Integrating pullets into flock - feed question

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Godzillamax, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. Godzillamax

    Godzillamax Chirping

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    Over the course of the last year we lost all but one of our 18 chickens. We always lose a few here and there to foxes or coyotes, maybe one dies here and there from being egg bound, etc., but a mink or ferret (couldn't tell the difference when I trapped it) decimated our flock and killed seven one day then another eight the next day. We have one layer left and she is an older 4 years old hen.

    We picked up 23 chicks in the spring and they are eight weeks old pullets now. The pullets are in a temporary coop in our barn where normally I keep them there until 15-16 weeks old when I transition them off medicated chick feed and integrate them into the coop where they start on layer feed (with egg shell and grit added).

    We didn't want our sole adult hen to be alone so she is in the barn with the pullets, but we only put her food out when the pullets are locked in the temp coop (hen doesn't get locked in the temp coop, she has free reign of the barn).

    I'd like to just put everyone, my remaining hen and the 23 pullets, in my main coop but I would have no way of having separate food (medicated crumbles for the pullets for 7-8 more weeks, and layer feed for the one hen).

    Can I just fill my feeders with the medicated food and have the adult hen eat that? Or at 8 weeks can I transition my pullets off the medicated chick feed and just give them the layer feed I give my hen? Or is there a feed that is somewhere in the middle? Also, if I migrate my pullets off the medicated chick feed should I be adding oyster shells and grit to their new feed so the one hen gets those additives in her diet?

    Also, I'm not concerned about getting eggs from my last layer. At age 4 she doesn't lay much anymore anyway. I just want one feed so I can integrate them in the main coop.
     
  2. Pork Pie

    Pork Pie Flockwit

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    Personally, I’d feed the chick feed to all and keep optional oyster shell available for your adult bird.
     
    Ol Grey Mare likes this.
  3. Godzillamax

    Godzillamax Chirping

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    Thanks. Seems giving pullets layer feed is bad, but giving hens medicated chick feed isn't bad.
     
  4. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Crossing the Road

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    Yup, feeding chicks under 18wks layer (extra calcium) can cause liver/kidney issues (Roos too). You could just feed them Flock Raiser, All Flock, All Purpose or something that has higher protein (18 - 20). Put a separate dish of Oyster Shells for your hen, the pullets may try it out (curious) but norm will eat as they need (when laying).

    Stopped age feeding couple years ago, I do start off with a month of Medicated Chick Starter, when that bag is about done transition them to Flock Raiser with separate dish of Oyster Shells, another with Grit :fl haven't had issues with shell quality nor laying. The way I see it, takes alot for the hen to produce and egg, she needs that extra protein for herself & the egg ;)
     
    rosemarythyme likes this.
  5. UncleDougsChickens

    UncleDougsChickens Chirping

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    I feed mine starter feed until 3-4 weeks then when they are outside they're on layer feed. Ive left some starter feed out for them but the adults eat it so I dont see a point in trying to leave many different types of food out. I leave oyster shells and grit out but they're too big for the smaller baby chickens so they dont eat it.
     
  6. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Crossing the Road

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    Hen probably gobble up the starter cause of the higher protein. Yea, having to do different feeds for stages is hard (space & cost).
     
    UncleDougsChickens likes this.
  7. UncleDougsChickens

    UncleDougsChickens Chirping

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    yup, I leave out pellets and a wild seed mix. I like the pellets because they break down really easily with water.
     
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  8. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

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    The best solution is all flock or grower feed for all with calcium on the side for the hen. The chicks are honestly too young for layer. The chick starter you have is ok for the hen too though personally I don't do medicated feed.
     
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  9. Peppercorngal

    Peppercorngal Crowing

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    I switched to All Flock because of the many different ages in my flock. Everyone gets the same thing and I have oyster shell in two different areas as well for the "old" birds. Chick feed is higher protein without the high calcium and if fine for adult hens. It's the high calcium that is not good for the younglins!
     
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  10. cluckcluckhens

    cluckcluckhens Songster

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    We have 8 chicks, 5 will be 6 weeks tomorrow. Other three a month tomorrow. They all are in the run with the hens a few weeks back. No problem with the hens or chicks together at all. Chicks went into the coop 2-4 days ago. Chicks went into the run in a location in the run so the hens could see them and be around them. Then we let the hens into the chicks area to check them out. We took down the chicks area last week so, no problem. They been scratching dirt in the run for weeks now. Hens love the medicated feed and I was told I could add some to the hens feed by mixing a little bit with their own feed.
     

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