When to change from Chick Starter/Grower to Pullet Grower/Developer

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by kiaya611, Mar 28, 2007.

  1. kiaya611

    kiaya611 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chicks/pullets are now 5 and 4 weeks old (2 batches) 42 all together. I was reading the Storey's Raising Chickens book, but it is not clear to me at what age you are supposed to change from the Chick Start/Grower to Pullet Grower/Developer. I have been free feeding my birds and they have been growing very quickly.

    There were 2 things said that I don't quite get and was hoping someone could shed some light on it for me.

    "Restricting the feed intake of pullets past the age of 4 weeks slows growth and delays the onset of laying, causing them to do better as layers and/or breeders. But because they spend less time eating, they have more time to get bored and nervous, and may pull each other's feathers or otherwise engage in cannibalism.

    To prevent these problems, do not limit the total amount you feed. Instead, when layer pullets reach 8 weeks of age, gradually add oats until you achieve a balance of about 50/50, and continue free choice."


    First it refers to 4 weeks, but doesn't say to do anything because it could cause ill effects in behavior and second jumps to 8 weeks where you modify the feed with oats. They go on to say:

    "At about 18 weeks (20 weeks for heavier breeds), gradually reduce to oats and switch from grower or developer ration to 18% lay ration. Do not switch to lay ration to soon --- its high calcium content may interfere with bone formation, resulting in weak legs, kidney damage, and possible death."

    1. Since my birds are 5 and 4 weeks old, do I need to change their diet now and if so to what?

    2. When do I change to Pullet Grower/Developer and how long do I use that and do I feed a specific amount?

    3. When do I change to Lay Ration...and do I control the amount of feed they eat?

    I hope this makes sense.

    Thank you for your help.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2007
  2. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Steven,

    I am no expert, by far....but this is what I did. I kept mine on the starter untill they were 8 or 10 weeks old.....then I gradually started adding cracked corn in the mix. Eventually getting to 50/50 on the corn/starter...over about 4 weeks. At about 4 months, I started adding layer pellets...to the mix..and at 5 months, no starter...just corn and layer pellets...and always oyster shell. Im sure there are different ways...but this worked for me. I have 11 RIR hens, almost a year old now, and I get 10 eggs a day. GO LADIES GO! [​IMG]
     
  3. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

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    Mar 7, 2007
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    What Storey's is recommending is the following:

    1. 0 to 8 weeks - full-feed a starter ration

    2. 8 to 18 (20 for heavies) weeks - 50% grower/developer ration + 50% oats full (feed this ration)

    3. After 18 or 20 weeks - 50% layer ration + 50% oats (full-feed)

    Always full-feed the chicks, pullets and hens...by adding 50% oats you are acheiving the same thing as limit feeding because the oats have little nutritional value and act as gut fill.

    The limit-feeding of breeding stock in swine prolongs their lifespan and makes them more reproductively successful. According to Storey, the same thing must occur in poultry. Plus it will reduce your feed cost...oats will be alot cheaper than a grower or layer ration. Just make sure you mix the ration real good so it isn't easy for the hens to pick out the pellets and leave the oats.

    Andy
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2007
    2 people like this.
  4. Frizzledhen

    Frizzledhen Spear Gunnin' Coons

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    Great info Andy. Couple of questions. How long do I keep my pullets on the 50/50 layer and oats, and when do I start giving free choice calcium?
    Thanks,
    Gayle
    Chi lady in Michigan
     
  5. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

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    Quote:It sounds like Storey's is recommending keeping the hens on a 50/50 mix indefinitely. I'm not sure about the free choice calcium...maybe another member can answer that.

    Andy
     
  6. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

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    Found the info on calcium (oyster shell)...

    It says to not give any supplemental calcium until the pullets begin to lay. Before that it can cause toxicity problems. If the hens free-range, oyster shell may not be necessary unless you are having thin-shelled eggs. If the egg shells have small bumps on them, then there is too much calcium in the diet.
     
  7. Frizzledhen

    Frizzledhen Spear Gunnin' Coons

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    Michigan
    Thanks Andy. [​IMG]
    Gayle
     
  8. mudhen

    mudhen confidently clueless

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    This is great info, thanks for posting so clearly.
    I have a concern however that I cannot find a clear response to. I have a hen raising the chicks, they are now 5 weeks old. She has been eating her regular mix (and of course the chicks have their own, but have partaken of hers as well!).
    But I have withheld the oyster shell from her since February (she went broody in December/January) when I moved her into the house (cold weather-hatchery chicks-guest room turned into brooding room-sigh).
    When do I reintroduce oyster shell for her? Not until the chicks are ready for it in 12 more weeks?
    Will this become a problem for my hen?
    My girls don't free-range (I'll build a tractor this summer, but that will be as close as they may come).
    Another question: the oats, is this something I can ask for at Southern States? (Sorry, my newbiness is showing....)
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2007
  9. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

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    You can definitely get the oats at SS. My opinion on the oyster shell would be not to give it until the chicks are getting ready to lay. The negatives of calcium toxicity to the chicks outweigh the negatives of a few thin-shelled eggs. If you are feeding a layer ration from SS, the calcium level is pretty decent anyway, so the lack of oyster shell shouldn't be a big problem. Just my opinion...

    Andy
     
  10. nativeplanter

    nativeplanter New Egg

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    Quote:Is there really any evicence that swine physiology and chicken physiology are similar in this aspect? Is there any evidence or advice from a difference source about restricting feed? Maybe this is something that everyone knows but I don't, but to me, it seems a bit of a stretch to assume that chickens will respond the same way that swine do.
     

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