Merging Flock question - food & oyster shell

Caity

Songster
7 Years
Apr 12, 2012
76
38
104
Central, NC
Hello,

We are raising baby chicks to replenish our flock and we're getting to the point where we're going to put the four chicks out with our last remaining adult hen. I was hoping someone could give us a little guidance on food. Right now, the chicks are on chick starter (unmedicated), and our hen, who is still laying one-a-day eggs (she's a champ!) is on layer feed plus free-choice oyster shell. The hen and the chicks all free range together for large chunks of the day. My understanding of chicken feed is that laying feed has too-high calcium for chicks and can make them ill, while chick-starter/grower has too much protein for our older hen. As a result, we were thinking of switching to All Flock (or Flock Raiser) and providing oyster shell free choice, but am concerned that the chicks will eat it. Any one have any advice?

Thanks!

Caity
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
15,032
821
Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
The chicks may peck at it a time or two to see what it is, but they really have no interest in consuming it in any quantity until their body tells them they need it. I feed Flock Raiser with oyster shell on the side and have never had an issue with chicks wanting to eat the shell. The only birds who have ever shown any interest in it are those who were actively shelling eggs at the time.
 
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ImNotYogi

Songster
5 Years
Dec 8, 2014
360
47
106
Eastern NC
All Flock feed seems to confuse me. It provides each stage with what they need but different stages require different amounts of protein or calcium that's harmful to younger/older chickens.
 

junebuggena

Crowing
Apr 17, 2015
23,102
8,201
491
Long Beach, WA
An all flock feed will have less calcium than a layer feed, but slightly more than starter. It will have more protein than layer feed, but less than starter. The only difference in chicks on starter versus an all flock feed will be a slightly slower growth rate. Too much protein won't hurt an older hen. The extra protein is needed during a molt.
 

Caity

Songster
7 Years
Apr 12, 2012
76
38
104
Central, NC
Thanks for the responses, everyone! We just merged the girls on Thursday (the kiddo's are seven weeks), and all seems to be going well. You were right--as far as we can tell, they have no interest in the calcium.
 

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