Mixing flocks of different ages

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Lucat, Oct 12, 2014.

  1. Lucat

    Lucat New Egg

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    Jul 20, 2014
    I need some advice on mixing flocks of different ages. One flock is 24 weeks and the other is 14 weeks.....and yes the older flock started laying eggs. I have been integrating slowly for several weeks and we are there but they are at different feed stages. Does anyone have any advice as to how to handle this situation? Right now I keep a screen between them during the day but I want to fully integrate them before it gets much colder.
     
  2. Curlyginger

    Curlyginger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm pretty new to chickens, but I think you could feed All Flock and offer oyster shells for the layers.
     
  3. Lucat

    Lucat New Egg

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    Jul 20, 2014
    Thank you. I'm new to this also (obviously) and have fallen head over heals for my girls!!!
     
  4. JennieRD

    JennieRD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sometimes age is not the issue, its how fast they grow and whether they are layers, breeders, or broilers. The higher to protein of the feed usually suggest rapid growth . But the breed is what makes the difference entirely. A slow grower slow maturing grower will require a higher protein feed longer than a faster growing bird. This is the ratio I use.

    1-9 weeks old 20 %
    10-16 weeks old 16%
    11- 18 weeks old 15%

    Coop 1. I currently have 29 (6 GLW, 6 EE. 3 BJB, 7 CCM, 3 GF, 1 mutt, 3 BLW) in one coop most 24 are 20 week olds, with a few guinea that are 23 weeks, and 3 BLW that are 18 weeks. I have raised them all together starting them on 20% Chick starter until the youngest reached 10 weeks, then switched them to a grower at 16% until the youngest trio reached 17 weeks. then when the youngest reached 20 weeks I switched them to lay crumbles. All have done well and I do not see any with stunted growth or signs of too much protein in their diet.

    Keeping in mind, that none of mine in Coop 1 should start laying before they are 6 months. I am taking a chance with the Wyandotte's as they have been known to start laying at 24 weeks. If they start laying, they will be moved into a separate coop to be feed lay pellet.

    I did put a wooden oak pallet in the coop that the smaller birds learned quickly to use as shelter, my plan worked out great. Before the pecking order was fully written in stone, my smallest ones could run under the pallet to get away from the lager ones. As well as the 3 guinea's two of which will soon be attending a Guinea Gumbo in the next month.

    Coop 2. I have about 40 young birds ranging from 9 weeks to 16 weeks. Orpingtons, Marans, Cochin Bantams, Here they are all still on Chick starter at 20% This week I will convert them to chick grower. There is a wide range of ages in this coop, but again none should start laying before 6 months. I am concerned here with the Orpingtons...Agan if they strart laying early I will have to move them to feed them lay pellet so my others are not deprived. But there are only 1 Maran Rooster that is 20 weeks, 2 orpingtons that are 16 weeks, 2 orpingtons that are 12 weeks, 6 Orpingtons that are 9 weeks, 10 Wheaten Maran that are 11 weeks, 20 Cochin Bantams that are 11 weeks

    I gage their feed by breed, not age....if you have any major concerns provide a seperat feeder of grit, and shell...or a flock block, even powder soluble supplements for one week once a month may even help.

    Check your breed growth rates, POL ect. You may be fine feeding them all the same feed...

    Coop 5 - The exception, I wanted to raise cornish game which I have never owned, and have not arrived yet. I am crossing into unknown territory. It was recommended to me by someone who raises Cornish that they should receive 20% until they reach 6 months. I have some on the way I believe to be a hybrid Cornish-chancler / orpington / cornish cross, when they hatch I will feed them the same diet of 20% for 6 months. I am still studying the growth of the Cornish, so we will see if it is a mistake or a good move on my point.

    Just watch for feed deficiencies, I have had one in a 9 week old Orpington where there should not be one, he is still on Chick Starter but he is not absorbing enough nutrients from his feed. He is now caged separately and is on Water Soluble Electrolytes, free feed chick starter, free feed grit, and free feed crushed shell (Callcium) as well as a daily dose of Nutri Drench by oral administration at .3 ml 1 x a day...Its not fun feeding a chick by syringe..... He is the anomaly in the group....he has rickets and honestly he should not......

    Just remember, check out your breed types, growth rate, and point of lay, this should help with deciding what to feed.

    Good luck...
     
  5. Lucat

    Lucat New Egg

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    Jul 20, 2014
    This is great advice and is going to be very helpful. I love the pallet idea. Thank you for taking the time to respond.
     
  6. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Protein IS NOT a problem with a mix flock, the problem is the amount of calcium in a set feed.

    Any bird not laying eggs whether it be do to age, sex, environment, health, molt, etc. should not be on a high calcium feed like a layer feed, the amount of calcium that is in these feeds are for laying hens to produce good strong shelled eggs with out suffering from a calcium deficiency and if a layer feed is fed to non-laying fowl it can cause health issues.

    Most people with a mixes flock feed a good non-medicated, low calcium, 20% protein feed to everything and supplement calcium. It is simpler this way, you feed one type of feed from start to death and supplement calcium to laying fowl.

    I myself feed raise breed mostly exhibition Rhode Island Red but I also raise and breed Production Egg Layers and Sex-Links.
    What I feed is this;

    30% protein game bowl starter from 0 - 6 weeks
    20% protein game bowl/ water fowl feed from 6 weeks - to death unless there breeders that are in the breeding pen. Any laying fowl that is not in the breeding pens are supplemented with calcium.
    Breeders get a 20% protein game bird breeder feed, this feed is designed for breeding fowl and has added nutrients for the breading season.
     
  7. Lucat

    Lucat New Egg

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    Jul 20, 2014
    Thank you. I believe this is the way I am going to. I'm looking at purina flock raiser and oyster shell for a supplement. Thanks again!!!
     
  8. JennieRD

    JennieRD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Chris, with all due respect I never implied protein was the problem. In my region of the country all poultry feed is sold on the basis of % protein with nutritional values that usually have to be supplemented to. I was giving her an idea of how to manage what she had, 30% does not exist in the feed stores where I live unless I drive an hour and a half to another city and have a specialty store mix it for me! Even in your description you also used the term protein % as a basis to feed your flock! Many of us chose many breeds to raise, but we all have regional weather issues that affect our flocks. The needs of mine are not necessarily the same as yours You gave a valid statement and you are right, but for mine I am also right. there is no need to critical.

    Every person must do what is right for their birds. Everyone starting out has made mistakes, I have, and feeding to much of one vitamin or mineral is just as devistaing on a bird as not having enough! Birds are no different than people their nutritional needs vary from breed to breed, and sometimes bird to bird, when you have a mixture an all flock feed is a good solution but you still have to watch and pay attention to your birds and how they respond to that food.

    With that said, your information is informative and you presented in a better way than I did..thank you for the information .
     
  9. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    The only thing that you talked about in your post was protein and what age received what amount of protein.
    You never mentioned calcium.

    As for the feed that you can get down in Louisiana, I have a very good idea what you can get down there, although you may not be able to get a 30% protein game bird feed down there (I think you can though) you can get a 28% protein feed.
     

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