when to switch feed


Obsessed with Peafowl
12 Years
Dec 22, 2009
Northwest Ohio
i have 3 black cochin/RIR that hatched on christmas. they have been outside in the coop for about 3 weeks and they want so badly to live with the rest of the flock. they have a nice section in the coop, but feel they are beening left out. I was wondering if it is ok to put them with the rest of the hens? Only reason i ask is about the feed. i wasnt sure if the chicks could go to layer feed yet.
If I recall, ( which is getting more and more difficult with each passing day
) I switched my girls over at 5months when they were at point of lay. At least that's what the bag of Dumor told me to do! Hope that helps.
i thought about that, but i didnt want to switch feeds and take the chance of them not liking it or they egg laying slow down.

not to mention the chicks wont eat the pellets!

If i just let them go over to the BIG GIRL pen, will them eating the layer feed effect their growth?
It seems a little early to put the young ones in with the big girls. How many hens do you have? I don't combine flocks until the youngsters are close to full size because the adults will thump on them and it can get bad quick if there is a big size difference. Sometimes I'll cheat and do it earlier IF the young ones outnumber the adults by 25% or more.

As far as feed goes SundownWaterfowl has the right idea. If you're worried about pellets just get it in crumble form. I feed my mixed flock gamebird 22% and also put oyster shell out so the laying hens can meet their calcium needs.
I wouldn't let the chicks eat layer feed this young (they're about 8 weeks?). I've read that the amount of calcium in layer feed is not good for the health of chicks, and plus chick feed is probably higher protein. PLUS, although the chicks may want to run with the big dogs, the big dogs may not want the chicks running with them, and there's a good chance they will be pecked on and picked on right now. I'd keep them in their own little section for another month at least...
I wouldn't let them get with the others yet and here's why....they really do need the chick starter/grower until they're appx 20 weeks old, because they are growing and need that extra protein, then that's when you should switch to the layer mix--plus they would be mature enough and large enough to mix in with the adult flock. If you put them in too early, when they're smaller, they can get beat up pretty bad.

I'm sure others have gotten along just fine by mixing them up, but I really like the youngerster to get a good start, and so I keep mine separated....sort of in the chick nursery....then to a toddler room.....then with the grownups.

Good luck with your chickens!
Granted, I have a pretty easy going flock, but I've put a 5 week old silkie, bantam frizzle and a serama with my flock. Of course they were with their mom, but she began leaving them to themselves a week or two later. I just make sure that they have places to escape and hide if they need to.

Just picture my 1.5 year old 8 - 10 lbs. Head Hen Australorp hanging out with the 12 week old not yet 1 lb. serama pullet.

The silkies and I have been in a hatch frenzy for the past year, so I usually have chickens of various ages in the coop. Once the chicks leave the house, they go on Purina Flockraiser with everyone else. I keep a bowl of oyster shells for extra calcium. Plus they get oatmeal, cottage cheese and other goodies throughout the week. I have 10 chickens who are of egg-laying age and average 6 - 8 eggs a day. The shells are very strong, especially the silkies, you really have to give them a good whack on the side of the bowl.
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The best way I have found to allow introductions of the younger ones is to BE CAREFUL.

If they are in a small cage, or section separate from the main flock create an opening small enough for them to run in and out of. BUT NOT BIG ENOUGH FOR THE ADULT TO ACCESS.

Leave their medicated crumble and water in their small area. They probably wont be allowed near the adult feed stations anyway, and layer pellets are not great for them at that age (it won't kill them, its just not great). But if they have their safe "home base" food, they will mainly eat there.

I have had tragedy occur even with fully feathered pullets joining the coop. If they are young (smaller than the others)give them an escape route. If they are older introduce them at night and cover everyone with talc to mask the difference of smell and in the morning they are all busy and do not notice the new guy as much......

Good luck...

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