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Layers, Roo, and Pullets together - what feed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Naamahbengals, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. Naamahbengals

    Naamahbengals Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all. I've had just laying hens and a single roo in my coop, and they eat layer feed. But now I'm going to be adding pullets (3mo), and I don't think they can eat layer feed. My local store offers layer feed, scratch, chick feed, and oyster shell. I've heard of grower feed but they don't seem to offer it.

    If I mixed the layer feed with the scratch, and had oyster shell on the side for the layers to peck at, would that be ok for the pullets? I don't want them to get an overdose of calcium. And I know scratch by itself isn't good enough. But I can't feed chick feed to my whole flock (and it also costs 4x as much as adult feed).

    Ideas?
     
  2. AmericanMom

    AmericanMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pullets that young should not be allowed to eat layer feed, it will damage their liver and kill them. I have all my flock on grower feed and offer oyster shells for the layers to eat. I have 17 pullets that are almost 4 months old that went into the main coop with the 13 adults for good last week.
     
  3. Naamahbengals

    Naamahbengals Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'll have to look around for grower feed then. Last year we just kept the pullets separate and feed them chick feed the whole time, but that gets expensive for $6/5lb bag!
     
  4. AmericanMom

    AmericanMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At our small feed store it runs about 15 dollars for 50 pounds.... Yeah, where your at that's outrageous

    I allowed my pullets to free range with the adults at 3 months it was then I discovered they were heading strait to the main coop to eat the layer pellets, although I didn't realize it for a few days I had read enough here to know they couldn't do that...It is a bit more of a cost but to lose the birds now after all this work (and money) would be a bigger waste.

    Good Luck!
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    This is a pretty common question but you’re certainly putting a different spin on it. Here the chick Starter feed is about 15% more expensive than the Layer, not 400%. That’s a huge difference. I’m not sure what is going on. Are there other feed stores you could check out? I there a mill nearby you might be able to buy the feed from direct? I’m not sure where you are located but I get the feeling it’s not local.

    I haven’t seen any studies that show when it is safe to feed Layer to growing chickens because of the calcium. It probably depends on a few different variables but I’d be real uncomfortable doing that at 3 months.

    All things being equal, the usual difference in the cost of the feed is the percent protein. The higher the protein content the higher the cost. With that cost difference I wonder if you are comparing organic versus non-organic? Something just doesn’t sound right.

    Different brands of chicken feed are going to have different percent proteins for the standard feeds. You can look on the label for the analysis to see what yours is. Most Layer is around 16 to 18% protein. Most chick Starter is around 20% but game bird Starter can be 24%. Grower/Developer/Finisher may be between 15% to 18%. Flock Raiser is normally around 20% but these do not always have the same names. For example, with some brands what I call Flock Raiser may be called All-Flock.

    If you read the studies by people that have actually looked at it scientifically, baby chicks do benefit from having a higher protein feed the first 4 weeks of their life to help them get off to a good start, but by the time they are 12 weeks old, they do fine anywhere between 15% to 20%. It is often considered better to actually reduce the amount of protein at that age to help slow body growth to better match the maturity of the internal organs and the skeletal growth.

    I don’t know what your local options are. I suggest looking around and try to find a feed that has between 0.5% to 1.5% calcium and the best you can do on the protein and cost. Then offer oyster shell on the side.

    Good luck! It sound like you have some challenges.
     
  6. Naamahbengals

    Naamahbengals Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Locally, the only options for chick feed I am getting are the small bags from walmart, or pay-by-the-scoop at the feed store (which is $2.50/scoop, and the scoops aren't very big!). I don't know why, the feed store doesn't sell chick feed in big bags. I live in an area with 5-10 large chicken ranches, I have no idea why they wouldn't have it available!

    As a side note, I am raising up a large colony of Dubias. They are mainly to feed by bearded dragons, but my chicks LOVE them (I hand feed the ones I want to keep, to make them love me lol). When I get enough I may just start offering my chickens a bowl of dubias a few days a week, to up their protein intake.

    I'll look at some feed stores father away for non-layer feed. I work at home and we only have 1 car, and my fiance works till evening, so it's hard getting out to stores that close before 9. (Hence liking walmart... our local 24h superstore carries the chick feed, and layer feed.)
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Sounds like you are in the US. I wasn't sure. Try calling your county extension agent, in the phone under county government or you can find them online, and chat with the agent. They should be able to tell you what your nearby options are to buy feed.
     

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