Start Your Egg-venture! Tips for Hatching a Backyard Egg Business

Discussion in 'Sponsored Content, Contests, and Giveaways' started by Monica S, Mar 28, 2016.

  1. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    I'm sure plenty of people do it with no problems but the biggest thing I've heard against it is too much calcium. Sure there's no actual ingredients that hurt them but there is calcium in excess and unbalanced calcium phosphorus ratios. Maybe for roosters it doesn't hurt them but it sure hurts chicks and I am sure some roosters have suffered or it wouldn't be stated.

    As for the last bit about how it is hard to separate feed rations when they live together.... that is very true but that's exactly why some people just feed All Flock/Flock Raiser or a good starter/grower or grower feed with free choice oyster shell (calcium) for the layers. That DEFINITELY won't hurt them.

    I don't know, in my opinion I'd rather feed starter/grower or All Flock with oyster shell than risk any potential side effects with the roosters or chicks. Which you may not even noticr until they start aging.

    Although fortunately I don't have any roosters or younger chicks and probably won't until I move.
     
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  2. WPFarmstead

    WPFarmstead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The extra calcium cannot be used up or expelled with roosters and drakes in the same way a hen will use it to make egg shells. This leads to a build up of calcium in the roosters body which can lead to severe complications if fed long term. There are also issues as was stated with feeding chicks layer feed, which is even listed on the bag as a no-no. Even in laying hens, it's not necessarily the best feed to use, because it may be too much or not enough. That's why it's important to have free choice egg she'll and if you have roosters, free choice grit at all times. They will self-regulate. Of course, to each their own, but as I like to have healthy, long-lived animals who are not in pain or suffering, I would never feed a layer feed to the flock.
     
  3. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Exactly! And well said. I think for chicks the issue is with the kidneys or something plus causing bodies to mature to quickly? I imagine it is the same for roosters, the potential kidney damage. I liken it to the people who feed dogs chocolate or grapes or whatever and say that their dog has never gotten sick. Well maybe but he COULD. Plus sometimes animals have internal problems that you can't know about. Not even just from feeding them bad but I used to know of some friends that never took a dog to the vet and "wasted money" because they were "healthy". Well how do you KNOW?? Do you have x ray vision? Lol granted, my dad is cheap and has never gotten blood tests done so i guess its the same but still. We at least go.
     
  4. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    The concern with layer feed for both roosters and chicks is the calcium. Chicks won't mature too quickly on layer (to my knowledge) as the protein level is often only 16% in layer feed (unless you purposely purchase a higher protein layer). The calcium level however definitely attacks the kidneys causing them to shut down (kidney stones, etc.).

    Chick starter is usually around 18% protein. Meat bird is 22% to 24%. Turkey and Game can be 28% or higher (some is even 33%).

    Issues enter by placing chicks on something like meat or game feed if they are a breed (or species) that does not need the higher protein. Too high of protein is when you will see growth out strip their joints and bones causing hock slippage and other problems.

    LofMc
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
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  5. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Thanks for all the good info!! That makes a lot of sense!! I think what I had heard wasn't really the growth, i think i stated that wrong, but more the extra calcium could trigger their bodies to get ready to lay faster than they are ready? But don't know if that's true and they did also mention the calcium and kidney things which i think are bigger concerns anyway. But so you think it does affect roosters? Is it just long term and the people maybe cull before issues occur?

    And I don't know about too high protein and am sure it's different for chickens and birds than other animals but I somewhat know about growth issues because we neutered our dog at I think maybe 4 or 5 months old, a month before the usual 5-6 month recommendation, because he was humping everything and our vet had said that he was "plenty big enough" and well, we figured it was fine. Had never had a large puppy or really any puppy. Our previous dog we got from a family at 18 months and he was a yellow Lab. My mom had a Golden puppy before him but that's not a large breed. Anyway, I later found out, like this past year or a bit before, about how they're finding out how bad it is to neuter large breeds early. Seems to mostly be neutering males but obviously probably impacts females too. But studies and stuff of how they aren't done growing and so when you neuter too early it doesn't tell the plates to stop growing and you can get too straight front legs, hock and tendon issues, ACL tears especially, etc. And how you should wait until they're at least a year preferably like 18-24 months old and sure enough, Gator got a leg injury in summer 2014. Now he also tore through the woods after a deer but still, he's had issues with that leg since and will occasionally limp. And even looking at him and not knowing anything about confirmation, the angles in the front legs do look very straight. He's just had a lot of issues and I really wish I had known then cause we never would have done it. Not to mention the fact that a hormonal puppy is normal and we could have managed it haha they're saying even on not large breed dogs some vets are realizing 5-6 months is too young to fix and especially the 8 weeks old I've seen some shelters do. Knowing what I know now, I will never fix any dog before they are a year old. With management it shouldn't be an issue. I heard there is also a relatively new thing called ovary sparing or hormone sparing surgery or something like that and I am sure there is a male equivalent. But basically it's what it sounds like, they take the uterus out and/or something else so that the dog can't get pregnant but they leave the stuff that produces the hormones so they can still grow normally and stuff. Pretty cool. I think I'd like to try that if I get a girl dog but I am sure most vets do not do it so if not I will simply wait till at least 12-18 months or just simply not do it. For smaller dogs they're usually done growing by a year old or even the 5-6 month old thing but for the really really large dogs like great danes or leonbergers they're no where near done by one year old. They probably take at least 2 and I heard some dogs take 3. Heck, I even saw a TV thing with a Leo that was 2 or 3 and still growing and she said he would be for like another year or two. I think he actually was done with the growing bit though and I wouldn't wait that long to neuter him but I think it was in terms of like coat and filling out and stuff, his coat still had fluffing and adulting to do and a few inches in height (okay maybe 1 or 2)and pounds to gain haha he was a show dog though and not fixed but ya. Anyhow, mine is half black lab and half great Pyrenees and never again will I make the mistake of neutering too early.

    Sorry, that got really long and waaaaaaaayyyyyy off topic hahaha so sorry!!!!!!
     
  6. 10AcreChick

    10AcreChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Everyone on here seems to know a lot about feeding chickens. Here is my layout: I have laying hens, roosters and chicks that I just integrated into the flock at 5 weeks old. Now the layers have access to the chick starter and the chicks have access to the All Flock that I have been using. I provide oyster shell free choice. Any dangers there? And how am I going to keep my future chicks from having to the All Flock prior to this age when they are going around with a broody mommy? (I have Buff Orpingtons and am hoping they will go broody). I know I don't have to feed the chicks MEDICATED chick starter next time around, but will they thrive just fine on All Flock crumbles??
     
  7. WPFarmstead

    WPFarmstead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All Flock is designed just for this. It is for young chicks, pullets, roosters and laying hens. If I can't get my custom feed, that's what I buy normally. I like the All Flock, because I can also give it to ducks and geese, which are also members of my flock.
     
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I feed an all-in-one type feed to pretty much all my birds, hatch to butcher, males, females, everyone.

    I have changed to medicated starter for some of my brooder babies because of how wet and warm our winter was, I'm sure my ground is teeming with cocci this year. It's been an issue on and off in the past, and I have a feeling this year will be a banner year for it here. But that's the only reason for the separate starter, in dryer or colder years I've just given everyone all in one and they do fine. Oyster shell and egg shells for the layer hens, no one else is interested in them.
     
  9. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    x2 Kind of depends on your purposes too and your particular flock and environment conditions (which can change from year to year).

    All flock is meant to be a feed for mixed flocks, typically from age 7 weeks and older to layers (with calcium supplement) and roosters. Five weeks of age is likely close enough to switch to all flock. Compare your feed labels as products vary between companies. Typically chick start contains a lot more vitamin and mineral supplementation for growing bodies. Chick Start will be around 18% protein, also important for growing bodies. Most all flock is 18% protein, but as stated most all flock does not have anywhere near the vitamin/mineral supplementation as chick start.

    Breed types and environment conditions then can factor in. If you have commercial hybrid layer types that mature faster (often laying by 22 weeks), switching out earlier to layer is not necessarily harmful. There are studies indicating feeding layer to commercial hybrid layers who mature earlier is beneficial as they need the higher calcium since they will be going into production sooner. Although you don't want to push them too quickly into lay as that can cause problems with the egg duct too.

    If you have more heritage type breeds that mature more slowly, you may desire to have them on a chick start longer to give their bodies time to mature with the additional nutrients found in the typical chick start. That may not be an issue for most breeds wherein all flock suffices (albeit I think it may also be more convenience for the flock keeper than nutritional targeting). You could also supplement with a vitamin/mineral product if you chose. Rooster Booster produces nice products for that type of supplementation. The big thing is the calcium. As stated in this thread, young chicks cannot handle calcium well. Roosters can handle it for a time, some better than others, but the general consensus is they are better and longer lived without the additional calcium clogging their internal system...although many a rooster seems to have survived well enough on layer, so you will get mixed reviews on that issue.

    All flock usually comes in a choice of pellet and crumble. Chick start, at least in my area, is crumble only. Pellet produces less waste than crumble (which I find crumble goes to powder way too quickly), but pellet can be more difficult for younger birds to eat. If you find your hens are laying thin shelled eggs on all flock (my problem with some all flock), you can switch from oyster shell to calcite grit as sometimes that is digested better (in my experience).

    So for most flock owners who desire to avoid calcium overload with those birds who do not need it, all flock has been a good feed choice. But watch your flock and consider your goals. If you want to grow certain birds to optimum, it is usually best to use a feed that is targeted to their type. My daughter went through Vet Tech school, and we learned there is a lot of science behind those commercially produced feed formulas. Our Guide Dog program also commented and focused on appropriate nutrition for the particular breed type. Targeted feed can make the difference between a pathetic 3.5 to 4lb meat bird and a beautiful 6 to 8lb tasty roaster. If you are in an area with low sunshine or extreme weather, you may find your birds need better supplementation for vitamins (D) to thrive. Vitamin deficiency definitely causes a multitude of issues and conditions from wry neck to odd gaits.

    All said, many utility flock owners do just fine on a general flock food adjusting if they see issues arise that are linked to nutrition (poor egg quality, poor development, lack luster feathers not attributed to parasites, wry neck, leg/gait issues, poor hatch rates).

    That covers the basic concept of nutrition; now your thoughts on medicated feed. The reason for medicated chick start as I am sure you know is to prevent Coccidiosis...the dysentary like disease that occurs when there is an overgrowth of coccidia (a protozoa) in the gut of an animal. Coccidia live pretty much in all soil everywhere and are not a problem until there is an overgrowth as most animals keep it at bay with their immune system unless their system is compromised (from parasites or illness). If a bird has a compromised or undeveloped immune system (as in young birds and birds stressed from travel...your newly purchased older birds), an overgrowh can quickly occur producing the illness of coccidiosis.

    Not all Coccidiosis produces bloody diarrhea as it depends upon where the coccidia take up residence in the gut. Often your first and only symptoms are a lethargic, huddled bird, with an internally withdrawn look about them. Then if the load is located low enough in the intestinal tract (as commonly happens) you will see the classic bloody diarrhea. By the time you see that, the bird often is fatally ill, and it is harder to help them recover as they will not eat or drink. To prevent that severity of condition, preventative measure is taken through medicated feed. Amprolium is the medicine provided in medicated feed (the same med in Corid at a higher dosage for crisis and acute treatment). Amprolium in medicated feed is given in very low dose so that it hinders the growth of the coccidia (through hindering vitamin b absorption thus starving the protozoa) but allows some to grow so that the bird slowly gains an immunity. That is why it is fed until the bird is close to maturity and thus mature immune system. This immunity can be lost as stated from stress or anything that compromises the bird's immune system. Also this immunity is only for the strain the bird was exposed to...and there are many different strains of coccidia. Moving a bird from one area to another (as in purchase) can both shock the body lowering the immune system and bring it in contact with a new unfamiliar strain. It is also why you need careful bio-security so you don't track the mud from Farmer Jones and his strain of coccidia to your backyard.

    Another situation is when weather or environmental conditions create an overload in the soil. This occurs with warm, moist conditions and causes a build up of the oocyts (the spores of the coccidia). This also can occur from continuous use of a coop. Oocyts are hard to get rid of, and if you have not had a good killing freeze during winter (which only scales the population back but never elminates), nor disinfectants periodically with litter removal, you can have a population explosion that overwhelms even healthy systems.

    Why all that information? Because the answer to use medicated really depends upon your environment and flock. I always put feed store and newly purchased birds on medicated feed as they have had both travel shock and a new strain to contend with. I avoid putting broody hatched chicks on medicated feed as I have had problems with the chicks becoming vitamin B deficient on the medicated feed (exhibited by toe walking and leg deformities). Last summer I had the worse ever outbreak of coccidiosis after uncharacteristically unclean coops (family health emergency had prevented my normal chores) and unseasonably warm, moist weather. (shout out to @donrae I had that here too up North from you). I am now as a matter of fact treating all chicks with medicated feed to keep the oocyst load lower as I continue to remove litter and clean coops waiting for a really good killing winter.

    Oh...Edited to Add...it is a myth that Amprolium based medicated feed is bad for layers. I have read numerous studies and the latest government regs allow for a certain amount of Amprolium based feed because coccidiosis is a problem in the commercial industry (with all those birds in close quarters). You can feed medicated chick start to layers and eat the eggs.

    Long response. Hopefully that explains "one size does not fit all." Research and do what you feel is best for your flock.

    LofMc
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
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  10. 10AcreChick

    10AcreChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank You, LofMc! That was just the answer I was looking for! I checked the bag last night and this last bag of chick starter I bought does not claim to be medicated (first bag was), so I wasn't worried about the layers getting to it, anyway, but that is good to know.

    Do you know, would a Buff Orp x RIR breed a good sized bird for butcher? I have BO chicks and a BO roo chick right now, and am debating whether to butcher out my RIR hens this fall or not. I would let the RIR ladies live on and hang out if I knew that they wouldn't bring down the weight of any offspring. I bought the BOs for meat purposes (and laying), but won't be able to tell which brown eggs are BO x RIR and which are BO x BO when I go to incubate the eggs of these chicks (and whoever else uses the nest) when they get to that age this fall.
     

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