When should I start my 16 wk brown shavers on layers feed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Annafleur, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. Annafleur

    Annafleur New Egg

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    Mar 10, 2013
    I am very new to chickens and have had my trio since they were 10 wks old. They currently get wet chick mash which they can help themselves to all day, but generally are out free ranging and prefer the things they dig up in the garden. Sometimes very little of their feed is eaten. They like some of my kitchen scraps, but can be fussy. Their combs and still quite small and pink and in the last week or so have been making the familiar hen noise rather than cheeping. Should i change them over to a layers feed or just carry on with their chick feed? Any advice gratefully received!
     
  2. JoeyOsborne

    JoeyOsborne Out Of The Brooder

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    i usally start mine on layers pellets at 18 weeks but many people vary when they start to feed them layers feed if at all! it doesn't really matter its just what someone may prefer![​IMG]
     
  3. Blue Farm

    Blue Farm Out Of The Brooder

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    i say week 18 to 20 will be ok.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    You have a few options. The difference in Layer and what you are feeding them is basically extra calcium which they need for egg shells. There may be a difference in protein too but that’s not an essential difference, especially since they free range and forage for so much of their food.

    You can wait until they start to lay to offer Layer. That would be near the top of my list. Until they start to lay, they don’t need the extra calcium.

    You could switch them at 18 to 20 weeks. Their bodies should be OK handling that. A lot of people do that.

    My recommendation would be to not worry about switching to Layer, mainly because they forage for so much of their feed. My suggestion is to get a bag of oyster shell and offer that free choice. They seem instinctively to know if they need the extra calcium or not. If it is offered free choice, if they need it they should eat enough of it. If they don’t need it, they shouldn’t eat enough to harm themselves.

    Normally Layer gives them all the calcium they need for their shells, but since yours are really good at reducing your feed costs by foraging, they might not get enough calcium just by you switching to Layer feed. They may not eat enough Layer.

    The other side of this is that they may pick up a bunch of calcium from foraging. Hard shelled bugs and some plants have calcium in them. If your basic rock is limestone, they will get calcium from the rocks they use as grit. Even if you don’t feed Layer they may be getting enough calcium. But offering oyster shell free choice would be my recommendation, whether you switch to Layer or not.
     
  5. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 16, 2012
    Most things say around 16 weeks...But a whole lot of chickens don't lay til 20 weeks or later. So I'm not sure if 4 weeks of extra calcium is good for them, or bad. I use flock raiser with oyster shell on the side, because I had a mixed age flock in the coop and the adult chickens were eating all the chick starter...ALL of it. So, I switched to the flock raiser and it along with sudden comb growth let me know that 4 pullets were about to start laying...they went months totally uninterested in the oyster shell, and then one day they started eating it...a few days later---eggs. I also have a huge rooster that is an eating machine, and I have seen him more than a few times dipping into the oyster shells when I first refill the thing. All the chickens have to come see what I have, and they will all try it, but only a few of the layers will actually eat any of it, except the big old rooster who just chows down...once it isn't new I don't see him back at it. Blah Blah Blah. I figure I will keep on with the flockraiser and oyster shell. Because we have ducks and chickens now, and we're getting turkeys in May, so it just seems the easiest thing to use so I don't have to buy and store all different types of foods. Right now I have flock raiser, Chick Starter, and meat bird maker...I don't like looking like the weirdo with the flat cart piled high with feed bags at the farm store...people give me all kinds of strange looks. I guess I don't look like your traditional farmer or something. Either way...I like the flock raiser...

    Sweet heyzoos I'm apparently feeling very chatty today.
     

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