How old till I can feed my babys layr feed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by GoldenSparrow, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. GoldenSparrow

    GoldenSparrow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How old do they have to be to start them on layer feed?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    The short answer: 20 weeks old or you see your first egg.

    Explanation: Studies have clearly shown that the extra calcium in Layer can harm growing chicks, either causing bone deformation or internal organ damage. In the studies I've found, they generally start the chicks on Layer from Day 1 and Layer is all they eat. They have a test group that are fed Starter and Grower as recommended. In the Layer group, more chicks die. They also cut up the living chicks and look at the internal organs. The ones on Layer often show tumors or other damage. Not 100% of them, but a lot of them. It is extremely clear that the extra calcium can harm them.

    Of course, it depends on how big a part of their diet the Layer is. It is not the percentage in the feed so much as the total amount of calcium they eat in a day. If the Layer is a fairly small part of their total diet, the risk is less. I'm not going to say the risk goes away, just that it is less.

    I have not found any studies that show what happens if you start feeding Layer at 8 weeks or 12 weeks. I just see the recommendations by the people that have studied it to start Layer at 20 weeks or when you see the first egg.
     
  3. JPHorvath

    JPHorvath Chillin' With My Peeps

    I may be doing the wrong thing, but from day one I feed them starter grower after 8 weeks of age switch them to layer crumbles. Additionally after 6 weeks of age I let them start eating BOSS (Black Oil Sunflower Seeds). All of my flock receives a little treat of boss in morning when I let them out of coop then just a little more before sunset.

    According to Purina Medicated Starter Grower should be given to 18 weeks of age. Now according to the suggestion of DuMor it states to use their starter grower up to 10 weeks of age. Followed with their mix of Grower Finisher up to 18 weeks of age then place them on Layer mix feed. Currently with the quantity of bird we have they consume approximately 10 pounds of layer crumbles daily and the BOSS treats. That equates to about one quarter pound of feed per bird not counting BOSS.

    The feed we provide our flock is supplementary after 6 weeks of age all the birds are free to roam our property. They will eat what ever they can scratch up out on the property. Our birds diet primarily consists of bugs and pasture. We have a flock of 50+ birds been following this routine for over one year. We have not experienced any fatalities with this feeding practice.
     
  4. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    I switch to a "Layer" at first egg.
    Layer feed contains added Calcium that young birds and rooster don't need also "Layer" does not contain the needed nutrition that a growing bird needs.


    Chris
     
  5. Mama duck 8

    Mama duck 8 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you get crumble layer feed, you can start at 6 weeks
     
  6. mikecnorthwest

    mikecnorthwest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    I started layer feed at around 17-18 weeks. I mixed the start and grow in with the layer feed to use it up so there was a little bit of a transition.
     
  7. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Quote:Here is the downfall with giving a age on which to change to layer,
    What breed/s are they going by Hatchery Stock, Exhibition Stock, Production Breeds, Heritage Breeds ect.

    I say this because some Exhibition breed will take up to a year to fully mature, fill out and start laying eggs, so by putting them on a "layer" at 18 weeks of age they would be on a feed feed that they don't need for another 7 1/2 months.

    Chris
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:I'm sorry. I totally disagree with this. Whether they are mash, crumbles or pellets has absolutely nothing to do with the nutrient content. The danger is in the calcium content of the feed, not the shape of the feed.

    JPHorvath, the way you do them, where the Layer is a fairly small protion of their total feed, you are greatly reducing the risk. After all, it is the total amount of calcium they eat in a day over a sustained period of time that causes the damage. They are obviously not going to fall over dead the minute they eat a bite of Layer. The damage will not immediately be evident and it may not harm them at all. But have you ever considered that if a chicken falls over dead a year later that the weakened kidneys or liver may have finally given out or, more likely, in their weakened condition, something gthat they would have normally been able to shrug off was much more serious? In all honesty, I cannot say you are harming yours in any way. The amount of calcium they are eating each day may be low enough that no damage is done since they do eat many things other than the Layer feed. But you might want to look at these just so you are better informed.

    British Study – Calcium and Protein
    http://www.2ndchance.info/goutGuoHighProtein+Ca.pdf

    Gout
    http://en.engormix.com/MA-poultry-i.../avian-gout-causes-treatment-t1246/165-p0.htm
     
  9. gale65

    gale65 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I'm sorry. I totally disagree with this. Whether they are mash, crumbles or pellets has absolutely nothing to do with the nutrient content. The danger is in the calcium content of the feed, not the shape of the feed.

    JPHorvath, the way you do them, where the Layer is a fairly small protion of their total feed, you are greatly reducing the risk. After all, it is the total amount of calcium they eat in a day over a sustained period of time that causes the damage. They are obviously not going to fall over dead the minute they eat a bite of Layer. The damage will not immediately be evident and it may not harm them at all. But have you ever considered that if a chicken falls over dead a year later that the weakened kidneys or liver may have finally given out or, more likely, in their weakened condition, something gthat they would have normally been able to shrug off was much more serious? In all honesty, I cannot say you are harming yours in any way. The amount of calcium they are eating each day may be low enough that no damage is done since they do eat many things other than the Layer feed. But you might want to look at these just so you are better informed.

    British Study – Calcium and Protein
    http://www.2ndchance.info/goutGuoHighProtein+Ca.pdf

    Gout
    http://en.engormix.com/MA-poultry-i.../avian-gout-causes-treatment-t1246/165-p0.htm

    6 weeks is what the feed store told dh when he was there getting feed. The BAG says 18 weeks so I don't know why they don't read the bags of what they sell. I used to work at this store and I am sure that I didn't tell people to feed layer at 6 weeks. I would have been a bag reader back then (about 16 yrs ago).
     
  10. GoldenSparrow

    GoldenSparrow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks all [​IMG]
    Good info
     

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