance their diet with that. I would not loose any sleep over the hens, ENJOY THEM.

  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    X 2! I agree that we seem to get all worked up over layer vs. starter in terms of calcium. Please, let's not start an other world war about layer feed related to chicks. Yes, I understand that best practice is to give starter to chicks. Beyond that, the choice is up to the flock owner how he/she will feed the flock. IMO, the easiest thing to do is to give multi flock all the time, and supplement with oyster shell. But, at least for me, that multi-flock is quite a bit more expensive, so my pocket book rules. I use multi-flock when I have youngsters, when the flock needs a nutrient boost, (cold weather, collecting hatching eggs) and when my pocket book says I can afford it. I've noticed that my egg count and egg size goes up when they are on multi-flock.

    Bottom line: don't worry about it, but perhaps next time, hold the layer until they are laying!
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
  4. song of joy

    song of joy Crowing

    Apr 22, 2012
    Central Pennsylvania
    You may want to switch them to an all-flock feed (approx. 1% calcium) until they actually start laying, but provide a separate hopper of crushed oyster shell. That way, they'll eat the oyster shell when they need the extra calcium.
  5. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I got my first three Light Brahma chicks when they were around five weeks old, and I added them to a flock of two adult hens. When I ran out of chick starter, I fed them layer crumbles. Growing up, none showed any signs the layer feed harmed them.

    However, one became sick around three years of age, and after repeated bouts of an unknown ailment, she died one day after appearing to have choked on something. The second died around age four of liver disease. The third has a benign tumor over her eye, partially blinding her, but she is otherwise in excellent health. She was laying up until last summer and is now seven years old.

    So. Don't worry. Be happy!
  6. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Songster

    Jun 10, 2014
    Don't worry about it - if you've damaged their kidneys there's really nothing that can be done at this point. Get them off the layer and onto a flock raiser food until they start laying.

    I'd bet they end up with lifespans on the short side, but you'll probably get 2-4 years out of them. Just make sure the next batch of young birds gets proper food.

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