Too young for pellets?


THE Delaware Blue Hen
12 Years
Feb 21, 2007
Home Of The Delaware Blue Hen
I have some 2 1/2 month olds and recently switched to pellets with my older ones. The younger ones are in with the older ones so feeding pellets and baby crumbles isn't possible! I can't keep the right ones eating the right food. I know they should still be on baby food but they are all together with my layers. The past few days I have had 2 die and I have 1 in the living room and she is really thin. I have 2 possible theories going...a few days ago it was chilly and it rained, they were out in it. Could they have gotten a chill? Theory #2, are they not getting enough from the pellets and should I switch back to all crumbles?
Hi Bec-

Is this your first time integrating different ages of chickens? Here's my theory: your younger ones may just be being bullied away from the food by the larger, older hens. There's probably quite a size difference between your older and younger ones, and that's not a good thing. The bigger ones almost always seem to bully the smaller ones.

I think it's a good idea to separate them again if you possibly can. If not, your babies may well starve or be victims of violence, from the larger hens.

I'm sure alot of people don't worry about which food is right for the chick's age, heck, some people don't worry about nutrition at all, but layer feed isn't good for babies. It has too much calcium. The focus for babies is protein. So it would be good if you could figure out a way to get those babies their grower food.

Good luck to you! I know you mean the best for your chickens!

Hi Bec!

Sorry about the little ones lost.

It's probably a combination of your theories. And as chicmom said, they are likely being bullied and it would help if you can separate them until they're a bit bigger.

When I have had to mix them this early I use Flock Raiser type feed, it's a crumble. That's the Purina, I'm not sure what the other companies call it. Some sort of "grower" feed. It's specifically made for transitional periods. This last go-round I had the ducks on it, too. Set some oyster shell out for the layers to eat and they'll all be fine. Just make sure it's for chickens, some have been handed all kinds of stuff in the feed store!

About 16-18 weeks I start mixing in layer pellets gradually, so by the time they're 20-22 weeks they are all used to layer pellets and the younger ones can eat it.

As far as the bullying, I highly recommend having several feeders and waterers available if you can't separate them. . Kind of like having the "kid's table" on holidays!
The adult bird food shouldn't be the problem.
Try to seclude them or give them a small hiding spot with their own feeder & waterer.
Switch to crumbles or a mixture if you are really worried about them not being able to eat the pellets well.
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They are only in with older silkies and I've never seen any bullying going on, everyone gets along great. I always give several locations for them to eat from and they have 2 waterers in the pen. I really don't think that bullying is the problem

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