You got your pullet in my layer feed!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by swordgeek, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. swordgeek

    swordgeek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 23, 2010
    Westford, MA
    I've got four adult birds - 3 hens and 1 rooster - who are on layer pellets. And now I have five 8/10-week-old girls who are on pullet crumble. Each age group has its own feeder with the appropriate feed in it. For the most part, they eat what they're supposed to eat, and they share their treats as nicely as might be expected. (In other words, I keep a separate treat area for the little ones so they get something, too, but they still all get into each other's stuff. No biggie.)

    But every now and then, I see the pullets snacking on the layer feed and the adult hens snacking on the pullet feed. I shoo them away from the stuff they shouldn't be eating, but I'm not out there with them 24/7. Is this OK? Will this damage them in any way, or affect their laying and/pr development? I know it sounds like such a newbie question, but it's the first time I've had mixed ages. Please help!
     
  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I have several different ages of pullets in my flock. For that reason, I do not give layer feed any more; I feed grower/finisher (or all purpose, or FlockRaiser, if you're a Purina customer) to everybody. Then I offer crushed oyster shell, free choice. The layers will take it when they need it. The young ones may sample it, but won't be drawn to it much at all. I put it in an empty tuna can nailed to an inside wall of the coop, next to the feed.

    Under-age pullets should NOT eat layer feed. The calcium can mess with their growing bodies and they can't process all of it; it can lead to later health problems. The layers just extrude it in their nice, hard eggshells.

    Maybe someday if I never add another chick(en) to the flock and they're ALL layers, I might go back to layer feed. But maybe not. The supplemental calcium in the oyster shells works just fine.
     
  3. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    If they youngsters are regularly getting into the layer it can be a problem. Layer has too much calcium and not enough protien in it for the young birds and can cause them problems later in life. It's hard for me to tell from your post if they are getting enough of it to be a problem though.

    I run mixed ages a lot and what I do is put the whole flock on flockraiser 18-20% protien or gamebird 22% or more protien. I put oyster shells out free choice (the youngsters don't mess with it) so the layers can meet their calcium needs and call it good. The gamebird is a bit more then the layer feed, but it's worth it to me to not have to mess with keeping everybodies feed seperate.

    ETA: I type too slow, should have just waited a few more minutes and added a thumbs up to gryeyes post! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010
  4. swordgeek

    swordgeek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 23, 2010
    Westford, MA
    Thanks for the quick replies! Sounds like I'd better return the new bag of layer feed I just bought and swap it for grower. I already do offer extra calcium (oyster shells, crushed egg shells) for the older birds, so I think we'll be OK.
     

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