Integrating Went Well

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by simpsoncj, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. simpsoncj

    simpsoncj Songster

    Dec 27, 2009
    Well, I have successfully integrated the new chicks (two lavender orps and three BCM's) into my existing flock of eight. First, I had them free range together for about a week, while keeping them in seperate coops at night. Then I started placing them in the coop with the others after dark. After about a week and a half of this they began going in the coop at night on their own! I am really greatful it went so smoothly! I only had to step in once or twice in the beginning to keep my GLW (who up until that point was one of my sweetest chickens!) from pecking them if they came too close to her! After around four weeks now they are even starting to hang out together with the others when out in the yard. Now, it will be interesting to see if they lay their eggs in the nesting boxes where the others lay, but it will be a few weeks still as they are only 12 and 13 weeks old. One of my Marans turned out to be a rooster that I won't be able to keep, but I want to keep him until he starts to crow. He is so beautiful, I want to see how he looks full grown if possible!

    One question: Since I started integrating, I have been feeding all the chickens grower feed and having lot's of oyster shell available for the layers. No soft shelled eggs at this point, so it seems to be working. But I am about out of the grower and would like to get layer feed now. Is it still too early for these girls? And what about roosters? If layer feed has too much calcium for the hens who aren't laying yet, what about roosters that always eat layer feed??? My girls free range all day and only go in their coop at night so they definitely don't eat as much of the feed as chickens who are locked in a run all day.


  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I am gradually switching from layer to grower for all my chickens. I believe ti is better for the rooster, whose organs will eventually be damaged by all that calcium, plus it gives everyone a bit more protein. And keeps the young chicks safe from the calcium in layer, as well. I won't be buying any more layer. I wish I could get a pelleted flock raiser for everyone, but as it is, I'm just glad I was able to find one (only one) source for unmedicated grower. Only a few of them still go near the layer so I still have a little left. Absolutely no problems with thin or soft egg shells.

    As long as there is oyster shell available, you don't need layer. I continue to offer the oyster shell separately, as I do grit.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2011
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I would not feed layer until they quit growing or at least start laying. The extra calcium can damage their kidneys or cause bone development problems in growing chicks.. Once they are grown, they can handle the extra calcium much better, whether rooster or non-laying hen.

    Since yours free range, they may not need a lot of calcium anyway. They get calcium from some of the plants they eat, from hard-shelled bugs, and from gravel they use as grit if your native rock has limestone in it. If your egg shells are hard, you are doing OK.
  4. simpsoncj

    simpsoncj Songster

    Dec 27, 2009
    Well, that makes me feel better then! I like the idea of just feeding grower. I like the idea of them getting more protein. We just went through nearly a whole bag of grower and the shells seem fine. I have one EE I thought might be affected as she is the only hen who has ever given me soft shelled eggs, but she just layed her 4th egg since starting up again and no problems there. The shells seem even better than before. I think I'll just stick with the grower too!
    Thanks, CJ

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