Will eating laying mash hurt 8 wk. old chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Ilovefarming, Sep 16, 2014.

  1. Ilovefarming

    Ilovefarming Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello everybody! :)

    My eight wk. old chicks somehow got into my older hens laying mash while I wasn't looking and ate it. Mama hen let them.......will it hurt them ? Or do you think they will be ok?
    Also , when will they be hold enough to eat laying mash?




    thanks!
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    A one time event is not likely to be an issue - however, the high calcium content can cause damage if a non-laying bird (due to being too young, molting, male or aged out of laying) if fed on a long-term basis. They will not have a use of the increased calcium until they begin to lay, and that is when they should be put on layer feed if you choose to use layer feed. In mixed flocks (age, gender, laying/not) it is often easier to use a grower feed for all the birds and just offer calcium in the form of oyster shell to be used by the birds who are actively laying.
     
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  3. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    A one-time occurrence of eating layer feed at this age shouldn't hurt them. However, don't let them eat any more of it. Layer feed contains too much calcium for young birds, which can cause growth problems. It also doesn't contain enough protein.

    They can safely eat layer feed when they are at least 16 weeks old, or start laying.
     
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  4. Ilovefarming

    Ilovefarming Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd also like to ask....if laying mash is bad for roos then how do you keep them from eating it when you have a community hanging feeder in the run? My hen love their laying mash......
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2014
  5. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    That goes back to not using a layer feed - instead opting for an "all flock", "flock raiser", grower ration, etc - the "layer" feed has a higher calcium content to provide the necessary calcium for producing egg shells - any bird not actively producing eggs does not need (in fact can be harmed by) the excess calcium in their diet as it is not flushed through the system but rather stored in ways that can cause health concerns as it builds up in the system. When you say mash, are you feeding it in a wetted form (only asking so we are on the same page as often times the same term can mean two totally different things to people)? If so, you can feed any feed in a wetted form - essentially, you can make a mash of any feed base. What they love about the mash is not related to the calcium content, so you can provide that same feed experience with a lower calcium feed (better for the rest of the flock) and meet their calcium needs elsewhere. For me, it's just such a simpler approach than having to consider who is/isn't currently laying, trying to keep chicks out of this feeder, etc -- feeding the whole flock one base diet and simple supplementation for those who need calcium is so easy.
     
  6. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    Since laying mash isn't good for roosters and non-laying birds, it is best if you feed a general flock raiser or other non-layer feed. I personally feed my roosters a quality gamebird grower feed, which has little calcium and has plenty of protein for them. If you don't feed layer feed, though, make sure you also offer your flock crushed oystershell or eggshell free choice. The birds that need the extra calcium will eat the oystershell/eggshell, while those that don't need the calcium should ignore it.
     

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