When should I start to give my chicks Layer feed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Just a kid, May 22, 2016.

  1. Just a kid

    Just a kid Out Of The Brooder

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    So I have seven 3 month old chicks and i am just wondering if its okay to start giving them layer feed. Will it mess them up at all? Since its for layer hens does it have something i shouldn't give my chicks? anything helps thank you!
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Layer feed is calcium enriched to support the hen in the production of eggs -- for birds not in production (ie too young) the excess calcium can have serious health effects. It is best not to feed until at least 18 weeks of age or, better still, until all the birds are actively producing eggs. If you opt to go with the former you can simply offer oyster shell in a separate dish for those birds that *are* laying and continue to feed grower/starter rations to the whole flock - switching to layer once the last bird begins to lay....or even continue with that feed plan even after all birds are laying.
     
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  3. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

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  4. BruceAZ

    BruceAZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Valley of the Sun :)
    i would say around 16-18 weeks....either that or when you see your first eggs

    since the calcium can be harmful to a chick's kidneys
     
  5. limited25

    limited25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You will know when your hens are close to laying when their combs go from being a pale color to a more redder color. Ol Grey Mare gave you some excellent advise.
     
  6. Just a kid

    Just a kid Out Of The Brooder

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    thank you so much for the help Ol Grey Mare. This is my first set of chicks so i don't know much,but i'm sure glad i posted this thread before i did something stupid. Thank your for all the help!
     
  7. Rock Home Isle

    Rock Home Isle Chillin' With My Peeps


    Here is the traditionally suggested feeding of chickens.

    Starter Feeds
    Newly hatched chicks ages 0-10 weeks should be fed a chick starter diet with a protein level between 18%-20%. These rations are formulated to provide proper nutrition for growing baby chickens. Higher protein starter rations (22%-24%) are reserved for meat birds such as turkey, quail and pheasant. This higher protein level maximizes growth for broilers and roasters, but is not necessary or desirable for egg laying chickens.

    Grower Feeds
    At 10 weeks of age, a grower feed should replace the starter feed. Grower feeds are typically 15%-16% protein, and are designed to sustain growth to maturity. The higher protein content (20%), in starter/grower feeds is recommended for growing game birds. (and Turkeys)

    Layer Feeds
    Layer feeds are designed to provide optimum nutrition for birds laying eggs for consumption. Layer feeds contain 16% protein and have increased levels of Calcium, for proper shell development. Layer feeds should be fed starting around 18 weeks of age, or when the first egg is laid, whichever comes first.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2016
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  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Good information given so far.
    I caution to avoid following the recommendations on some bags that say to start layer feed at 18 weeks.
    Backyard chickens aren't normally on a lighting program and of various breeds that may take much longer to mature. If approaching laying age after the summer solstice when days are getting shorter, it may take them a long time to start laying. If they don't start till 30 weeks or much longer, that would be a long time for a 4% calcium diet without producing egg shells.
     
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  9. BruceAZ

    BruceAZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Valley of the Sun :)
    i checked the back of the starter feed (manna pro).. they stated 0-8 weeks.

    i guess it will vary by company of sort..

    just starter and layer feed here in this area.. so i'm feeding my chickens starter feeds + chicken scraps until they are ready to lay..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Rock Home Isle

    Rock Home Isle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Do you really want to feed medicated chick starter?
     

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