Questions about feeding..need advice.

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by chickfan, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. chickfan

    chickfan Songster

    Oct 12, 2009
    Leander, TX
    I've been raising chickens for over two years, and suddenly have a question I've never had before.
    We were surprised with 9 baby chickens...we had a bit of Dumor chicken starter, giving it to some that are now old enough for the next step with less protein. I'm wondering if the 16% protein is adequate for the new ones. If not, I'll have to buy 50 pounds of the chick starter. They will not eat all the 50 pounds, I'm sure, so now I'm wondering if it will be safe to give the higher protein feed to the grown chickens, mixed in with the layer feed.
    I'm ashamed at even having to ask this question, but I know I'll get some good answers. My thought is that a bit too much protein wouldn't be a problem. I'm more concerned about giving the new ones enough to be healthy. Thanks to all.

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    You're right, the higher protein won't be a problem. You can give the layers just starter or grower and oyster shell on the side for calcium. I feed my whole flock grower or flock raiser; I never buy layer feed. I like that the laying hens get a little more protein, because I've read that commercial egg producers reduced the protein when they discovered it increased egg production. Also, all that calcium can't be good for roosters. People who raise roosters separately generally feed a higher protein feed than layer, from what I've read. My flock can vary from day olds to mature hens, so it's by far the simplest thing to do, anyway.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    About the only real rule is to not feed the young ones the Layer because of the calcium.

    They will live and grow on the 16%, just not grow as fast as you normally see. The way chicken feed is formulated is for maximum efficiency, assuming that the feed is all they eat. They can easily get by on more or less protein. they just won't grow as efficiently. Underfeeding them in percent protein is not going to have any more long term effects than the overfeeding of protein that a lot of people on this forum do. Any effects in a small flock are not going to be noticeable. If you were raising 10,000 chickens you would notice a difference, but not in a small recreational flock.

    As long as the Starter is not medicated, it will not hurt to mix it in with your regular Layer for the grown chickens. If you do that, your egg shells might (or might not) get a little thin. If you notice them getting thin, offer oyster shell on the side.

    I have a broody raising chicks with the flock and free ranging. They eat very little of the feed that is available for them. I have no real idea what amount of protein they are getting. It depends on what she finds for them to eat. They grow up fine without their diets being highly regimented.

    Like anything else, too much of a good thing is often not a good thing. Too much protein can be bad for grown chickens or growing chicks. But too much is a lot more than the difference in Starter, Grower, and Layer. You need to get in the range of 30% protein for it to get to be too much. You are not even close.

    As long as you stay away from the Layer for the growing chicks because of the calcium, you can mix and match that stuff any way you want to. It really won't hurt any of them.
  4. chickfan

    chickfan Songster

    Oct 12, 2009
    Leander, TX
    Thank you so much, ddawn and ridgerunner! I was hoping to hear this, actually! LOL I felt like I was doing something wrong with some of them, but couldn't get it straight in my brain. I'm going somewhere for 5 days, and leaving all this up to DH, and he doesn't fret like I do, so I wanted to be sure we were OK before I leave.

  5. debbie turkey lady

    debbie turkey lady In the Brooder

    Jul 24, 2011
    I had a comment, even though my name is debbie turkey lady, I have had chickens for 4 years now, and have some experience with starter feed, layer feed, etc.
    First off, the starter feed you buy at the feed store is medicated, and has vitamins for the little chicks. After a couple of weeks, I'd say no sooner than 4, you can probably feed them the layer feed, and just add some oyster shell. If their stool gets a little runny, then you can give them acidofulus, ( I know I spelled that wrong!) and they should be back to normal. If you can't afford they chick feed, Then you should make sure that by the 8th week you start them on some greens, (grass, garden greens, beet, lettuce, etc.) This will give them the added nutrician( I am a lousy speller!) until they are feed corn, and other feed.
    Just keep in mind, if they are broilers, they will probably be smaller, and if they are layers, they might start laying later.
    If it were me, I would just feed them they chick starter, and be sure. But I know it's hard to afford. Right now, I have 20, 9 week ole turkey chicks that are eating alot! I have had to mix some chicken starter because I can only buy 50 lb. bags at a time, and have run out a couple of times. So, I just try to supplement them with the broiler chicken starter, until I can get to the feed store.
    Hope this helps!

    Free speech is not free!
  6. chickfan

    chickfan Songster

    Oct 12, 2009
    Leander, TX
    I really appreciate your input, debbie turkey lady! I had heard about the medicated food, but evidently the food we have used was not medicated. We go mostly with Dumor (from Tractor Supply) and there is one empty bag of feed from Purina in the barn. I don't even want to know what that was! LOL
    We haven't had turkeys, but I'm seeing that "chick starter" is 24% protein, and is for turkeys but not chickens. For chickens it is called "chick starter/grower 20%, and the basic chick starter is not recommended for them. According to this label, the chick starter/grower 20% is to be given to turkeys (and some other fowl) from 6-12 weeks. but chickens should take it until 10 weeks, and then change to "grower/Finisher 15% until 18 weeks. Then they switch to Layre at 16%. Good grief! I don't see on the label, that the chick starter 24% is medicated. Of course this is the Dumor brand. Others may be different.
    We have 2 grown ducks and 3 grown gineas, who ate along with the chickens and were fine. I have no idea what they "really" are supposed to have! And DH brought home 12 baby guineas recently...I'm guessing they are about 4 weeks by now. I forgot to write down when he got them. I'm feeding them the chick starter/grower now that we went ahead and got the 50 pound bag.
    Enjoy your turkeys! I have never thrown in green stuff to the babies....or not much. They get melons when I have them, and oatmeal when it is cold. I need to pay more attention to the greenery which is good for them. They sure won't get any when they go out...our ground is brown now, totally, from the draught. And it is getting worse.
    Thanks again!

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