Is it Okay for Chicks to Eat Laying Crumbles?

angelbabyamy

Songster
8 Years
Feb 18, 2011
235
5
101
Myrtle Point, OR
My Polish Hen wouldn't stop setting, so I gave in and let her hatch some chicks. She hatched 2 EE/BLRW crosses and 1 Marans chick.
I have always bought or hatched chicks myself and raised then without a mama. I'm wondering if I have to give them starter or can they eat the laying crumbles with the other chickens? They are separated from the big chickens with Polish, Silkies and Mille Fleurs.
 

scratch'n'peck

Crowing
11 Years
Oct 31, 2008
5,916
590
361
West Michigan
My Coop
The calcium in layer crumble is bad for developing chicks up until they start laying. You could switch the flock to grower crumble and put out free choice oyster shell to provide calcium for the laying hens. A little bag of starter would be good for the chicks because they could use the extra protein.
 

BellevueOmlet

Songster
9 Years
Jul 10, 2010
1,469
43
191
The laying crumble encourages the chicks to develop too fast and can cause many problems. When I have mixed ages together, I feed a developer feed with free choice oyster shells.
 

johnwinters

In the Brooder
8 Years
Sep 5, 2011
54
0
29
to the above two responses. The excess calcium in Layer feed can damage the young bird's kidneys - layers need it for eggshell formation, chicks don't.

You may want to consider keeping the mother and her chicks separate anyway - although maybe your chickens aren't as hostile as some. Anyhow, best of luck!

JW
 

CC1892

Chirping
8 Years
Jul 13, 2011
166
4
83
East Coast
Quote:Hey John, my flock is roughly 15-16 weeks old, their combs and wattles are getting very red (although are still on the small side).
Girls are big and healthy, but to date, none are squatting. My partridge rock is a little more friendly, but still runs after she
realizes the human has touched her...
My question is, is it too early to start them on layer crumbles (would rather have pellets)?
I didn't want to take a chance and buy another 50lb bag of grower/finisher if they were going to start laying by autumn.

thanks!
 
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johnwinters

In the Brooder
8 Years
Sep 5, 2011
54
0
29
If I were you I would stay on the safe side and buy another bag of grower, and give them free choice calcium. If they got to be five months or so I would definitely put them on layer, but I believe they may be just a little young, especially if they are heritage breeds. Production Leghorns lay at about 16 weeks, but most heritage breeds take 1-3 months later.

Though I wouldn't see any harm in keeping them on the grower with free choice calcium until it is finished. At least that's what I would do:). I hope that helped!

If your flock is small and you wouldn't get through the grower for a couple months maybe a friend or someone would sell you a small quantity?
 

farmdude

Songster
10 Years
Sep 20, 2009
482
8
123
NE Wisconsin
Thanks for saying that. I never heard that before. Good to know.
scratch'n'peck :

The calcium in layer crumble is bad for developing chicks up until they start laying. You could switch the flock to grower crumble and put out free choice oyster shell to provide calcium for the laying hens. A little bag of starter would be good for the chicks because they could use the extra protein.​
 

CC1892

Chirping
8 Years
Jul 13, 2011
166
4
83
East Coast
Quote:Thanks !
Besides the Partridge Rock, I have a Buff Orpington & Black Australorp (nice red combs & wattles), and 3 Production Reds (was told they were RIR-yeah, NOT!).
I have started them on free choice oyster shell about 2 weeks ago. They wouldn't touch it until this week- took this as a good sign. I also supplement their diet with greens; veggies; occasional additional protein. Is the difference in feed the protein content...I remember the finisher being 15%.

thanks (again)
 

johnwinters

In the Brooder
8 Years
Sep 5, 2011
54
0
29
Yes, that is the main difference. Starter is 21%, Grower or Developer or Finisher is 15-16% and Layer is typically 16-18%. (Broiler is 18-19%). So as you can see it varies.

There may be some difference in nutrients, but not much, especially between grower and layer. I make my own feed, and chick starter requires very little calcium and a good bit of fishmeal, whereas grower contains a little fish meal and a little calcium and layer contains no fishmeal and a lot of calcium. And of course feed recipes can vary depending on the mill/supplier. I follow a set of recipes published by Fertrell. But anyway, other then that the protein is pretty much the only different thing.
 

CC1892

Chirping
8 Years
Jul 13, 2011
166
4
83
East Coast
Quote:This is another concern of mine. I really don't like the commercial brands-which is why I supplement so much. I assume your mixing a variety of dry ingredients. I quickly searched "recipes published by Fertrell", and found the website and looked at Nutri-Balancer pdf. file. They don't appear to carry premixed feeds. You must have a very large flock.
 

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