Seperating young from older

Heather67

Songster
Mar 12, 2018
238
183
136
Merit, Texas
I have recently acquired 11- 4 month old chickens. My other chickens are 1-3 years of age so I planned to separate them. However, the smaller group must have a different plan. lol I have a large area (if you can imagine) and on each side is a coop plus a small run. One for older one for smaller, The middle is the big run area. Every morning I am finding the smaller girls in the middle or in the other coop. I have tried everything I know to keep them on the other side but they must be flying over the gated area on their side. My concern is them eating the layer pellet and not enough chick food. I have them on the "teenage" year food. Also I gave up this morning and just left their gate open since they all get along. Will it hurt my older girls to eat the chic food? I'm at a loss.
 

Evelyn Walker

Songster
Apr 3, 2019
378
900
131
Florida
The older girls can eat the grower, but they need oyster shells on the side (calcium). It would be best if the youngsters don't eat the layer feed, though.
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Apr 9, 2016
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California's Redwood Coast
Your older girls may actually benefit from the higher protein and amino acids in the chick food... mine have easier molts and come out of it faster since switching!

As long as you make oyster shell available free choice on the side for active layers, then the young may sample but won't overdose.

I never use layer anymore and feel it's best for my ever changing flock that gets young birds, has broody's and molting birds and roosters and such.

Also, it's not idea for the 4 month olds to eat layer, but actually harmful might be a bit of an over statement and most likely to happen if genetically predisposed somehow and accentuated by environmental factors like excess treats. :)
 

SueT

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
May 27, 2015
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It's great that the elders aren't trying to kill the youngsters, I'd call that a successful integration!. I'd hardly call them chicks if they are 4 months old! Some breeds start laying at 4 months. I don't think it will hurt them at this point to eat the layer feed. But preferably I'd give everyone the grower feed. I do give everyone of all ages an all flock feed, Purina Flock Raiser, with oyster shells on the side. On a side note, my chickens prefer the higher protein grower feed over layer pellets, so your youngsters might not even like the pellets.
 

Heather67

Songster
Mar 12, 2018
238
183
136
Merit, Texas
Your older girls may actually benefit from the higher protein and amino acids in the chick food... mine have easier molts and come out of it faster since switching!

As long as you make oyster shell available free choice on the side for active layers, then the young may sample but won't overdose.

I never use layer anymore and feel it's best for my ever changing flock that gets young birds, has broody's and molting birds and roosters and such.

Also, it's not idea for the 4 month olds to eat layer, but actually harmful might be a bit of an over statement and most likely to happen if genetically predisposed somehow and accentuated by environmental factors like excess treats. :)
So you don’t NEED layer food? Have you noticed lower egg production? I’m still learning so any help is appreciated.
 

Heather67

Songster
Mar 12, 2018
238
183
136
Merit, Texas
It's great that the elders aren't trying to kill the youngsters, I'd call that a successful integration!. I'd hardly call them chicks if they are 4 months old! Some breeds start laying at 4 months. I don't think it will hurt them at this point to eat the layer feed. But preferably I'd give everyone the grower feed. I do give everyone of all ages an all flock feed, Purina Flock Raiser, with oyster shells on the side. On a side note, my chickens prefer the higher protein grower feed over layer pellets, so your youngsters might not even like the pellets.
The group i got was with older girls so I really think they want to be with them. Im super proud the olders are playing nice as well.
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Apr 9, 2016
14,342
19,971
832
California's Redwood Coast
No the only thing layer has that others don't is the added oyster shell and lower protein. So providing OS on the side has worked great for over 5 years now...

The ONLY time I get soft egg shells are when it's a new layer hiccup and their system is still working out its' kinks. Or when they are coming back on line from broody or molting and get a hiccup. It always resolves rapidly without intervention.

I worked hard and spent WAY too much money and time gathering the stock that I have. I breed and hatch from them and nutrition is at the top of my list right after genetics. The 16% protein in most layer feed is the MINIMUM needed to keep a light bodied bird like Leghorn in laying condition. Depending on the bird that will be plenty to produce eggs but maybe not enough nutrients IN the eggs for hatching. 22% protein was shown to give the best hatch rates... which to me says more nutrition in the eggs my family is consuming.
If anything, the added protein would give me better not lower egg production. But production is by and large preset genetically. Make sure internal and external parasite aren't an issue as they can lower production, though only by about 10% usually (according to my research) which is often too little for many folks to notice. Age and daylight will also heavily impact production.
 

Heather67

Songster
Mar 12, 2018
238
183
136
Merit, Texas
No the only thing layer has that others don't is the added oyster shell and lower protein. So providing OS on the side has worked great for over 5 years now...

The ONLY time I get soft egg shells are when it's a new layer hiccup and their system is still working out its' kinks. Or when they are coming back on line from broody or molting and get a hiccup. It always resolves rapidly without intervention.

I worked hard and spent WAY too much money and time gathering the stock that I have. I breed and hatch from them and nutrition is at the top of my list right after genetics. The 16% protein in most layer feed is the MINIMUM needed to keep a light bodied bird like Leghorn in laying condition. Depending on the bird that will be plenty to produce eggs but maybe not enough nutrients IN the eggs for hatching. 22% protein was shown to give the best hatch rates... which to me says more nutrition in the eggs my family is consuming.
If anything, the added protein would give me better not lower egg production. But production is by and large preset genetically. Make sure internal and external parasite aren't an issue as they can lower production, though only by about 10% usually (according to my research) which is often too little for many folks to notice. Age and daylight will also heavily impact production.
Thank you! Currently they are on 20% protein but this is something I am going to look into!
 

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