How to keep chicks from eating layer feed and hens from eating chick feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by TheChickenQueen, May 25, 2016.

  1. TheChickenQueen

    TheChickenQueen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have some 8 week old chicks that I'm trying to incorporate with my adult flock as they have out grown their brooder and are just a bit smaller then my smallest hens.
    But I'm concerned as to how I would keep them from eating each others' feed. Does anyone have any ideas of what would work aside from switching everyone to all flock feed?(the laying flock didn't do too good on it with oyster shells)

    Would taking a large box and putting a hole in it big enough for the chicks work for a place to hide their feed?

    I apologize if this is a silly question that probably has already been answered.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2016
  2. cstronks

    cstronks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What you need to do is put the chick feed in a space only accessible to the chicks, and elevate the layer feed so that only the older hens can reach it. This will make it difficult for the respective birds to access each others food.

    For example, get a piece of cardboard and cut holes that are only big enough for the chicks heads to fit in. Put that over the food.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2016
  3. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    The simplest solution is to feed the whole flock the starter feed and offer oyster shell, free choice, for your actively laying birds to take as needed - once the chicks have reached production you can go back to layer feed or continue this feed program indefinitely. It is easy enough to keep large birds out of chick feed (using a creep feeder similar to your idea) but the important part is keeping the littles out of the layer feed and that is far more difficult. Chick feed won't hurt older birds, layer feed will hurt the chicks. I realize you are looking to avoid this approach, but ultimately it is the best option if you must integrate prior to being able to put them all on layer feed.
     
  4. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    The problem being that at 8+ weeks there are going to be few places an adult bird can access that the chicks cannot.
     
  5. Rod-T

    Rod-T Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm afraid your best bet is get the all flock or just grower feed.. and get oyster shell for the layers
     
  6. cstronks

    cstronks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A good point. I've only integrated birds that were 16-20 weeks into my flock. I did visible separation until the birds were of equal size. Essentially, I cut my hen house and run in half using garden fencing, which allowed the birds to see each other for two weeks before removing it and letting the flock integrate. This made the food problem very simple.
     
  7. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Honestly, there is absolutely no reason for you to feed layer feed at all. There is no magic ingredient in it. Just a lot of calcium added to it, that non-layers do not need; and barely enough protein to support egg production. Most poultry keepers find that feeding grower, all flock, or flock raiser type feeds are much better for overall production and health. And it makes it so much simpler to buy and dish out only one kind of feed that is appropriate for everyone. I don't even bother purchasing layer feed.
     
    1 person likes this.

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