risks of feeding chicks layers pellets

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Johnn, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. Johnn

    Johnn Crowing

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    Im tyring to tell my friend that you cant feed chicks layers pellets once they are off chick crumb and she insists you can, please some one tell me whos right? and if me what could happen to the chicks
     
    WaDen likes this.
  2. Here are a couple of excerpts and links to the original source:


    Minerals
    Layer feeds are fed only to laying hens, and laying hens are fed only layer feed. Hens require higher levels of minerals (calcium for eggshell formation) than chicks. Layer feed fed to chicks will reduce growth and place unnecessary stress on chicks. http://www.poultry.msstate.edu/extension/pdf/is1214.pdf

    • “Developer or finishing” pullet rations. At 15 weeks, it’s ideal to lower the ration to 16 percent protein. From 15 weeks to 22 weeks old or until they begin laying eggs, whichever is first, protein levels should be about 16 percent. The object is to get them well grown without too much fat.
      Your feed should have normal levels of calcium and other vitamins until the birds start laying. If you feed a diet high in calcium and phosphorus to very young birds, it can damage their kidneys, so don’t begin feeding layer feed until pullets are at least 18 weeks old.
    • Adult layer rations. After the hens reach the age of 22 weeks or begin laying, and throughout their laying careers, they need a protein level of 16 to 18 percent. The calcium and minerals should be formulated for laying hens. http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-choose-commercial-chicken-feed.html

    I found these by doing a quick google of feeding layer feed to young chicks. It accurately reflects what I have been told by experienced farmers and breeders. Many old timers don't start layer feed until the birds are actually laying, but offer oyster shell in a bowl as a supplement which the birds will go to if they require the extra calcium. Some, because they have mixed age flocks NEVER offer layer feed, rather they offer something like All Flock with a side of oyster shells.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
    WaDen likes this.
  3. Loghousemom

    Loghousemom Songster

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    So then would you also not feed layer feed if you have a rooster in the mix? My birds will be 18 weeks next week and I was planning to switch to layer feed the next time I purchase food, but today I picked up a rooster that needed a home. Does that mean I will need a different food and serve a side of oyster shell for the ladies?
     
    WaDen likes this.
  4. Well I don't have roos, so had never researched this. But I did a quick google for 'layer food to roosters' and came up with several threads (actually here on BYC). The consensus seems to be that most people either feed the flock raiser or 'all flock' with a la carte oyster shells or they just go ahead and let the roosters eat the layer feed. Were it me, I would go with option 1. While people say they don't see any ill effects of layer on their roosters, I'm just cautious enough not to want to take the chance and having a container of oyster shell out is not a lot of trouble.

    I spend a lot of time on here reading the Old Timers thread, and most of them seem to feed this way. So, I just follow their lead as much as possible.

    Again though, as you can see by my profile, I'm new to this, so I just try to follow those with lots of experience.
     
    WaDen likes this.
  5. See next!
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  6. I went back to the second link I posted originally. This is what it says:

    Don't feed adult layer rations to other types of chickens, because the higher mineral content may damage the kidneys of birds that aren't laying. The exception would be for a roster housed with a laying flock. He'll be fine consuming laying rations.
    Also, don’t force extra calcium and minerals on hens by adding things to a properly formulated feed. Too much calcium can cause kidney failure. If you’re getting a lot of thin eggshells or soft-shelled eggs, give your hens some calcium in the form of crushed oyster shells in a feeder where they can choose the amount.
     
  7. Johnn

    Johnn Crowing

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    your rooster will be absalutley fine, myne has eat layers pellets every day of the year and is fine.
     
  8. Loghousemom

    Loghousemom Songster

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    Great to know! I was planning to house him separately and so feeding him a separate feed would not have been a problem, but then I realized that I would have to heat a second building for just the roo, so I let him move in with the ladies. We have only had him a couple of days but so far he is doing well, and most of the girls seem to like him. (there is one who seems to make a point to stay away from him.)

    I think since I need to run to the feed stor Emmy next trip to town I will get the oyster shell too, just in case we need it. And maybe I can offer up the layer feed in a separate feeder and an all flock in another just to see what they prefer.

    I guess I never really considered that I would possibly need different food formulations for the different birds!

    I am especially thankful to have learned this now before I let these gals hatch some eggs next spring and fed everyone the wrong food!
     
  9. yo burrill

    yo burrill Chirping

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    Once mine go in the main flock they all get layer pellets... Never had any issues with it. I just put the babies out with the teen agers who have been on layer pellets and the babies are eating the pellets and the teenagers are eating the starter crumbles. Mine do free range as well so the pellets are not their only food.
     
  10. jdywntr

    jdywntr Songster

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    I was never a fan of feeding layer rations to males. But I only had a few birds before. Now with 19 birds at several months old and 30 week olds, I think I will just feed layer once everyone is at the right age. The week olds are in and will remain in a seperate area from the older birds so once my ducks and hens start laying, I'm just going to switch them to layer. I just can't see spending the extra money on enough oyster shell for all of them. I do give them (2 older hens) crushed, cleaned, dried egg shells but I don't eat that many eggs that I could supply them to everyone.

    That being said I would NOT give it to younger birds (< 4 months ). I plan on feeding pellets, not crumbs so it would be difficult for young birds to eat it anyway.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012

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