New to this, what to feed young pullets?

HHandbasket

The Chickeneer
9 Years
Jun 2, 2010
3,319
55
241
El Dorado County, California
Hi everyone,

I'd like to peck at everybody's brain about feeding my flock of pullets.

I recently acquired 5 young pullets of varying ages. The oldest one is about 4-1/2 months, and the rest are about 10-11 weeks. When I got them, I went out to a local feed store that is locally known for helping new chickenkeepers get a good start with their flock. I told the gentleman I had young pullets that would start laying sometime this summer, and he recommended this particular feed, which I purchased.

I have subsequently found out that this feed is formulated for laying hens. They'll EVENTUALLY be laying hens, but they're a few months away from laying, though they're not exactly chicks anymore, either. I think the oldest one (ameraucana) is not too far from laying. How old are they when they start laying? She's about 5 weeks away from being 6 months old. She's been rearranging the nesting boxes to suit her tastes.

Will they be ok with this food, or should I get them something else? They're in a chicken tractor and mostly eat garden greens, bugs, grass, etc. Caught them fighting over a fat green caterpillar this afternoon. It was hilarious! It was like chicken football. First the ameraucana had it (she found it first), then the barred rock snatched it, then the RIR... back to the ameraucana who had it when I had to come back inside and get some housework done. I could have sat and watched all day. I never thought I'd be SO hooked.

Anyway, I've read in some places that they should not get layer food until they have started producing eggs. I also give them black oil sunflower seeds, flax seed, and scratch grains.

They're spoiled.


Should they be ok on this diet, or should I give them something different? They've been here less than a week and all seem happy, content, and have noticeable growth. I just want to make sure I don't cause anyone to have kidney failure or anything.
 

Opa

Opa-wan Chickenobi
12 Years
May 11, 2008
9,573
457
336
Howell Michigan
Probably your safest bet would be to feed the Flock Raiser. It is high in protein and will provide the necessary nutrients their growing bodies need. Also you are right that the ideal time to switch to layer is after they start laying. Many folks that have a flock of varying ages feed Flock Raiser exclusively and then provide oyster shell free choice.
 

vstoltzfus

Songster
10 Years
Aug 10, 2009
199
4
111
Lancaster County, PA
I was thinking flock raiser, too. That's what I give to my birds until they start laying, then I switch to layer. I don't give grit, but I do give oyster shell to my laying hens. Have fun.
 

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