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Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Fresh Eggs, Mar 24, 2009.
The title says it all, thanx!!!!
No, they should stay on starter/grower til they are laying age. There's too much calcium in layer for chicks. Laying age means they either lay the first egg or they are over 18 weeks old. Layer feed is for pullets who are currently laying.
They really need their starter/grower til they are at point of lay at 18 or 19 weeks!! Has all the vits and minerals they need to become healthy laying hens!!! Way too much calcium in layer feeds to be giving young pullets or cockerals!
This is a good thread- because the chick starter/feeder bag says to stop use at 8-9 weeks and obtain the next level of feed. I too, grabbed a bag of layer feed this last week because there seem to be no inbetween feed. I was going to mix the two together as well.
Quote:The in-between feed is "grower" or "finisher."
Really, the layer feed has too much calcium even for birds in molt or past laying age. I don't know if it causes them much trouble but it is way excessive. Young, immature bodies are the ones more likely to suffer from an excess, as I understand it.
Layer feed is made for birds in full egg production. Artificial selection for such heavy production has resulted in the requirement for special attention to their need for eggshell calcium.
In some areas, you can buy starter, then grower, then layer. In my area, they have only the combo starter/grower,which I feed till laying age.
when my chicks get older like 8 weeks or so I mix their starter/grower with scratch....it that ok?
Personally . . . personally I don't think adding scratch to the diet as the chick matures is a bad idea. This is assuming that her commercial ration is a 20% protein or higher feed.
Eight weeks is really about the time that a bird gets a little more adventuresome with its diet. And, as a pullet approaches 16 weeks and older, her protein requirements can go down. That slows her development a bit but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Egg laying is tough business, she is almost all finished growing when that time arrives and it isn't such a bad thing for her to gain a little more size before putting out all the extra effort to produce eggs.
Of course, there are other foods besides scratch that would also be healthy and bring down the protein a few percentage points - if you stay on, say, a 20% protein feed right up until point of lay. Whenever you begin these non-milled products, however, the birds need to have grit in their diets.
So, how much am I talking about? Personally (again ), I shoot for about 15% of their diet in something other than commercial feed. This is also what many poultry scientist advise at the top end for scratch. (A few say laying hens can have more, some say zero scratch.)
I know I am more conscious of what feed I am feeding my chicks now but years ago in early 80 when I then had 200 chickens and they were laying eggs they got the same feed they started on when babies..guess there was only one kind and I didn't know the difference, but now my chickens are spoiled and when I feed them anything the rooster always crows to thank me...never fails..