When to switch feed

4x4Runner

Chirping
Jul 20, 2016
101
20
66
El Cajon, CA
I'm a first time chicken owner and I have five 18 week old chickens and the feed store had me buy a 50lb bag of medicated Start and Grow. They said once I see an egg, I will need to switch to layer feed. She also said 2 of my chickens will probably lay eggs first (leghorns) and the others won't lay till later (a barred Plymouth rock and 2 amerucanca.) I've been reading you can switch now to layer and it doesn't matter and than I see don't switch till you see eggs. Help! What do you do?

I also have oyster shell handy. Do I put that out in a separate bowl for when they start laying?

If they start laying while eating the medicated start and grow can you eat the eggs?

Last question, if only a few start laying first will they all be ok eating layer feed? Do you have to mix the feeds together till everyone is on the same page?
 

Den in Penn

Songster
8 Years
Dec 15, 2011
3,418
217
216
SE Pa.
Welcome to BYC.
When you switch is mostly a matter of preference at 18 weeks.. At that point they are mostly done growing and gearing up internally to lay. The few weeks of the extra calcium won't have time to do damage to them. After 18 weeks I normally I would finish out the grower and then switch to the layer. However you just bought medicated starter/grower. That may well last till after they all are laying. Depending on the medication used you could eat the eggs. Still I would rather not. If you haven't opened the bag I would suggest taking it back and exchanging it for layer or a straight unmedicated grower. Around my place the oyster shell goes in a separate dish so the non layers don't have to eat it.
 

4x4Runner

Chirping
Jul 20, 2016
101
20
66
El Cajon, CA
I already opened the bag. :( I know everyone's views are different but I feel like its really mixed. It is Purina medicated start and grow. Thanks for getting back to me! I read so much on this forum before and after we got the chickens. It has helped out SO much. I'm just struggling with what to feed. I read if you start too early the eggs will get stuck and they will die or they won't produce right and its kind of hard to figure out.
 

4x4Runner

Chirping
Jul 20, 2016
101
20
66
El Cajon, CA
Thank you guys. I'm totally stressing over the food. Ha ha! My husband told me to stop, they are chickens but I enjoy them and I cannot wait for eggs.

I started looking up the layer feed and notice they have crumbles and pellets, do people ever offer both to see what they like or do you just pick one?
 

Folly's place

Enabler
10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,487
39,322
1,106
southern Michigan
When I fed layer feed, I much preferred the pellets. There was less waste, a good thing. Since I've got a flock of all aged birds, and roosters, I feed Flock Raiser, with oyster shell on the side. Great for everyone! Unfortunately it only comes as crumble, but still my best choice. Mary
 

Den in Penn

Songster
8 Years
Dec 15, 2011
3,418
217
216
SE Pa.
Mash, pellets and crumbles are different forms of the feed. Just like bread can come in loaf, slices and crumbs. Pellets are generally less wasteful. Which form you use is just a matter of preference, what works in your feeders and availability. I have fed both just because of what was available, they didn't seem to notice. If they had turned their beaks up. I think I would have just told them to be thankful what they were getting and to remember there were chickens who had to scratch and peck for ever morsel they got.
 

SIERRAS MOM

In the Brooder
Sep 2, 2015
32
1
26
TEXAS GIRL IN A MISSOURI WORLD
I feed non med starter/grower till the first few eggs, then slowly mix with layer for a week or two to make the switch less stressful. I prefer layer pellets there's less mess and more concentrated so they seem to eat less. I use gravity flow handing feeders hanging to the top of their backs to keep their feet out of the feed as much as possible. Only need oyster shells if you have a problem with broken eggs, should not have a need with young pullets, can actually make egg shells too hard. Sometimes when feeding pellets they dont seem to be eating them but they are just more filling than the crumbles. my hens will empty a feeder full of crumbles just to play in it and scatter from door to roost.
barnie.gif
 

Ljc01

Songster
Jun 5, 2016
217
152
126
Nipomo, Ca
I hate to waste feed. I would mix it with layer pellets until it is gone. I stop feeding medicated crumble when I ran out at age 14 weeks. Just keep oyster shell on the side. Everything I have read says that you can still eat the eggs.
 

bk15

Chirping
Jul 22, 2016
126
7
56
Why do people feed medicated chick feed I feed just regular feed and haven't had problems so what's the difference??
 
Last edited:

MANNA-PRO

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