Switching To Layer Feed..... When?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by capebird, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. capebird

    capebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Barred Rocks are currently 16 weeks old and I would assume they
    should start laying in the next month or so (currently not laying). Right now
    I feed them Nutrena "Chick Starter Grower" crumbles which is 18 % protein.
    My question is at what point would I stop feeding this product and start them
    on Layer Feed..... such as Nutrena Layer Feed, which is 16% protein?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

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    I started at 16-17 weeks old since I was adding them to the older birds. Figured they would need the extra calcium ifthey were getting ready to lay.
     
  3. turbodog

    turbodog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think a lot of folks say "wait till you get an egg". Then you know for sure they'll be needing the extra calcium.
     
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Most Barred Rocks do not really lay much until 20 weeks. That is a month from now. There is this tendency to "hurry" the layer feed. Why? There's nothing to be gained by doing so. There's almost a sub-conscience desire for laying and eggs, but it simply isn't needed yet.
     
  5. capebird

    capebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the suggestions and follow up.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I agree totally with Fred. There is no benefit to starting them on Layer early. It will NOT start them laying earlier, no matter how many old wives you listen to tales from.

    There are plenty of studies out there that prove the extra calcium in Layer can harm growing chicks. It can damage their bones or internal organs. These studies are usually done on chicks eating Layer from Day 1, so I do not know when is a safe time to switch to Layer. At 16 weeks, yours re still growing, but not all that much. And it is not one bite that will harm them, but a steady diet of Layer. You probably could switch at that age without doing much if any harm. At worst, you would probably just damage their kidneys or liver a little which would make them less able to resist other problems later in life. I seriously doubt you would see any bad results now. If they drop dead a year from now due to their damaged kidneys or liver finally giving out when they are stressed over something else, you will never connect that to them eating Layer early. At 16 weeks, it probably would not harm any of them at all. Probably.

    I don't use that brand, but many bags of feed have a chart on them that shows when to switch. The standard is 20 weeks or when they start to lay. I suggest you keep feeding them as you are and get a bag of oyster shell. When you see the first egg, offer oyster shell on the side so the ones that need it will get it and the others won't. Then, when that bag of Starter/Grower runs out, switch to Layer.
     
  7. tlagnhoj

    tlagnhoj Out Of The Brooder

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    It was time for a new bag of feed yesterday. I have Barred Rocks roughly the same age. I believe Nutrena makes a Grower/Finisher for use between 15-20 weeks of age. So that's what I got. Of note: I purchase at Tractor Supply and 2 weeks ago they didn't have the grower/finisher feed, just starter/grower and layer.
     
  8. gale65

    gale65 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ours are 15 weeks old today. We just bought some layer and mixed it with what was left of the starter. The people at the feed store told dh we shouldn't give starter past 6 weeks so he was ready to stop using it. I mentioned the multi flock but they insisted the layer is fine at 15 weeks so that's what he got. It was free this time (he picks up feed for this store since they don't order by the semi-load) but I don't know what it normally costs. Anyway that's what they're getting-hopefully it doesn't hurt them but I am not too worried.

    eta: I do not believe that the layer feed will cause them to lay early. I've seen that mentioned before but it's basically the same feed w/ calcium and I doubt that the presence of calcium (which they get anyway from the yogurt treats I give them) will make them suddenly start laying at an earlier time than they naturally would.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011

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