When should I switch my chicks to layer feed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Jenna14Chicken, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. Jenna14Chicken

    Jenna14Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OH.
    Hey,I was just wondering when I should switch my 6 week old chicks to layer feed? They are going out side here soon with my older flock that eat layer crumbles. So I was wondering if they can eat the layer feed when they get in the coop or do I have to separate the chicks until they are old enough to eat the layer feed???? We are taking the chicks out at 7 weeks but the bag of starter feed is still full so is it alright if I use the rest and switch over then so my big girls won't eat the chick food and so they can all eat the same food in the same coop? Thanks for any help sorry it is kinda confusing but I didn't no how to explain it.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    You explained it well. Growing chicks eating excess calcium can cause damage to internal organs and their skeleton. How much excess calcium is the question, but plenty of studies have shown that if the only thing they eat is Layer with its 4% calcium, you can easily have problems. They cut the chicks open in these studies so they can see the changes to their liver and kidneys, it’s not just that they count how many die. If they get a significant amount of their food from other sources the potential for damage is less. It’s not what is in one bite, it’s how much total calcium they eat in a day, and even that is over a period of several days.

    A standard way to feed a mixed age flock is to feed them all something that is low in calcium, like Grower or Flock Raiser, and offer oyster shell on the side. The ones that need it for the egg shells seem to realize it and normally eat all they need. The ones that don’t need it for shells seem to know to not eat enough to harm themselves.
     
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  3. Jenna14Chicken

    Jenna14Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OH.
    Oh ok thanks I'm glad I didn't buy the layer feed yet. So it is ok if I switch all the birds to Starter grower and offer oyster shells right? Well I heard there were different types of oyster shells so is this true if so which kind should I get?
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I use the crushed oyster shells for chickens I get at the feed store.
     
  5. Jenna14Chicken

    Jenna14Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok thanks :) I just bought my big girls a 50 pound bag of layer feed yesterday! Man I should have gotten on here first lol looks like my chicks are going to,have to wait a few more weeks. Man that's going to be horrible I can't have them in side any longer they are to big and stinky lol
     
  6. Jenna14Chicken

    Jenna14Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OH.
    Also I forgot to ask when should I switch over? I have 2 buff orphingtons which are late layers I think, a partridge rock which I have no idea, 2 Columbian rocks which I have no idea and a easter egger. ( these are my new chicks) so I don't no when they start laying so I really have no idea when to switch to layer feed. I no it will be awhile but I just was wondering
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    One method to determine when to switch would be when you see eggs. That way you know some are laying.

    I never feed Layer since I practically always have younger chicks in the flock. They do fine on Grower with oyster shell on the side.
     
  8. Jenna14Chicken

    Jenna14Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok thanks a lot I will only have new chicks every few years so I will switch to layer when they start laying thanks for everything!
     
  9. Jenna14Chicken

    Jenna14Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can my big chickens eat starter grower and layer at the same time? With the oyster shells ????
     
  10. Sutremaine

    Sutremaine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Layer and grower feed are pretty much the same thing, but the layer feed has a calcium source added.

    If you're already offering oyster shell or eggshells on the side, then you can keep on buying the grower feed and leave the layer feed alone. Your chickens won't be laying all the time, so they don't need that much calcium all the time. Layer feed is designed for commercial operations, where any one chicken is expected to lay almost daily.

    I don't know if those studies fed calcium for the whole life of the chicks, or how much other food your chicks will be eating.

    How many pounds of starter feed do you have left?
     

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