QUestions about broody hen and feeding ??

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kbreak, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. kbreak

    kbreak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a question about broody hen? I was told my hen could eat the medicated chick starter. She has been eating it for 9 weeks. After about 7 weeks I started mixing the medicated and non medicated. I still have her with the babies (big babies) but now eating just non medicated. I am not ready to put the babies with the big chickens. Afraid they will get hurt. The momma is ready to be with big girls and boys now. I have let them free range with some of the other chickens and they seem to do ok ( a peck here an there). She squatted today with a fence between her and the rooster so she wants to be with them.
    1.DO I just let her choose where she wants to roost at night?
    2. She hasn't been laying eggs yet since she hatched, but how long should I wait when she does start laying since she was eating medicated chick starter?
    3.The babies are 9 weeks old will it hurt them to start eating some of the layer pellets since they are out and free ranging?
     
  2. krcote

    krcote Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1. Sure, if that pleases you
    2. This is highly variable depending on who you ask. If it were me, I would wait at least a week from when she stops eating the medicated feed. She may not start laying for a little while though?
    3. They may choose not to eat the pellets because they are different and more difficult to eat than crumble but eating it will not hurt them in the least [​IMG]
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    1.DO I just let her choose where she wants to roost at night?

    I let mine raise the chicks with the flock so I don't have to deal with integration, either of the hen going back to the flock when she weans the chicks or the chicks themselves. But you are in a different situation. If she has weaned the chicks, it is time to put her back with the flock.

    2. She hasn't been laying eggs yet since she hatched, but how long should I wait when she does start laying since she was eating medicated chick starter?

    First, you need to see what the "medicated" is in the medicated feed. It is usually Amprolium or an Amprolium-type product, but not always and not always just an Amprolium product. If the only medicated ingredient is not Amprolium what I am about to say obviously does not apply.

    You can get a lot of different opinions even from medical professionals about Amprolium and withdrawal. Some say no withdrawal is required and some say up to 4 weeks. I don't know but I like what one bird vet said. Because Amprolium is not absorbed that well through the intestinal walls, he did not think it would be that much of a risk, bit in light of the differing opinions he had read about it from other medical professionals, he considered a one week withdrawal to be reasonable.

    3.The babies are 9 weeks old will it hurt them to start eating some of the layer pellets since they are out and free ranging?

    That is not a real easy question to answer. There are plenty of studies out there that clearly show if you start feeding Layer to chicks from Day 1 and that the Layer is all they eat, it is bad for them. The mortality rate goes up some but the main damage is to internal organs. When they cut them open, they can clearly see damage to the internal organs, mostly liver and kidneys. This does not necessarily kill them, but it makes them less healthy. Later in life, something that a normal chicken might not have any problems with can be enough that it can kill them since they are weakened and damaged. But these studies are based on feeding nothing but Layer from Day 1.

    I don't know of any studies that start feeding Layer at 9 weeks. And yours are foraging for at least some of their food. It is not the percentage of calcium in some of their food but the total amount of calcium they eat. And it is not a one day thing. They are not going to drop dead or suffer damage from one bite of Layer. The damage is cumulative over time. I don't know how much total calcium your chicks would get in a day since they are foraging for some of their food.

    Very young chicks will eat Layer, especially if they see other chickens eating it. You can't put it up high where they can't reach it. I've seen two-week-olds fly up the feeder the big girls are using. I don't know how much calcium yours will get or how much harm it will do them, but studies clearly show that too much calcium can harm chicks. I don't do it. When I have a mixed age flock, I feed all of them Grower or Flock Raiser and offer Oyster Shell on the side. That way, the ones that need the calcium for their eggs can get it and those that don't need the extra calcium don't have to eat it.
     
  4. kbreak

    kbreak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    THANKS so much for the information. This helps me feel better that I am doing things right. Question though?? Do I need to wait a week after she starts laying ? Because she may not lay for awhile any way with it being winter. So if she didn't start laying for 2-3 weeks could I use those eggs or discard her eggs for the first week or so when she does start laying?
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I'd wait one week after I stopped feeding the medicated feed, not after she started laying. The stuff should have cleared her system by then.

    I had one hen that started laying about 2-1/2 weeks after she hatched. She weaned her chicks at 3 weeks. I had another that started a molt while taking care of her chicks. She weaned them at 9 weeks and did not start laying for several more weeks. Most are somewhere in between. I don't find chickens to be very consistent in much of anything.
     

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