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Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Chick1043, Nov 10, 2011.
Im JUST curious. But what would happen if you fed a 12 week old chicken layer feed?
I don't know. There have been plenty of studies that clearly show feeding Layer feed will harm a chick. It's the extra calcium in the Layer. Studies clearly show that chick mortality rates are higher and when they cut the ones that did not die open to examine them, they see damaging growths on internal organs, especially kidneys and liver. They can also get bone deformation.
The problem I have answering your question is all the studies I've seen start out from Day 1 feeding the chicks Layer. I have not seen any studies that have the chick on Starter or Starter and then Grower for 4, 8, or 12 weeks before they switch to Layer. I can't tell you the absolute minimum age it is safe to make that switch.
I think it is also important to note that it is not the percentage in the feed that is important but the total amount of calcium they eat in a day that is. If they only eat Layer for ten minutes a day and the rest of their food is from free ranging, then the Layer is not likely to hurt them at all. Also, the damage is not going to come from eating one bite of Layer. The damage is a cumulative effect from eating the Layer over time.
I find it real easy to feed all of them Grower with oyster shell offered on the side until they are all of laying age.
Probably a little early but don't think it would be harmful. My rooosters and now just rooster eat the layer every day with no ill effects and he has been eating since the girls started laying. There are probably 1000 different opinions on this but just my .02 cents.
When we put our young pullets in with our layers they started to get into the layer food, at around 12-14 weeks. When our grower ran out we just didn't buy more for them since they were eating the layer crumble anyway. They are 23 weeks old now have been healthy so far, but I guess I can't see inside their kidneys to know for sure. They do have free-range time so hopefully they were able to deal with the calcium just fine. I guess I wouldn't recommend it, knowing that they don't need the extra calcium, but it can't be the worst thing either...
Thanks for your input everyone
You have sure changed my way of thinking - thanks everyone.
I am on the band wagon to not fee it till they are laying...
With my mixed flock, I have been feeding starter/layer with oyster shell on the side.
Others will say its fine, and maybe so...but why risk it...you can just feed the starter,
you are buying a bag of food anyhow, so why chance it.