Why is layer feed bad for young chickens?


11 Years
Apr 24, 2008
Detroit Michigan
I've heard that layer feed is bad for chickens below 17 weeks old. I believe that it is, but I was just wondering why exactly?

Does it have to much calcium or something? Thanks!
Young and non laying chickens only need 1% calcium..Most layer feeds contains 3.5 to 4.9% calcium. Anything in excess of 1% is excreted by the kidney and becomes a stress that can cause Visceral Gout in which urates are deposited on the heart ,liver and kidneys..Stones form in the ureters and block the flow of urine from the kidneys..the pressure destroys the kidneys, uremic poisoning develops and urates are returned to the blood, then deposited on the organs....
The starter/grower feeds contain the appropriated Amino Acid ratios for growth and development of the chickens while the Layer feed have the appropriate Amino Acid levels for maintenance and egg production. Also, the calcium and phosphorus requirements are higher for laying hens than for growing chicks.

Awesome answer, Pine Grove!
I've got a question about this. I'm new to chickens. Just started this spring with two baby chicks and hubby brought home a half grown rooster last month. One of my hens is laying. The other has laid a couple of eggs, but no more. If she is laying, she's done it under the shed. I know I should feed the hens layer feed, but what about the rooster? Will it hurt him? And if it will, how do I keep him out of it? My chickens all free range in my backyard.
Instead of feeding layer, you can provide supplemental calcium. Your hen will consume what she needs and the rooster will leave it alone.
This just answered a question about my roos. They prefer corn to the layer feed. Now I know why.
Can I buy that at the feed store? And what kind of feed should I be feeding them? Right now they're still on starter/grower.

Oyster shell (usually available at feedstores) and/or crush leftover eggshells will work. If you use eggshells a lot of folk will bake them in the oven first, to dry them out, and then crush them up. Offer it free access, maybe in a cup or some type of holder attached to the wall of your coop or fence post.

For feed, a maintenance feed will work. You don't really need grower/finisher because that's for broilers.

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