How do I keep babies from layer pellets? See post for details :-)

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by armedtodream, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. armedtodream

    armedtodream Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 14, 2011
    N. Idaho
    So we had one of our polish girls go terribly broody, she just had to sit on some eggs. We didn't have any fertile, so we got some from a freecycler. She has been an excellent sitter & if all went well, they should hatch in the next couple days. We've decided to let her raise her babies the natural way & not take them from her as we've read some people do. They are in a large (5x8x5.5) coop with 2 other hens that just let her be/didn't lay in that box anymore, so we left her in there instead of moving her to an isolated area. She was the boss before so I don't feel like she will be a "wimpy" mom so we want to try to let them stay in there since it's the least invasive way of handling her.

    My question is, how would we keep her chicks from eating the layer feed? Our big girls free range at least part of the day so they hardly eat any of the layer feed so I am wondering if I could just feed everyone chick starter/grower feed til everyone can eat layer feed or if there is a better way?
    Thanks so much for any ideas on any of this!
  2. melschicks

    melschicks Out Of The Brooder

    May 9, 2011
    Dennis Port, MA
    Well, I'm new this year, so take my words with a grain of salt. But I would think that if you just kept the layer food a bit higher, the chicks couldn't access it? At least for the first few weeks? From my reading, if the layers don't get the correct combination of nutrients from the layer pellets or free range, they don't lay. So if you're willing to give up egg production...

    And keep the chick crumbles in something that is too small for the adults to access?

    Anyone with more experience want to chime in???
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You cannot keep them from eating Layer feed if it is available. What I do is feed Starter or Grower to all of them and offer oyster shell on the side. The ones that need it eat it and those that don't need it don't eat enough to hurt themselves. You might see one of them experimenting with it, but they should not eat enough to do any harm.

    Good luck!
  4. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    What Ridgerunner said, X2. That, or put a physical barrier between the Mama hen & the rest of the flock. They all insist on eating each other's food, the grown ones love starter feed, and perversely, the chicks can't wait to eat layer feed. It won't hurt the hens to eat starter, with the grit on the side, but it could hurt the chicks to eat too much layer at this age.

    Have fun with your new chicks!
  5. armedtodream

    armedtodream Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 14, 2011
    N. Idaho
    Thanks for the great info! They should hatch today or tomorrow so I already switched feeders with chick feed & getting oyster shell for big girls today. Thanks so much!!!

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