Merging old and new (housing and feeding logistics)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TurnerFlock, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. TurnerFlock

    TurnerFlock Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 8, 2015
    We have 2 birds left from our original 5 (Buff Orp and a Polish). They are a little over a year old, and are free-range. I open the coop and run in the morning and close them up at night. We have 8 new birds of varying breeds that are 6 weeks old. We have been putting the babies out in a sectioned off area of the chicken run during the day and bringing them in at night. Soon they will need to be out permanently. How do I keep the babies out of the layer food and the layers out of the baby food.? Currently the layer food in inside the coop (to keep it dry) which is inside the run. The babies will need to go in the coop at night, but that is where the layer food is. I don't want to keep the layer food outside because I don't have an effective way to keep it dry. How young is too young to let the babies free range full time?
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    I don't normally let mine range full time till 8 weeks + - they are just too young and unexperienced to stay out of trouble. And I don't let them out until they are well-established in the coop so they know where home is. That's a week before letting them out. And for the first week of freedom they never seem to venture more than a few feet from the run and coop. When released, the established birds seem to show the newcomers where it's okay to go and how far to stray. As to your other question....I don't how to keep the birds from each others food. I have two coops and two runs for birds of different ages and feeding requirements and I will connect the two when the young ladies almost start to lay. One thing I've done is, for a period of a week or two when the youngsters are getting close to laying, I feed both sets All Flock feed - seems to work okay for both. I haven't noticed a dip in production in the hens either. That's what I do - others may have other suggestions. Good luck to you!
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    Switch the entire flock to the chick grower.

    Grower or an all-in-one type feed is perfectly fine for laying hens. It has more protein, but less calcium. So, offer your hens some oyster shell to supplement calcium. This can be in a dish, or just scattered on the ground in the run. They'll eat what they need. The littles might taste it, but mine never find it to their liking and leave it for the big girls.

    The layer feed isn't appropriate for the littles. Too little protein and too much calcium. Just put it on hold until everyone's of laying age, then if you have some left over you can switch back. If not, a lot of us just feed grower or all flock type feeds to everyone, all the time. No layer feed involved.
  4. TurnerFlock

    TurnerFlock Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 8, 2015
    Thank you for your advice. The older hens don't seem to have much interest in the new ones and pretty much stay away from them. I don't know how much guidance they will get. My food concern was based on past reading that layer feed is not good for the babies (too much calcium). If I remember correctly, they shouldn't get layer feed until 18 weeks or so.
  5. TurnerFlock

    TurnerFlock Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 8, 2015
    Feeding them all grower sounds like the way to go. I have a bowl of oyster shell already out.
  6. Yes, Grower is the way to go...Oyster shell out for the layers...
    Once all are laying add the layer feed...

  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    ...or never buy layer feed again.

    I like to feed a flock raiser/grower/finisher 20% protein crumble to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat. I do grind up the crumbles (in the blender) for the chicks for the first week or so.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Animal protein (mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided during molting and if I see any feather eating.

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