What to feed mixed age flock?

Catharinejo

Chirping
Jun 28, 2019
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NE Kansas, USA
We have 15 4.5 month old chickens we have been feeding layer crumble and just came home from a swap meet with 2 younger pullets. I forgot to ask how old they are but I’m guessing about 2 months old. Is it ok for them to eat later feed or do I need to switch to something else until they are bigger? I can’t remember with mixed ages if you skew older or younger for their food choice.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
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Jul 23, 2018
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We have 15 4.5 month old chickens we have been feeding layer crumble and just came home from a swap meet with 2 younger pullets. I forgot to ask how old they are but I’m guessing about 2 months old. Is it ok for them to eat later feed or do I need to switch to something else until they are bigger? I can’t remember with mixed ages if you skew older or younger for their food choice.
Whenever you have mixed flocks, it is best to feed an All Flock or Flock Raiser type feed with 18-20% protein. I personally don't use layer feed at all. I just keep my entire mixed flock on a Flock Raiser type feed with a container of oyster shell on the side for the active layers.
If the pullets are not laying, they do not need the extra calcium that is part of the layer formulation. Additionally, 16% protein, the amount in most layer feeds, is the absolute bare minimum required protein for chickens. Having 18-20% is far better for year round health.
 

mamablair

Songster
Jul 27, 2019
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Whenever you have mixed flocks, it is best to feed an All Flock or Flock Raiser type feed with 18-20% protein. I personally don't use layer feed at all. I just keep my entire mixed flock on a Flock Raiser type feed with a container of oyster shell on the side for the active layers.
If the pullets are not laying, they do not need the extra calcium that is part of the layer formulation. Additionally, 16% protein, the amount in most layer feeds, is the absolute bare minimum required protein for chickens. Having 18-20% is far better for year round health.
I have been feeding mine layer feed for years. :eek:I'm not going to anymore. Thanks for the information.
 

gtaus

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Mar 29, 2019
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As far as I know, you need to feed age appropriate feed to your birds. Young chicks need the starter feed, then progress to grower, then layer feed when they start laying. I was told not to give layer feed to chickens that are too young because the formula can actually harm them at a young age. At 2 months old, I was still feeding starter feed to my chicks. At 3 months old, they got switched over to a grower feed. But I was told not to use layer feed until I start seeing eggs. That is the advice I have been following.

If possible, I would try to segregate your younger birds from the older ones and feed them separately. You might get by with feeding them all grower feed, but if your older chickens are laying, then they would need layer feed, which would be bad for the young chicks.

I think issues like this is why many people only get a batch of same age birds. But maybe someone else has better ideas. Good luck.
 

Cindy in PA

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Jul 8, 2008
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16%, actually 16.5% is the recommended for peak lay, the same way 15% for growing pullets is recommended to delay laying until they are mature. Later in the year protein requirements go down as low as 14%. I am not sure how the 16% is the bare minimum got so ingrained here. When I started with chickens 26 years ago I was told 21% layer feed, but that was because they were fed much higher amounts of scratch scraps. I do believe some chickens do better on higher protein, but the "never feed layer" & the "16% is not enough" is not always true if you have just laying age hens & you feed other things sparingly. The biggest difference I ever noticed was when the animal protein was removed from feeds. That is why the coming insect protein in feed is so welcomed. JMHO
 

Chercher72

Chirping
Jun 14, 2018
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We have 15 4.5 month old chickens we have been feeding layer crumble and just came home from a swap meet with 2 younger pullets. I forgot to ask how old they are but I’m guessing about 2 months old. Is it ok for them to eat later feed or do I need to switch to something else until they are bigger? I can’t remember with mixed ages if you skew older or younger for their food choice.
It's fine feeding them layer. I've done it throughout my 40 years of raising fowl. They will grow a little faster with starter but throw in some added vitamins and they will do exceptionally well.
 

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