What kind of feed when putting 10 week old chickens with laying hens???

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by susanah, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. susanah

    susanah Songster

    Mar 23, 2009
    Have they been on medicated feed long enough to switch them over to the laying feed? Or do we have to feed the laying hens the medicated feed and throw the eggs?
  2. Ravenseye

    Ravenseye In the Brooder

    Dec 30, 2008
    Pepperell, MA
    I usually don't mix them in at 10 weeks but if I did I'd be tempted to pull them off the medicated and let them get used to non-medicated. In the past though, my younger chicks still wanted crumble and had a hard time with pellets so keep an eye out if you're moving them to layer pellets.
  3. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging

    Feb 18, 2011
    Most people with mixed flocks feed starter/grower of an all age flock raiser type food, usually around 18% protein. You should not feed chicks Layer feed, the extra calcium can cause kidney problems, they generally recommend 18 weeks or waiting until just before they lay for Layer. If the chicks need to be on medicated feed because of Coccidia problems and you can't keep them separate, then you should feed the Layers medicated feed and do what you want with the eggs. If it is just amprolium, there does not seem to be a withdrawl time, but some people don't like to eat them anyhow. How long chicks need to be on medicated feed depends on a lot of things, but if you haven't had problems in the past, and they have been outside for awhile, two weeks or better, I would be inclined to take them off of it and just keep a close eye on them in case of an outbreak.
  4. You're probably fine taking them off medicated, if you wish. However, 10 week old birds should NOT be put on Layer. Layer isn't anything magical. It is merely a Raiser or Grower type feed with double/triple dose of calcium ground right in.

    Young birds cannot efficiently expel all that calcium and it tends to build up in the renal system doing lots of damage and can cause gout. Laying hens DO need calcium supplementation, but can easily achieve this through having crushed oyster shells provided in a side dish. Only their bodies crave the calcium so only they pick at them, as a rule.

    Feed a mixed flock a quality Raiser, All Flock, Starter (non medicated, if you wish) or Grower. Everyone can eat these feeds and get along nicely.
  5. sepaditty1

    sepaditty1 Songster

    Mar 29, 2008
    South Carolina
    I've got oyster shell in a bowl for the girls. I also have them on layer feed for now.

    Soon, I'll be introducing some younger girls and I'll switch back to grower. It doesn't seem like anyone ever eats any of the oyster shells. They are out in a regular dog bowl. Is that OK?

    Are they just not taking it because they don't crave the calcium since it's in the food?

    How do chickens know that oyster shells have the calcium they need? I mean, 300 years ago before we intervened, did chickens have ready access to oyster shells? What gives?
  6. They only laid 50 eggs a year as well. They could store up calcium from greens and other sources and draw on that calcium just during the breeding/laying season, which was brief. BTW, chickens have been domesticated for nearly 4000 years.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    If you're feeding layer, they get all the calcium they need and you don't need to offer the oyster shell.
    I don't know how they know they need it, except they taste everything and something in their bodies tell them they need it. My roosters never eat it, but they know the hens like it. My young birds taste it but don't eat it, either.

    Chickens before domestication had a much more varied diet, with more greens and insect shells. And as mentioned, WAY less eggs were laid. Even 50 years ago, my grandma's birds didn't lay near as well as mine do today. To her, a 4 eggs a week hen was a good hen. Today's chicken folks want 6 or 7 a week. That just needs more calcium to support all those egg shells.

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