How do you feed chicks and 4 year old hens at the same time?

ChickenGirl300

Crowing
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Jun 16, 2019
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Hi, I have a flock of four, 4 year old hens. One has gone broody, and we decided to get her some fertile eggs to hatch. They will not hatch for some time, but I'd like to do some research ahead of time. My 4 year olds eat layer pellets, of course, but I know chicks can't eat that. And they can't all eat starter/grower feed either. So what should I feed them or how do I separate their food?
 

U_Stormcrow

Crossing the Road
Jun 7, 2020
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With All Flock/FLock Raiser crumbles, and free choice grit, and free choice oyster shell (to meet the extra calcium needs of your laying hens), each in separate bowls

Which is probably the #1 reason why All Flock/Flock Raiser and free choice Oyster shell is the dominant feed recommendation by experienced BYC Posters for the typical needs of the typical backyard flock. Which is often mixed age, mixed breed, and sometimes mixed gender.
 

ChickenGirl300

Crowing
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Jun 16, 2019
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Thanks for these suggestions they've been really helpful. I have one more question though: I have a bucket feeder that the hens could access but the chicks could not, so what it I put layer feed in there and fed the chicks out of one of the small cylinder shaped white feeders? It's just another Idea, but I will probably go with one of your suggestions.
 

U_Stormcrow

Crossing the Road
Jun 7, 2020
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You can feed separately, but what you will lkely find is that the hens, with sole access to the layer feed, will eat it all. Then they will force the chicks away from their feed, and eat that too.

The only effective way to separate feed is to separate flocks. Which, for most of us, creates more management problems than it fixes.
 

Sooner Magnolia

Crowing
8 Years
Jun 13, 2014
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Central Oklahoma
Thanks for these suggestions they've been really helpful. I have one more question though: I have a bucket feeder that the hens could access but the chicks could not, so what it I put layer feed in there and fed the chicks out of one of the small cylinder shaped white feeders? It's just another Idea, but I will probably go with one of your suggestions.
My layers seem to be preferring the chick starter right now vs the layer pellets. You can certainly keep feeding the layer pellets in a taller feeder, but be prepared for the big girls to eat more of the chick starter/grower than the chicks. Also, the babies will be tall enough to reach the layer pellets before they should be eating them (after they start laying). Don't throw out the layer food you have, that's just something to keep in mind for later. I really like all flock pellets once everybody is big enough to eat them. Less waste.
 

U_Stormcrow

Crossing the Road
Jun 7, 2020
8,178
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North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Some find success because they have created separate brooder areas in their hen shed, etc, that are partitioned in ways that prevent the larger birds from entering. Its an option. Not knowing the design of your hen house, or how handy you are, or your feelings about keepig feed in the house, I'm going to acknowledge it as an alternative, but neither recommend it, nor recommend against it, without knowing more abotu your situation.
 

U_Stormcrow

Crossing the Road
Jun 7, 2020
8,178
28,603
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North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
My layers seem to be preferring the chick starter right now vs the layer pellets. You can certainly keep feeding the layer pellets in a taller feeder, but be prepared for the big girls to eat more of the chick starter/grower than the chicks. Also, the babies will be tall enough to reach the layer pellets before they should be eating them (after they start laying). Don't throw out the layer food you have, that's just something to keep in mind for later. I really like all flock pellets once everybody is big enough to eat them. Less waste.
^^^ because the starter is higher protein. Chickens are omnivores, and like us, when they sit down to a dinner of steak and potatoes with a side of green beens, they dig into the steak first.

Yes, crumbles often result in lots of waste. I serve mine in an oatmeal-like consistency to mitigate some of that.
 

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