When to switch to layer pellets

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Janithya, Dec 25, 2016.

  1. Janithya

    Janithya New Egg

    Nov 26, 2016
    I have 4 Wyandotte pullets, 2 are 22 weeks old and 2 are 16 weeks old. None are laying yet. They have nearly finished their bag of medicated grower pellets that I have had since I got the older 2 at 12 weeks old. I have read that you should switch to layer pellets when they are about 18 weeks old (or point of lay?). However, I have kept feeding them the grower pellets due to the 2 younger ones still needing the grower pellets and the fact that the older 2 hadn't started laying yet.

    I'm looking for advice as to whether it would be better to buy them a bag of layer pellets now, or if the extra calcium would be bad for the 16 week old ones? In which case would it be better buy another bag of grower pellets (non medicated this time) and just start providing shell grit once the older ones actually start laying?
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2016
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    You don't ever NEED to feed layer feed. And if you like to give your birds treats regularly, or if you free range, layer feed may not be a good choice for your flock. It contains the bare minimum protein needed for production, and any extras need to be strictly limited to prevent protein deficiency issues. The calcium levels in layer feed can also be very harmful to birds that aren't actively laying.
    Medicated feed shouldn't be fed long-term, because it may cause thiamine deficiency.
    A better choice for you flock would be unmedicated grower, all flock, flock raiser, or even starter. You can offer crushed oyster shell separately, but they won't really consume much until they have been laying for a few weeks.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2016
  3. Janithya

    Janithya New Egg

    Nov 26, 2016
    Thanks for your reply junebuggena. Mine are in a coop and run in my backyard, so they aren't free range and don't get to eat many bugs for extra protein. I do give them weeds from the garden and lots of vegtable scraps though. I think I will get them more grower pellets as you suggest (definitely an un medicated one this time) to ensure that they get enough protein [​IMG]
  4. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    You might just save yourself a lot of hassle and just feed grower from now on. I thought it was mandatory to feed layer feed to laying hens back when I first got them. I don't remember why I switched from layer to grower in the first place, but I think it was because I had new chicks. Anyway, I found that my hens thought grower feed was much tastier, and they refused to eat the layer when I started feeding it again.

    Then I decided it was just too much trouble switching back and forth every time I got new chicks, and what's the point if the hens actually prefer the grower. So I've been feeding grower with oyster shell free choice and never went back.

    Layer feed is mainly for commercial laying flocks anyway. It's much more practical to feed grower to backyard mixed flocks.
    1 person likes this.

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