Mixed age chickens and layer feed


12 Years
May 8, 2010
Texas City, TX
I have 2 hens and a silkie rooster that are 18 weeks old and 2 hens that are 14 weeks old. Can I feed layer feed to them, because I have no way to separate the ages? Would it be better to wait until the little ones are 18 weeks old? If it makes a difference, they haven't laid an egg, yet, but are showing signs like red wattles and the squatting behavior.
There have been a number of threads on this topic the last week or two. The consensus is that you feed grower to all the birds until the youngest starts laying--don't go by age but by maturity. To provide added calcium to those that need the extra for eggs, feed oyster shells in a separate container so the laying birds can get it free choice without overloading the nonlayers with what they don't need and will possibly harm them. Once everyone is laying then go to layer--which has calcium. Your chickens will not go by the "book" as far as when they will start to lay so don't push them into a diet with supplements they don't need just because the "book" says to. That was written for a large flock of uniformed age and breed birds--you don't have that.
I fed chick feed to my whole small flock this summer and offered supplemental calcium to the laying hens. But when the time came to order another 50 lb bag of feed this September, two out of the 6 pullets had started to lay, so I went ahead and ordered layer feed. I figured it wouldn't hurt the 4 pullets getting close to laying to get the extra calcium for a few weeks.

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