what to feed hens and rooster

mlterry

Songster
Apr 29, 2015
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I have some chickens that are about 4 1/2 months old. I also have one rooster. If I start feeding the hens layer feed can the rooster have that too? Is there something else I should give him?

Thanks in advance.
 

LRH97

Songster
7 Years
Jul 29, 2013
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Southern Illinois
My roosters have always been content on layer feed. However, I don't start feeding layer until I see the first egg from the girls.
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LRH97

Songster
7 Years
Jul 29, 2013
1,136
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Southern Illinois
So, it would be better to wait until I get an egg or two?
That's what I've always done. There are usually feeding guides on the backs of the feed bags that say feed this until so many weeks old, blah blah blah. I've just always switched over once I get an egg. Just makes it a little easier.
 

HighStreetCoop

Songster
6 Years
Aug 28, 2014
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Oakland, CA
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I have some chickens that are about 4 1/2 months old. I also have one rooster. If I start feeding the hens layer feed can the rooster have that too? Is there something else I should give him?

Thanks in advance.

If you're keeping roosters, you should not feed layer. The extra calcium causes kidney damage. You can simply leave them on grower or feed an "all flock" (depending on what's available where you live) and offer oyster shell free choice on the side.
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
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If you're keeping roosters, you should not feed layer. The extra calcium causes kidney damage. You can simply leave them on grower or feed an "all flock" (depending on what's available where you live) and offer oyster shell free choice on the side.

X 2 - only birds who are actively producing, shelling and laying eggs have a need for the calcium contained in layer feed - any bird not in that category (males, pullets not yet laying, hens who are not laying due to age, broodiness, molt or poor health, etc.) will suffer damage from a diet with excess calcium in it. While the damage may not be obvious from the outside, the damage is done. When feeding a mixed flock it is far simpler (and healthier) to feed a base diet that is healthy for all the birds consuming it and provide any extra nutrients to those birds who have a need of it separately - in the case of calcium, this is easily done by providing free choice oyster shell. Non-laying birds and males may peck at it a time or two and check it out, but somehow they "know" when they need it and only actively laying birds in need of the calcium consume it in any amount. Even beyond the issue of not needing the calcium in a layer feed, I prefer this approach as it allows the birds themselves to control their intake based on what their individual system is telling them do/don't need on a given day vs. being fed a set amount as is done in a layer feed ration.
 

Cindy in PA

Crowing
12 Years
Jul 8, 2008
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These are great points, but I always fed layer when I had roosters, but I don't keep chickens or roosters for longer than 2-3 years. Everyone is always trying to save money on feed when they see how much chickens actually eat & grower/flock raiser is more expensive with the higher % of protein. I love higher protein feed, but just wanted to point this out.
 

LRH97

Songster
7 Years
Jul 29, 2013
1,136
473
241
Southern Illinois
These are great points, but I always fed layer when I had roosters, but I don't keep chickens or roosters for longer than 2-3 years. Everyone is always trying to save money on feed when they see how much chickens actually eat & grower/flock raiser is more expensive with the higher % of protein. I love higher protein feed, but just wanted to point this out.
Same, by the way.
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