I have a problem with layer feed and young birds.

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by cupman, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. cupman

    cupman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2011
    Portland, OR
    I have 12 chickens that are 19 weeks old. They haven't started laying yet but that's right around the corner I'm thinking. I bought layer feed about a week ago in anticipation and I noticed on the bag it tells me not to feed it to chickens under 20 weeks old and said it could be harmful. So I went back to my regular Start n Grow I think it's called, red bags. I have placed two shipments of chicks, 15 more are arriving and I'm also inheriting some from a friend getting out of the hobby. One order is September 6th and the next is on October 17th. Will I need to segregate my chickens? Is layer feed completely necessary in the winter months? Is there some kind of alternative that can be used to feed birds of all ages? I prefer to use medicated feed on young chickens. Thank you.
  2. Alethea

    Alethea Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2011
    Layer feed is higher in calcium than feed for younger birds and the excess calcium can cause bone deformities in the little ones. I think it would be ok to give them laying feed at nineteen weeks because they're getting close to laying and will need the calcium for egg shells. May the flock be with you.
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    While waiting until eggs actually start is ideal, at 19 weeks, I wouldn't sweat a thing.
  4. cupman

    cupman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2011
    Portland, OR
    Yeah I'm sorry allow me to be more clear. I am going to have a mixed flock, 3 different ages of birds. The oldest of the three batches is 19 weeks and I'm sure layer feed is fine for them. However, what happens when I move all of the girls out into the coop and they are all eating out of the same feeders? They will be in the coop young, 6 or 8 weeks if I remember correctly. Seems too young for the layer feed.
  5. dianaross77

    dianaross77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2010
    Grand Blanc, MI
    Your best bet with a mixed flock is to feed something like flock raiser or start and grow to everyone and supplement with oyster shell or crushed egg shell in a separate container. The birds that need it will eat it and the birds that don't will leave it alone.
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Yes. If your flock is mixed, feed either chick feed or All Flock-Flock raiser and put calcium (egg shells/oyster shells) on the side. Normally little chicks don't mess with it.
  7. The BackYarder

    The BackYarder Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 21, 2011
    Left Coast
    I would agree with adding oyster shells seperate. I would put them higher than the chick food, they will be less likely to go for the higher food when the chicks are younger. when you first introduce the new chicks I would recommend feeding them at first. Don't just use feeders. You want to make sure that the more mature birds are not blocking the younger ones from the food. It might also work to have two different feeders at this point so that the older birds will get used to eating the oyster shells.

    I have had both good and bad introductions. I have two chickens that are still not really part of the flock, and I have to give them food separatly.

    Good luck.
  8. JodyJo

    JodyJo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 27, 2010
    Quote:I am in the same boat, I have a mixed flock, 3 10 week olds, and 13 20-22 week olds, who just started laying.
    I still feed starter/grower with oyster shell on the side, when they all start to lay, I will switch to layer feed.

    Problem solved...or use flock raiser with oyster shell on the side...either way. The ones that need it, will eat it, otherwise it
    will be ignored.

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