When can babies go on layer feed?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by SewingMom, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. SewingMom

    SewingMom Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 26, 2010
    I heard from a friend the other day that the layer feed has too much calcium for babies so I don't want to put mine on it too soon. I have some 7 week old chicks that are starting to jump/fly out of their little corral so I'm thinking they are going to join the rest of the flock soon. In the meantime, do I buy another large bag of grower feed or let them start on the layer feed? It's hard when they are all together to keep them from eating each other's food so I guess I'm looking for the best option:
    - put both kinds of feed out and hope they eat what they are supposed to? (which I'm sure will never happen lol)
    - put layer feed out and just let the chicks eat that too?
    - put grower feed out and let my laying hens eat that too?

  2. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    Calcium can cause developmental problems before 18 weeks. You could put them all on 15% protein grower and offer oyster shell free choice to provide calcium for the hens. Put it up a little higher, but the pullets probably wont be motivated to eat it.
  3. XxKiki_Bantam_BreederxX

    XxKiki_Bantam_BreederxX Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2011
    Technically, layer feed should be fed when a chicken is laying eggs, or at 20 weeks old at the earliest. The grower should be fine for your flock, maybe use Oyster Shell free choice to supplement the lost calcium. The chicks will most likely leave it alone unless they need it.
  4. floridachickhatcher

    floridachickhatcher Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2011
    Quote:7wks so they are just under 2mos you keep feeding them the grower until 20 or 22wks then you give them layer

    you start feeding them layer at 5 months/20wks so they can get it into their body for when they lay the following month at 6mos/24 wks

    if you let the hens eat the grower thats wasted feed on them same for the chicks eating the layer other than it most likely fattening them up!
  5. SewingMom

    SewingMom Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 26, 2010
    Thanks for the replies!
    I've already got some oyster shell supplement in a bag in the garage so that will work out great!
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    The only significant difference in Layer and Grower is the calcium level. There should be no concerns about fattening them up with Grower. Now, if you go with Flock Raiser or Starter, that is a different thing, though many people do that.

    A standard way of feeding a mixed age flock is to feed Grower or something else similar with oyster shell free choice on the side. The ones that need the calcium will eat the oyster shell. The ones that do not need it may sample just a bit, but they will not eat enough to do themselves harm.

    I use the 16% Dumor’s Layer and the 15% Dumor’s Grower/Finisher, not the regular 16% grower,. Here is the breakdown of most of the analysis. I only included those that are in both. And looking at the ingredients, the Grower/Finisher contains only one thing that the Layer does not, calcium pantothenate. Otherwise the contents are identical. The proportions of these contents are changed a little to give the different analysis, but it is the same stuff. For what it is worth, both are ruminant meat and bone meal free.

    You can see that there is a little difference in everything, but the only real difference is in calcium. As far as I am concerned, the differences in the rest are not very different from the variation they would get just free ranging and finding most of their own food.

    16% Layer 15% Grower Flock Raiser
    Protein 16 15 20
    Lysine 0.7 0.65 0.95
    Methionine 0.35 0.29 0.35
    Crude Fat 2.5 2.7 3.5
    Crude Fiber 7 5 5
    Min Calcium 3.8 0.6 0.8
    Max Calcium 4.8 1.1 1.3
    Phosphorus 0.5 0.6 0.7
    Min Salt 0.25 0.2 0.35
    Max Salt 0.75 0.4 0.85

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