Hens eating chick feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by WolfGirl968, Oct 19, 2016.

  1. WolfGirl968

    WolfGirl968 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 11, 2016
    Hi there! I would like some opinions on this please.

    I have my adult hens and chicks in the coop together and the hens are eating the chick feed.

    The chicks are 14 and 13 weeks old. The hens are a year old and older. I feed Nutrena NatureWise Chick Starter Grower feed (non medicated) and Nutrena NatureWise Layer 16%. The food is in two seperate hanging feeders a few feet from each other.

    Is there any harm in the hens eating the chick feed?

    Thanks! :)
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2016
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    They are nutritionally different - layer likely having around 16% protein plus calcium and other nutrients. The chick feed is likely closer to 18% protein. I'd be more concerned if the chicks were eating the layer food as the extra calcium for non-laying birds can cause damage. Glad the chick isn't medicated. So...harm? Nothing deadly, but you may see decreases in egg production and maybe even egg quality issues. For the short period, however, probably nothing to get in a twist over. That's my opinion anyway. Others may have a different view.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Welcome to BYC!

    There is no problem with your hens eating the chick feed.

    There is an issue with the chicks eating the layer feed. It has too little protein and too much calcium for the littles.

    Pull the layer feed and let everyone eat grower. That's what a lot of us do with multi age flocks.
  4. WolfGirl968

    WolfGirl968 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 11, 2016
    Thanks! I'll pull the layer feed in the morning. I don't think the hens will miss it anyways. [​IMG]
  5. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I discovered a long time ago that layer feed isn't the greatest tasting stuff to hens and given a choice, they will eat anything but. Since I have made a policy of getting new chicks every other year, I just quit buying the layer and have been feeding all flock feed ever since. That way, I don't need to juggle different types of feed, and my chickens all prefer the all flock ration anyway.

    Just make sure you provide oyster shell free choice for your layers. No, there's no danger of the chicks getting too much calcium from the oyster shell since they won't show much interest in it. It's not got anything their bodies need at this stage so they won't go beyond a quick taste.

    As far as the chick starter, sometimes when the feed store is all out of the flock raiser, I buy a big sack of chick starter and feed it to all the flock. It's not that much different, anyway.

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