How old are these chickens? Should they be on grower/layer feed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Nuklear, Jan 30, 2017.

  1. Nuklear

    Nuklear Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2012
    Southern California
    So I bought some chickens from a breeder and I'm not exactly sure how old they are...
    Also any idea what breed these could be?
    I have 5 other hens so I currently have layer pellets as their feed but I was wondering if I should go buy them all grower until the 3 new ones can have layer? With oyster shells to the side of course.
    The seller said he had them on layer but I just want to be sure...
  2. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal True BYC Addict

    May 4, 2016
    Somewhere in the Universe
    They look around 5 months, give or take a little. Should be laying pretty soon.

    You could put them on an all ages food that's got 18% protein and 2% calcium; too much calcium for anything other than laying hens can kill them. Oyster shells out and feeding back eggshells can help the laying hens get the calcium they need.
  3. redsix

    redsix Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 14, 2015
    Starter and grower until they are ready to lay.
  4. Nuklear

    Nuklear Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2012
    Southern California
    hmmm I thought so, first one does make some peepy noises still... I will get some grower feed and oyster shells tomorrow. Since they've been on layer feed in the past will they be okay still?
    Anyways thanks for the replies!
  5. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    You do not need to feed laying hens layer feed. Ever. It isn't some kind of law. You may continue to feed them chick starter or an all flock feed until they begin to lay eggs. Once the eggs begin to come, you can then add oyster shell as a free choice, and just skip the layer feed. It's what many of us have been doing for years, and our hens lay just fine. Layer feed is a convenience for commercial egg operators more than for backyard egg layers.

    I'm not sure the breed of the top and bottom ones, but the middle black one is a Black Copper Marans. They all appear to be around four or five months old.
  6. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal True BYC Addict

    May 4, 2016
    Somewhere in the Universe
    I agree with the first part. I don't feed my hens layer feed either. They don't need it.

    The black one isn't BCM, though. Wrong comb, body type and clean legs. All probably mixed.
  7. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    X 2

    I was thinking there might be some game bird in the second bird judging by tail, body shape and wing carriage. Certainly nothing like my BCMs.

    I would be hesitant about calling the person you bought them from a "breeder", more like someone who allows their chickens to breed....nothing wrong with that....I'm pretty much one of those, but there is a HUGE difference. A breeder would be advertising what breed they were when selling them and the birds would almost certainly show a high percentage of the characteristics of that particular breed.
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I couldn't agree more.
    The person the OP bought them from raises various breeds/crosses of chickens but is NOT a breeder.

    I'm a breeder and I know the date every bird on my property hatched, what breed they are, who the father (and sometimes mother) is and even the size and hue of the egg they hatched from.
    I would never feed 3 month old birds layer feed.

    Also they aren't close to POL so they aren't close to 5 months.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017
    1 person likes this.
  9. Hmmmm.......Keep them all on a grower feed till all birds are the older layers with Oyster shell and then feed a good layer feed.....

  10. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    If you keep them on starter just make sure it's non medicated. In general layer feed is not very good but it's convenient. They usually have the bare minimum of protein and my opinion is 3% calcium is more than needed for good shells. Any other feed will have more protein and 1% calcium. Oyster on the side free choice once they lay. Starter feed is great but most of it is medicated so check the label or ask for non medicated. You can keep them on that forever or if you want pellet form get a Turkey/gamebird finisher. That will be anywhere from 18-22% protein and is pellet. I switch from non medicated starter and turkey finisher depending on age of youngest birds. Once the spring chicks are 10-12 weeks old everyone goes back to turkey finisher. Crumbles get strewn about and wildlife theft of crumbles is higher. You save in the long run with pellet form.

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