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Los Angeles Urban Chicken Enthusiasts Message Board › Can I feed my layers grower while integrating my young ones?

Can I feed my layers grower while integrating my young ones?

Cara
user 67618442
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 10
Hi everybody,

I have four 8 week old chicks that have been in a tractor, inside my older chickens' huge, fenced in run. I have been letting the chicks out for about an hour every day (supervised) to hang out with the big girls. After some gentle pecking during their first meeting, everyone has gotten along. The little ones seem to know where they stand in the flock so I'd like to start letting them out a little more often. The only problem is that the big chickens keep eating the medicated chick starter and my little ones have been eating their layer feed. Is it ok to start giving everyone grower and leaving out oyster shell to make up for less calcium? Their egg shells are already pretty thick...

Thanks!

Cara
Amanda G
user 12128708
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 149
Yes a lot of people don't ever feed layer to their hens! They don't like to force feed them calcium, they prefer to let them free choice feed it ... in the form of oyster shells, calcium carbonate, crushed egg shells etc etc . The big girls should not eat medicated starter and well I don't think the chicks need it if they are raised in a clean healthy environment ... ACV does wonders to build their immune system and prevent Cocci .... just my 2 cents
Kara
user 70324112
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 6
Yes! I actually feed a grower all that time to all of my birds. Just add a bowl of oyster shell for your layers. The birds will only eat it if they need it. You can later switch back to a layer or just stick with this.
Cara
user 67618442
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 11
Awesome. Thanks you guys! I'll be heading to the feed store this afternoon and I'll probably just keep them on that from now on. I didn't realize layer had that much calcium in it.

Thanks again,

Cara
JJ
user 80252532
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 8
I prefer to free feed according to age: wet medicated chick starter mash for less than 4 months, dry non-medicated layer krackettes after that. It is extra work introducing the younger chicks. It is less work when the birds are grown out and I have a busy schedule or need to leave them to someone else's care.

The older birds always seem to prefer the babies' food (especially wet). I've tried feeding the older birds wet layer mash (non-medicated) but they prefer still prefer the wet chick mash.

I went to krackettes because they are more uniform in appearance and have a bulky shape compared to the flaky mash. Also, the mash has bits of corn that they crave, so they throw the dry flakes out and just eat the corn. Occasionally it seems like the flaky mash gets inhaled into the throat and affects their breathing. I find less krackettes on the ground and the feeder is easier to clean.

I also had some questions about the calcium etc in the layer mash and the krackettes I buy. I suppose not all brands are formulated the same way, but you may find that some are recommended for laying hens, non-laying hens and roosters as well. Based on how much calcium my pullets/hens consume free choice, it looks like they need the supplement. The egg shells have been nicely shaped and substantial even in hens that over 4 years old; hatched chicks are doing well too.

My birds free-range and get most of their food that way. If I leave them in their coop for an extra 3 or 4 hours in the morning, they consume twice as much dry food. They pop-in and out of the coop during the day to nibble on the dry food too. Wet food, fermented feed, appropriate table scraps, yogurt, etc are weekly supplements that they get excited about and are also useful training tools in case I need to put them in the coop earlier than usual.
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