Switch from Medicated Start and Grow to Layer?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by IGmom, May 21, 2012.

  1. IGmom

    IGmom Chirping

    Mar 4, 2012
    Bixby, Ok.
    My chickens are now approximately 3 1/2 mo old. When and what do I switch them to for food? I have been told at 16 weeks to change them to a non medicated layer food.
  2. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Free Ranging

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    I switch mine out any time after 6 weeks of age - mix the two together for about a week.
  3. Three and a half months old? Right? Well, that is 15 weeks. Some months are shorter, some longer. LOL. 15 weeks is a bit young, but likely not early enough to do much harm, harm you cannot see from the outside. Young birds simply don't have the capacity to expel the excess calcium that is found in layer feed. A laying hen can expel it, via the egg shell and actually needs the calcium that is packed into laying formula feed.

    The poultry studies of feeding high calcium and resultant renal damage done is easily found by researching the web. The science, the research is there for anyone to read, with gory photos of the post death examinations of the bird's internals.

    Again, your birds are on the cusp. If you expect POL at 17 weeks, you'd be fine. If the POL for the breeds you have is more like 24 weeks? I'd personally wait a bit longer. Best regards.
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  4. MamaDee

    MamaDee In the Brooder

    Feb 1, 2012
    Wetumpka, Alabama
    Excuse my ignorance, but what does POL refer to? Point of laying?? New to so much!

    Switching to layer food has me a bit confused also, as I've heard to do so around four months; I've also heard to switch once the first egg is laid. And do different breeds lay their first eggs sooner or later than others to know when to offer the layer food?
  5. questions543

    questions543 Songster

    Mar 21, 2012
    yes POL does refer to point of lay.

    Does anyone know how long it is possible to continue to give a chick/pullet medicated chick food?

    Also whats the difference between grower and starter? Which one can you feed for longer?
  6. Yes, only the most prolific, commercial types lay at 16 weeks. 24 weeks is quite normal and some take as long as 30 weeks. When one sees the first egg is plenty enough a signal. What's the rush? If they're not laying, then they don't need layer feed. Simple. There's no magic in layer feed. It's merely regular feed laced with calcium to makes eggshells with. Most folks simply rush with some strange idea that the pullets somehow need it or it will somehow allow the eggs to come. Early egg laying isn't all it is cracked up to be. Pun intended. We'd all be better served with slowly maturing, longer living birds.

    Yes, POL is Point of Lay.
  7. Some companies make "starter" and "grower" and often, the grower has slightly less protein so as to not rush muscular development too fast.
    Other companies merely make a combination Stater-Grower. Different strokes for different folks.

    The medication in medicated feed is merely a cocci blocker and is fairly benign. You can feed it, if you wish, all the time. Most folks do not choose to do so, but they could. You can even eat eggs from a hen who has eaten it. Read your feed label. Amprollium is what is most often used.
  8. MamaDee

    MamaDee In the Brooder

    Feb 1, 2012
    Wetumpka, Alabama
    Thanks for definition of POL..I was close!
    And thanks, Fred's Hens, for the laying age/feed switch info..good to know!
  9. Pack Mom

    Pack Mom In the Brooder

    Apr 11, 2012
    New Jersey
    Our chicks are just reaching 3 1/2 months and running our of their medicated chick feed so we are going to switch over to grower. This brings up the next question - Mash or Pellets? Currently they have the crumbles and when it turns to powder from pecking they don't want it anymore.
  10. Whether it is dust found on the bottom of a crumbles bag, or a pellet bag, all you have to do is add a little water and Ta Da!!! You've got a porridge type feed that the chicks will love. In fact, it often spoils them so bad that never want dry old food again. LOL

    Mash, pellets, crumbles all are a choice. Each have some merit. I truly like the convenience of pellets, but dislike the price. Our local ground mash is half the price and slightly better quality. Our birds do prefer the mash made into a thick porridge, and I'm glad to oblige.

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