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Starter/layer hens and pullets

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by RockyToggRanch, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. RockyToggRanch

    RockyToggRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2008
    Upstate NY
    So let's say we have 1- 1yr old hen, 4- 5mo. old pullets and 14- 3mo. old undetermined. And two roosters.

    I know I should feed starter until they start laying and then switch to layer.

    Question is:
    If all these critters live together and eat together...how on earth do I feed each the right stuff?

    I've been buying a bag of each, mixing it together and hoping for the best.

    What about the roosters?

    All of my birds free range (except for the two new d'uccles).

    I've noticed runny poops in the coop in the a.m. and wonder if they're not getting the right food.
     
  2. Dar

    Dar Overrun With Chickens

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    Jul 31, 2008
    i would try and seperate them if you can maybe use a makeshift coop out of a dog crate
     
  3. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    They have a general feed available...I think its called Flock Builder or some such, that can get you by, nutritionally, for all ages until you can switch them all over to layer feed. Ask them at the feed store, I bet they can get you the right one!

    I, personally, feed all mine, chicks to hens, with laying mash, unmedicated. Folks on here discourage this practice...says it stunts chicks growth and damages their organs, as it has too much calcium. Couldn't prove it by me! These chicks and the last bunch of 2 mo. olds I got are slungers!!! Huge and healthy. So, go figure!
     
  4. KristaChickenWhisperer

    KristaChickenWhisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 1, 2008
    Lake Stevens, WA
    There are all purpose poultry feeds you can get, I know of people who have free range chickens that use that.

    I had the same problem, and used an all purpose poultry and it worked great.

    If you cant access it, it might be a good idea to separate the pullets from the adults. Feeding them layer does affect them. I had a flock a few years ago that got fed layer...because at the time my parents were paying for feed and got the wrong kind. It did end up stunting their growth, and they never layed.

    Good luck [​IMG]
     
  5. riderbecky

    riderbecky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ottawa Valley
    Quote:I've got no real experience with this and I'm sure I'll get lots of flack for what I'm doing but [​IMG].

    I have a group of 19wk olds and a group of 9wk olds. I've mixed grower/starter, locally produced lay mash, and locally grown feed oats that I've mixed together in a 1:1:1 ratio.

    There are many schools of thought about this...as your coming to realize. Some say "don't feed layer feed to youngsters, it'll stunt their growth. Others say don't grow your birds too fast, you'll get reproductive problems. [​IMG]

    So now that everyone is thoroughly confused... I say do what you reasonably can and let nature take its course. Some might consider my approach to be irresponsible, but I free range so many think that I'm irresponsible already. [​IMG] And because of my free ranging and 24/7 access to feed and water there is no way I can segregate the groups... I [​IMG] [​IMG] at the thought of trying!
     
  6. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Our flock forages our acreage. We feed our entire flock (ages 7 weeks to 2+ years) Purina SunFresh Flock Raiser. We put oyster shell out separately for the laying hens. The youngsters and roo haven't touched it. We also put grit out separately for everybody.

    We keep the feed, oyster shell and grit available in the hen house 24/7.

    edited for clarity.... [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2008
  7. SunAngel

    SunAngel Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2008
    Chambersburg, Pa.
    Most of my flock are 4 months old now, with a couple 6 months old and a two year old layer.

    I give my chicks in the brooder 20 or 24% starter.

    I mix grower or flock raiser and layer mash together to feed all the older ones. I couldn't get a real concrete answer here when I asked, cause I think most just buy whats available to them. So I just mixed the two. I toss out a scoop of scratch grains for them early in the mornings and let them free range for a bit each day. Everyone seems healthy and eats fine. My layers eggs look perfect and the roos don't seem to have a problem.

    I might just continue to do this, since I will probably always have mixed ages and genders.
     
  8. RockyToggRanch

    RockyToggRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2008
    Upstate NY
    Thanks for the input. Mine free range all day, but i've been putting their feeder outside for them as well. I throw out scratch twice a day. I hope that's not too much. I didn't realize there was an option of flock or all purpose feed. Cool.
    I do still have runny poops in the coop, mostly under the youngsters, so I need to change something. The five laying age are each giving me an egg every other day and they look normal, so I think they're fine.
     
  9. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Quote:I've got no real experience with this and I'm sure I'll get lots of flack for what I'm doing but [​IMG].

    I have a group of 19wk olds and a group of 9wk olds. I've mixed grower/starter, locally produced lay mash, and locally grown feed oats that I've mixed together in a 1:1:1 ratio.

    There are many schools of thought about this...as your coming to realize. Some say "don't feed layer feed to youngsters, it'll stunt their growth. Others say don't grow your birds too fast, you'll get reproductive problems. [​IMG]

    So now that everyone is thoroughly confused... I say do what you reasonably can and let nature take its course. Some might consider my approach to be irresponsible, but I free range so many think that I'm irresponsible already. [​IMG] And because of my free ranging and 24/7 access to feed and water there is no way I can segregate the groups... I [​IMG] [​IMG] at the thought of trying!

    I, too, have been puzzled by this contention that layer feed can damage young chicks and pullets.

    Is this just something people have surmised, or are there actual facts and studies to support this theory? Do these studies cite the actual safe dosage of calcium per chick and the side effects apparent when these maximum dosages are exceeded? Does it list the observed side effects discovered in a controlled experiment? Or is this a theory ventured because some people have had bad results and maladies related to hypercalcemia? If so, how many people have recorded these and are they certain these anomalies were caused directly by the amount of calcium in the laying mash?

    This is the type of information I would like to discover, so I can make an informed decision about the diet of my young chicks. [​IMG]

    One article vaguely stated that as long as increased phosphorus was present with the increase in calcium, there would be no harmful effects. No real specifics given, just a general little piece on mistakes made in mixing feeds for broilers on a commercial scale. I want more info!
     
  10. riderbecky

    riderbecky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ottawa Valley
    I with you Beekissed. A small study on "commercial broilers" doesn't answer the nutritional questions of the backyard freerange poultry owner. Most days I have no idea what my girls are eating...and honestly I don't think I want to know [​IMG] So how would all that figure into any study out there.

    Honestly, my best source of information has been this forum...BYCer's rock!! [​IMG]
     

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