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How to feed different age chickens, different feed when kept together

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by dkern, Dec 21, 2012.

  1. dkern

    dkern Hatching

    Dec 21, 2012
    Ok, like many other on this great forum, I am new to raising chickens. I have 3 RIR, 2 Easter Eggers and 2 Buff Orpingtons. They are about 7 weeks old and growing fast. I am in a rural area of San Diego so our winters are mild. Never quite freezes at my house. But, I have a couple of feeding questions. I have 7 Delaware chicks coming next week. I will raise them separately until they are about 5 weeks old and then plan to move them outside with the older chickens.

    I have read that I should keep them separated initially until they get used to each other. I have a separate cage I will use. I figure 3-7 days? That is one question.

    Second question is how about feeding. Since the two groups will be different ages how do I feed starter, grower and layer to different aged chickens. I don't / can't keep them separate until they are all layer age. I figure you must be able to do it somehow since people raise small chicks from hatched eggs and keep them together. That I also plan to do and will have the same problem once I start that.

    Thanks for the help!
    Newby Dave

  2. maidenwolfx80

    maidenwolfx80 Songster

    Jul 26, 2012
    You should keep them apart longer than that. When first introducing new birds dividing a run so they can get used to one another for a few weeks will lessen the fighting.
    I have different age groups also and I dont do layer feed. I do regular unmedicated starter/grower and have a tray with oyster shell to supplement the extra calcium so teh hens can get it when they need it.
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    I agree with keeping them separated. The younger ones can be kept in part of the coop with either an XL dog crate or just a simple plastic poultry netting or safety fence stapled from floor to ceiling with a slit with velcro ties to go through with water and food. Be sure the chicks can't get through the openings in the crate (cardboard or hardware cloth works). I wouldn't open them up together until the younger ones are 7-8 weeks old. Chick starter 20% protein with no meds is all the feed you need. Flock raiser is good also, and put some crushed oyster shell or crushed egg shells in a dish when your older chicks are 16 weeks old for calcium. The chicks won't eat much of it until they need it.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2012
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member


    The only feed that is particularly targeted is Layer. Layer is targeted for hens that are in lay because they need a higher dose of calcium than a non-laying chicken, since the expel calcium with each egg shell. You are right in being concerned. Layer calcium is far too much for non laying birds. Essentially, the only whopping difference in Flock Raiser, All Flock, Starter and Grower is the percentage of protein. Many, many people feed everyone the same 18-20 percent protein feed for just this reason. Choose from any of the above, any of them that your feed supplier offers. Offer the laying hens a calcium source on the side and all is well. Normally, younger chicks, who's bodies are not begging for high calcium, will have little to do with it.

    1 person likes this.
  5. dkern

    dkern Hatching

    Dec 21, 2012
    Great info everyone, thanks for the help. I'll put them together but in separate areas at 4-5 weeks (separate cage or something and then combine them around 7-8 weeks. And, I have a food plan. Thanks again!

  6. dkern

    dkern Hatching

    Dec 21, 2012
    Hey everyone. So I did as suggested and have had the new chicks in a separate cage in the henhouse for two weeks now. They are 7 1/2 weeks old now. But, whenever I open the cage door, and the younger hens exit, the older hens drive them back into the cage by pecking at them. Should I continue to wait? Should I remove the cage and force them together? My coop is built large enough for 20 birds at the larger sizes suggested and there are 7 older hens and 6 younger with one younger rooster so space shouldn't be an issue. I'm tired of separate feeders and waterers. I would love to have one flock! Thanks!!!!!
  7. kjimenez

    kjimenez In the Brooder

    Sep 6, 2012
    I am having the same type issues. I have 2 BO and 1 RIR that have been laying since January 2013 and are on Layer feed. I have 3 sex links and 2 easter eggers that are now 10 weeks old and living in a separate coop and run next to the big coop and run so that they can see each other. I have let them out on the yard together and things are going ok. The RIR is the one that pecks at my "teenagers". I would love to put them all in the big run and house soon, as the coop the teenagers are in is really too small for them, but don't know what to do about feed. I hate to change the feed for the big girls and upset their systems, but I don't really want to wait another 6+ weeks to move them in together. Will they try to eat each others food? Will the big girls eat the grower food? Help.

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