Starter to layer with different aged chicks

FloridaChick1

In the Brooder
8 Years
Dec 9, 2011
29
0
24
Sarasota, Florida
I know that when they start to lay eggs I should switch from starter to layer, but.... I have a few chicks that will be 4-6 weeks behind the older ones. How do you handle the age difference and feed?
 

Fred's Hens

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Layers do not NEED to have a layer feed. Layer feed is nothing special nor magical. It merely has added calcium ground into it. You can accomplish the same thing by offering shells on the side. Those birds who's bodies require the shells will eat it, while the younger birds generally ignore the shells.

Later, when everyone is of laying age, you can feed layer for your own convenience. Right now, just continue with a regular feed of your choice, Starter, Grower or an All Flock type feed.
 

debid

Free Ranging
10 Years
Jan 20, 2011
7,560
6,919
516
middle TN
I kept my mixed-age, breed assortment pullets on grower with shells (oyster and their own crushed eggshells) on the side until all of them were laying. That didn't happen until 30-some weeks for some of the birds while others were laying at 23-24. It worked just fine. I'd see a young pullet's first egg and then notice her suddenly eating the shells she'd been ignoring until then. They know when they need the calcium.

ETA: you aren't still feeding medicated are you? It just occurred to me that you might be getting medicated eggs? If so, switch to a non-medicated chick feed, grower, or all-flock. They're the same thing, different labels.
 
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FloridaChick1

In the Brooder
8 Years
Dec 9, 2011
29
0
24
Sarasota, Florida
Thanks for the replies. At this point my chickens are only about 3 months old. I am giving them medicated start and grow as I have some as young as 6-7 weeks too. I guess I'll wait until I see the first egg to switch to unmedicated? I probably should eat the eggs when they are eating medicated feed?
 

macdoogle2

Songster
8 Years
Apr 3, 2011
229
2
101
San Diego
I have roosters in with my laying hens so I keep everyone on grower with egg shell on the side. My Broodies with chicks get chick starter. Around here it only comes medicated so that's what they get. They are in their own inclosure. I switch to grower at 6-8 weeks.
 

debid

Free Ranging
10 Years
Jan 20, 2011
7,560
6,919
516
middle TN
Thanks for the replies. At this point my chickens are only about 3 months old. I am giving them medicated start and grow as I have some as young as 6-7 weeks too. I guess I'll wait until I see the first egg to switch to unmedicated? I probably should eat the eggs when they are eating medicated feed?

Your oldest chickens still have another month or more before they're even thinking of laying. By that point, the youngest ought to be ready for an unmedicated feed but I wouldn't use layer since that has more calcium than a 10-11 week chick ought to get. So, I'd stay the course for another month or so (until your current bag runs out) and then switch everyone to an all-flock while you await that first egg.
 

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