started layer pellets too early... need advice!


In the Brooder
10 Years
Sep 4, 2009
Hartsville SC
so due to ignorance, I switched my chicks to layer pellets way too early thinking this would be alright. they are 4 months old now and have probably been on pellets for at least 1 & 1/2 months. should I switch back to starter? any advice appreciated!
They are old enough they could start laying depending on breed so I would feed them layer pellets. I would definitely not feed them chick starter. You can feed all chickens of all ages gamebird feed and just make sure there is oyster shell out for the layers to use. I do that some times since it makes it really simple. If I don't have chicks or various ages like right now then I just buy layer since it's much cheaper.
Hmm...gamebrid feed...never heard of that. Layers don't need oyster is they have layer feed, right?

ETA: Sorry for hijacking.
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I'd put them on gamebird 22% or better and put some oyster shell out for any that are getting close to laying. I have my flock on the gambird because it's easier then trying to keep all the feed seperate.
Hmm...gamebrid feed...never heard of that. Layers don't need oyster is they have layer feed, right?

ETA: Sorry for hijacking.

Depends. The layer feed I use has 4% calcium. The eggshells I get without the addition of oyster shell are decent, but I like them super strong, so I offer oyster shell on the side. At 20 cents a pound, I feel the oyster shell is good insurance for my hens. They can lay strong eggshells and still have enough calcium to meet their own body's needs.
thanks for all the replys guys! everyone here is awesome. there should be BYC conventions. lol. anyone know a good way to crush oyster shells? I have a huge pile I saved from someones bday roast.
I've got no idea, but I doubt if it's worth the trouble. I got 20 lbs for something under $5.00 at the feed store and it will last my 20 or so hens six months or more. It really is cheap insurance for those hens that need more calcium then what the layer ration provides. If you're feeding layer you probably won't even use that much since my birds are on gamebird feed.
I would not worry. Most like to feed starter till 18 weeks some switch to grower at 8 weeks then to layer at 18 weeks. Main thing is that protien should be over 16% for a large breed of chicken. Many feed Purina flock raiser to whole flock no matter the age. My chcieksn get fed a 20% protien feed and they free range. So what ever works best. Just do some reading around BYC to learn more.
Shifting them to a high protein diet can cause them to start laying earlier, which may or may not be what you want. I followed Damerow's advice in the Storey's book and slowed the maturation of mine down with a mixture of whole oats and wheat. The purpose is to have their bodies physically mature enough to lay eggs. The theory behind this is that it will reduce the chances of egg-laying problems; like egg-binding, prolapse, and early cessation of egg laying. I don't know the results because mine are only nine months old but doing fine.

I had two first eggs with blood on them so two out of six isn't too bad, I guess. The first bird, an Australorpe started laying at 26 weeks and the last one, the Andalusian, started at around 34 weeks ( I stopped counting by then). All of mine are currently on Flock Raiser with oyster shell and grit available and doing just fine.

One of the concerns about early starting of layer is that the additional calcium may be hard on their kidneys. There was actually a thread not too long ago about a chicken owner who had necropsy results come back from a vet with internal damage due to excess calcium.

I like to let the girls regulate their own calcium. I have great shells.

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