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#7627 - 07/01/06 09:50 AM Confused about best feed for pullets
Mini Tree Offline

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 95
Loc: Maine
After looking at my books and searching this forum, I am still confused about what I should be feeding my 8 week old pullets. They are Speckled Sussex and Cuckoo Marans being raised to be layers, though I will process a few of them before winter. I am not in a hurry to fatten them up or get eggs - I would like to see them stay lean and grow at a moderate pace.

Currently they are still eating medicated chick starter. The local feed store does not seem to stock pullet grower, but I would seek it out if it was better. Is pullet grower the same thing as chick starter, but with less protein? Gail Damerow's Guide to Raising Chickens book talks about giving pullets 50% oats at 8 weeks of age, but it is not clear from the context what the other 50% should be.

Should I keep on medicated chick starter? Phase in some oats until they're at 50% oats to 50% chick starter? Seek out commercial pullet grower? They haven't really started to go outside that much, so their consumption of grass and bugs is negligible.

Thanks in advance for your advice!

#7628 - 07/01/06 10:03 AM Re: Confused about best feed for pullets
CJR Offline
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8501
Loc: Montana
Not to worry, just keep them on medicated chick starter until they begin to lay, then a short time to mix with a good quality Layer Ration, then just Layer Ration.

For your birds that you will process, they should be off medicated Starter for a week or two before processing. They could have free range and mixed grains, if you do not want to change their feed. (Purina calls theirs Start AND GROW, no need to change to a grower or developer.)

Feeding does not need to be complicated--there are so many "theories". Commercial feeds are "to sell", and all the varieties they mix have good purposes, but with our small flocks, we do not need to use them all. Good luck, CJR

#7629 - 07/01/06 12:43 PM Re: Confused about best feed for pullets
Mini Tree Offline

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 95
Loc: Maine
Thanks CJR! I think you told me as much before. I just tend to over-think things. My one neighbor who is knowledgeable about chickens came to see my birds. She said that they look good, and are not too fat.

Now if only the 8 week olds woud go outside more...the Speckled Sussex are bolder about going out than the Marans, but for the most part they just want to hang around indoors.

#7630 - 07/07/06 08:58 AM Re: Confused about best feed for pullets
Sunni Ten Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 341
Loc: Colorado
Be aware that there are different grades of food out there. I buy a brand that is totally plant based and I feel is better quality that what the other feed store in town is selling. Learn to be a label reader.
While we're at it, learn to do that with your cat and dog food, too. Most of the big name brands out there are really crappy foods. The labels say it all.

#7631 - 07/07/06 11:57 PM Re: Confused about best feed for pullets
Rogo16 Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 439
Loc: Arizona
Seems that no two tend their poultry the same, so I'll add what I do.

I buy 50 pound bags of each grain I feed. Whole barley, whole wheat, whole oats. I don't grind the grains. I feed equal amounts
of each grain and mix it with food grade diatomaceous earth (DE).

The free ranging flock has access to Bermuda grass hay. The hay keeps the egg yolks orange during our long droughts. Some feed alfalfa hay.

All excess eggs are fed back to the birds raw. The eggs have more protein than anything out there. They also provide the animal protein/amino acids needed by omnivores.

The DE keeps the birds from getting any sickness/disease. It also provides 28 trace minerals. The egg shells are HARD. Oyster shell isn't needed here.

There's protein, vitamins and minerals in just about everything the birds eat, including the grass/weeds/insects on the acreage.

I have no idea how much protein my birds receive, but they look and produce great. Their bodies are well filled out.

All species are fed the same menu from hatch to old age. The feed is the same all year around and always available.

It works here.



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