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Discussion in 'Nutrition - Sponsored by Purina Poultry' started by DaveOmak, Nov 11, 2014.
I think the bag says "Do not feed to birds under 18 weeks of age"...
That is correct. Most birds will begin laying between 18 and 20 weeks of age. There is a "grace" period of about two weeks, so if you were running out of chick feed and your pullets were 16 weeks, you could go ahead and start gradually transitioning to the layer feed. But I would not feed it to pullets less than 16 weeks. We advise 18 weeks to keep people in that safe zone. If you wait a few weeks later to start the layer feed, your first eggs may have no shell or very thin shells, but this will remedy quickly once you start the layer feed.
Thank you..... We all appreciate your time, to us, and the forum......
I am happy to help, Dave!
To expand on that a bit, if you feed a layer feed to chicks, their kidneys cannot process all that exyta calcium that would normally be used to make the eggshell. A laying hen is a marvelous creature -- she can make an eggshell overnight, every night, for months on end. A young chick, however, does not have that outlet for the calcium, so the body tries to excrete it through the kidneys, resulting in permanent kidney damage and often death. There can also be bone deformation due to the extreme calcium-to-phosphorus ratio. So it is really important to feed a product that is designed for the type of bird you are feeding and the lifestage of said bird.
So does this apply to all non-laying poultry or just chicks?
That's the answer I was looking for.... Physiological damages etc....
It is especially critical for chicks. Damage can occur very quickly in young chicks (or young ducklings, goslings turkeys -- any young bird that has not yet reached maturity, which, of course, will occur at different ages depending on dpecie and breed). Adult birds are far more tolerant of high-calcium diets, and there may be a range of tolerance depending on genetics, but we would consider it optimal to provide them with a lower-calcium diet when they are not laying.
This question came up in the peafowl forum and we were trying to figure out if feeding laying pellets to our non-laying peafowl would be an issue as peahens don't usually lay until they are they are two years old. Maybe someone could suggest an appropriate product for non-laying peafowl?
Once your peafowl have reached the age of 8 or 10 weeks, they can be transitioned from gamebird/turkey starter to a chicken starter/grower feed (such as FlockRaiser) and can eat this until they are ready to lay.