Hey guys, I have some young birds and a few questions for you all!!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Chris Herzog, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. Chris Herzog

    Chris Herzog Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 16, 2011
    Hey guys,
    Ok, so I’m new to owning chickens and although I have been coming on here often as a guest I just registered to become a member. Even though I have just joined, I wanted everyone to know that I have learned a ton of stuff from just surfing around on here and reading some of the post. I’m sure that I have read about this at some point but I just can’t remember the answers, so I do have a couple of questions for you all if you don't mind.

    Right now I have 21 hens and 2 roosters. 1 Rooster is 21 weeks old, the other rooster and 15 hens are all 13 weeks old. The remaining 6 hens are all 4 weeks old. The 2 roosters and 15 older hens are all together in the coop and doing fine. I have a run with-in the run that I put the 6 younger hens in from time to time to let them get some fresh air and also to let them be around the other chickens. I’m wondering at what age should I let the younger hens get to be before I put them all together in the coop and not have to worry about their safety. Room for them is not a problem; I just want to avoid if at all possible the older animals beating up on the younger ones.

    My next question has to do with feed. Right now everyone is eating medicated starter feed. In three weeks or so I believe I’m supposed to take the older birds off the medicated starter feed and put them on a layer feed. Would it hurt to keep the older birds on the medicated starter feed an additional month (so 5-months total instead of 4) then switch everyone over to a layer feed at the same time. This would mean that my younger birds would switch to a layer feed early after only 3 months of being on the medicated starter feed, providing that all of the birds are together at this point. Let me know what you think!

    Thanks in advance,
  2. debs_flock

    debs_flock Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 14, 2011
    Shingle Springs, CA
    First [​IMG]

    If you are cooping the birds visually together, you should have no problem letting the younger birds in when they are around 5 mos old or about the same size as the older birds. You shouldn't get more than the normal tussle for pecking order, but of course you should keep an eye on things in the beginning.

    I would keep everyone on chick start until the older birds are at least four months old. If you want to put all birds on the same feed at that time, I'd switch to a grower or mixed flock ration for a month or two. You can offer oyster shell on the side to the older birds birds when they start to lay. When the younger birds are 5+ mos, then everyone could go to layer ration.

    Sounds like you are doing a great job.

  3. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    Quote:Chris Welcome to the BYC [​IMG]

    Q #1 you are doing the right thing and letting them get used to being in the yard with the big girls and can continue that for a bit until you are sure or want to sit in the yard and monitor how they do with the big girls a little every day until 1 day you let them out and know they will be ok for the most part. I stayed with Blondie until she just charged and stopped and not actually peck.

    Q #2 Your big girls will not be hurt by staying on medicated feed for a month. You may want to get another small bag for the big girls and continue with the medicated in the make shift run only for the babies. You can mix it. There is other stuff you can do to build strength in the little ones. Vitamins in the water for sure. Apple cider vinegar is a system builder and helps with making the system strong. You will not hurt your birds by finishing the bag or mix pullet food and the medicated feed together.

    Good luck and enjoy your birds. Common sense goes a long way. [​IMG]
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Until you have layers, as in eggs in the nests, no layer feed is required for anyone.
    In a mixed flock, you can feed starter, grower, or Flock Raiser to everyone, even hens. Once the older pullets begin to lay, you can offer shells, on the side. The younger ones might be curious about it, but won't eat it much. Layer feed is just feed with the bonus calcium already mixed in. It doesn't "make" them lay.

    There's is no need to buy layer formula until every last chick is laying. Some folks never buy laying feed. All they feed is a Whole Flock formula and offer shells on the side for the calcium requirement of the layers.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
  5. Chris Herzog

    Chris Herzog Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 16, 2011
    Thanks guys for all the quick responses.

    I guess the feed thing is not as big of a deal as I thought it was going to be. My main concern was taking the little ones off the medicated feed to early. Buying and keeping separate feed for the older birds as well as the younger ones to eat is not a problem. I guess I was trying to figure out in my head how I was going to keep everyone eating the correct feed when they are all together. If I'm going to keep the birds separated until the younger ones are at least 4-months old, I guess it then becomes a non-issue for me. At that age I’ll have them all on a layer type feed anyway. I guess I just didn’t realize that I would be keeping them separated that long, "still a lot to learn".

    When I am allowed, I’ll post some pics of the birds and coop. Everyone that has seen my coop so far (it’s a work in progress) thinks that I’m nuts! So I guess that I’m doing it right, right? LOL!! The chair rail and two tone interior paint is where they think I might have gone a little over the top but heck it’s all in good fun!!! Anyway, if the birds don’t work out for me, I can always make it a mother-in-law sweet, I bet she would just love that. LOL!

    Thanks again for the replies,

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