question about young birds and layer feed . . .

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by fargosmom, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. fargosmom

    fargosmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I got a pullet at the end of April of unknown age . . . the seller at the time said 5 months but it's become obvious that wasn't right. Now I'm thinking maybe she meant 2 months, or something like that. Too late to figure it out now, but in a nutshell the bird is just now showing signs of getting ready to lay, so I'm figuring that at this point she might be about 6 months old or so. The problem is, when I got her I had some grower feed so that's what she got, but when I ran out I switched her to layer, thinking she was much older. So I think she's been getting layer feed for about the last 2-3 months. I know I've read that the extra calcium isn't good for chicks, but she was definitely NOT a chick when I got her - pretty much the same size she is now which is only a little smaller than my other hens. Does anyone have any real experience with feeding layer before the pullet actually has started laying? I know it's too late now anyway, but I'm curious if there's any real harm done. She seems healthy and feisty, and her comb is FINALLY starting to get pink, so I'm expecting a squat any day now . . . any thoughts?
     
  2. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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  3. fargosmom

    fargosmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Interesting. I only understand about one word in four, but in a nutshell I understand that it's a bad thing. However, this bird I have was definitely older than the birds in the experiment, because she had to be more like 3-4 months old when the switch to layer feed occurred. I suppose I'll just have to wait and see . . . I'm hoping that it won't be so bad since she was older. Also, I've always fed a huge variety of other foods (scraps, vegetables, bread crusts etc.) and I know she was getting a fair amount of those too . . . fingers crossed that she didn't suffer too much from it but I guess I won't really know till she's lived as long as she's going to live. I hope that's a good long time. Thanks for the reference!
     
  4. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    fargosmom,

    I think you can relax. I believe the kidney damage is more of a potential problem for the small chicks, less of a problem for larger chicks with larger kidneys.
    There have been several people post in the past that their chicks ate the layer feed from day 1 and had no ill effects.

    Great question,

    Imp
     
  5. Mudsow

    Mudsow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If it's any consolation, I did NOT feed my hen layer until she started laying and she just died of gout. 2 1/2 years old. [​IMG] So I'm not sure it is the only contributing factor. I think some chicks are just more pre-disposed to having issues. Just like people who have acid reflux, arthritis, heart disease... I don't think JUST feeding layer too soon is going to make or break the gout situation.

    Mudsow
     
  6. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Quote:Gout can also be caused by feeding a imbalanced feed or one that is to high in protein and or calcium.
    Most cases are due to feeding high-calcium laying feed to hens not in egg production, infection with infectious bronchitis virus, or severe vitamin A deficiency. If blockage is complete, acute postrenal failure develops, and birds die with acute urate deposition on visceral surfaces or less commonly in joint spaces. If blockage is incomplete or unilateral, chickens survive in compensated renal failure, and chronic urate deposits form in joint spaces.

    Chris
     
  7. EMaker

    EMaker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My neighbors feed medicated chick starter until then hens start to lay. Do you all feel that feeding medicated starter for such a long time causes problems, too? I asked my neighbor shy she did so, and she repleid that Grower didn't have enough protein. Starter and Layer bith have higher protein than Grower. Is it dangerous to feed the ant--cocci meds in med. Starter for so long, though?
     
  8. Mudsow

    Mudsow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's the question... How much is too much protein. How much is too much calcium. I fed layer pellets, she was still laying. That's why I think some chicks are just pre-disposed to have the issue. Without knowing if your chick has an underlying issue, how can you tell if it needs less protein/calcium than a regular chicken?

    I can't imagine that chickens are any different than any other animals as far as inherited tendencies for disease. There are guidelines, sure, but each chick is different. So it's kind of you do the best you can for them and hope you find issues early enough to prevent further damage.

    Mudsow
     
  9. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Quote:A lot has to do with the breed and where you got them from as to how much protein a bird need but for my birds (mostly large fowl American and Oriental breed from breeders) I feed -
    Day 1 till around 12 week 20% protein feed
    12 till first egg a 16 protein feed
    When hens are laying/ breeding they get a 20% feed, when they are not laying/ breeding they are on a 16% protein.
    I do not use a layer feed but do supplement with oyster shells only when hens are laying.

    Pushing a bird with High Protein feed its whole live can do/ cause a lot of damage to some if not all breeds.

    Chris
     
  10. fargosmom

    fargosmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Very interesting. I especially appreciate the consoling words - I do hope that whatever her lifespan, I haven't shortened it by improper feeding. I try really hard to make sure everything they eat has value, with the goal of keeping them healthy for a long time. You can only do what you can do.

    But - my feed store doesn't have a 20% layer feed (or at least I've never seen one). Is that a seasonal, or regional thing? I thought it was only 16%. Please tell more . . .
     

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