Too young for layer pellets??

jnine

In the Brooder
10 Years
Dec 19, 2009
56
0
39
The Great South East
I have a couple of chicks, well I think they are still 4-6 weeks from laying judging by their combs, even though they as big as the layers. They are getting too big for their small coop so I want to put them in with the bigger girls who are on laying pellets. During they day when they are all out free ranging I often see the younger ones in the big coop eating from the big girls' feeder. Is eating laying pellets at this age bad for them???

Thank you
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chicmom

Dances with Chickens
10 Years
Feb 24, 2009
8,696
284
316
Strasburg Ohio
Well, chicks and young chickens should eat chick starter/grower until they are 20 weeks old because that is the perfect nutrition for their growing bones and bodies, but I really don't think it'll harm them if they eat the other. Maybe you could put some of the chick grower feed in that feeder you see them eat from.

Just a suggestion,
Sharon
 

Tala

Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 14, 2009
6,372
56
251
Benton (Saline County) AR
So how old are they???

On the back of the Layena bag it says do not feed to chickens under 18 weeks of age.
The problem is young birds getting an overdose of calcium that the layers use to make eggeshells with.
You can switch everyone to a grower type feed (I use Purina Flock Raiser) and offer oyster shell free choice for the layers to get their calcium from. Only the ones who need the oyster shell will eat much of it.
 

jnine

In the Brooder
10 Years
Dec 19, 2009
56
0
39
The Great South East
I'm not actually sure how old they are.. here is a pic of when we got them back in Jan when we thought they were 10-12 weeks

https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=283766

This would make them 20-22 weeks old now - fairly certain they are older than 18 weeks.

I have an auto feeder in the big coop - and the older girls refuse to use it, but the chicks have cottoned on right away! Even if I do put grower food in the auto feeder and pellets in a dish for the stubborn old girls, the younger ones will still eat from the dish.
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chicmom

Dances with Chickens
10 Years
Feb 24, 2009
8,696
284
316
Strasburg Ohio
jnine, Tala is right about the calcium, but it seem that your chicks are old enough if they're 21 weeks! An average age for laying to begin is 20 weeks, so they should be fine on the layer feed! (WHEW lucky, huh.)
 

jnine

In the Brooder
10 Years
Dec 19, 2009
56
0
39
The Great South East
I still think they have a ways to go until they start laying, their combs and wattles are still relatively small, but they are growing into big birds! (The black one in particular!)
 

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