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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!
I have 4-5 month old Silkies that are currently eating, chick starter! I want to transfer them to grower-finisher or layer food, which do you recommend I do? They will only start laying in another 3 months, so would the higher level of calcium in the layer food harm my non laying birds?

Thanks!
 

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I would leave put them on grower for now , since they mature late. Personally I use Dumor or Purina which ever is on sale or I have a coupon for. I feed it dry unless I need it to last then I ferment it for just those couple weeks. I know some people on here are very adamant about fermented feed but personally I cant stand the stuff. I also give all kitchen scraps and treats (thawed frozen peas, uncooked ears of corn, ect).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
lol, I don't really get what fermenting means..?? I looked and the link, so you just soak the food? Yup, I am confused about giving grower or layer!!! So confusing!
 

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Fermenting means just that...fermenting. It means that the nutrients in the grains are changed into something that a chicken can actually use, as a monogastric animal, instead of just passing through their intestines undigested.

Most animals that have a grain or grass based diet have their own fermentation going on in their intestines except pigs and chickens. Horses have a specialized bowel~but not specialized stomachs~ that ferments their feeds and rabbits do also, the rabbits eat some of their fecal pellets again and this also helps convert nutrients.

By fermenting the grain based feeds we feed the chickens they are getting more of the proteins present in the feed because the metabolic processes of the organisms that aid in fermentation change the proteins found there into something the chickens can actually absorb into their blood stream. These organisms also help with B12 production in the intestines, create a hostile environment for parasites and harmful bacteria and yeasts and can actually increase the size/length of intestinal villi, thereby increasing total nutrient absorption abilities of the animal.

Non fermented feeds? A lot of the proteins you are currently feeding are not going into the bird, but through the birds..there to fall onto coop floors, stinking of rot, attracting flies, creating more ammonia in the environment of the coop as they decompose. So..if your bag says 18% it's a good bet that this is not what your birds are currently receiving into their cells as nutrients and a good percentage of that protein is lying on your coop floor going to waste.
 

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...AND (from reading the label on the bottle of RAW ACV w/Mother (the actual organism that excretes the vinegar and other stuff from what it eats) the Mother itself is a "long-chain protein" and so increases the protein level just from being there. ...AND add it to their drinking water, like a Tbsp per gal, is a tonic and keeps algae from growing in the waterer.
 

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Silkies don't lay that much (?just what I read) so probably don't need layer feed, but I don't really know.
 

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lol, but what about growing or laying food? What should I buy for my silkies?????
I feed layer for all birds and the youngsters only get some starter at the beginning until the bag is gone...if I don't have many chicks, that starter is mixed with layer ration and fed to everyone merely to use it up.
 

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How many times do you feed your birds? I am feeding mine twice a day, but I would like to feed them just once. They act like they are starving when I go in the coop!

Also my dogs love the fermented feed. Is it okay to feed them that? Or should I ferment dog food?

Any advice or suggestions appreciated!!
 

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I only feed once...if it were to cooped birds, it would be in the morning and enough to last them for all day only and it should be all cleaned up by roosting time.

I free range, so I encourage foraging for most of the nutrients. I feed in the evening so that their hunger in the morning will drive them to forage..not just peck around in the yard near the coop, but to actually go afield and hunt for food in the meadow and forest edges. Then I feed them some feed in the evening so that they go to bed full and their foraged diet is topped off with some regular feeds.

Other folks on BYC are fermenting their dog's food and have described amazing benefit from it, from no more hot spots to no more food allergies, to shiny coats and increased activity levels, better stool quality, etc. Basically, what it does for chickens, it's doing for their dogs.

My dog loves it but I don't ferment his feed....just let him sponge off the chickens now and again.
 

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Thanks Bee. They are cooped birds right now. We are moving next week to a farm with 30 acres. We will have a nice little patch of trees right next to the coop. It is probably one acre and then there is open land. I hope that makes since.
So my big birds will be forage there all day and be cooped at nigh. i do have to find s big protective rooster for extra protection. i also have some littles, Silkies, bantams, Seramas, who would just be a free meal predators. So they will be in the barn and my husband is planning on building a covered run for them. So it will be trial and error, but we will find a system that works for us.
Thanks for the advice Bee. Your a wealth of knowledge!
 

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lol, but what about growing or laying food? What should I buy for my silkies?????
Grower gives the protein they need to grow while layer adds calcium and such needed for eggs. Since you silkies are not laying grower would be just fine. If you have other birds that need layer then the silkie will be fine having layer as well.
Although silkies are not huge layers they do lay about 4 eggs a week once mature and will benefit from layer feed.
 

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How many times do you feed your birds? I am feeding mine twice a day, but I would like to feed them just once. They act like they are starving when I go in the coop!

Also my dogs love the fermented feed. Is it okay to feed them that? Or should I ferment dog food?

Any advice or suggestions appreciated!!
If your flock is penned and your only feeding once a day , yes they are starving. Being penned they need free access to food since they cant forage and get the nutrients they need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hello!

So I went to the feed store yesterday and I bought a bag of layer food. I still have about 20 pounds of chick starter left, so I figured I would mix the two together, until they are actually laying eggs. Sounds like a good plan? The grower food has 1% calcium, while the layer has 3.5%. I just hope the elevated levels of calcium don't harm my birds..

I also bought some wild bird seed mix, I thought I could give it to them as a treat. The food had small sunflower seeds, cracked corn and millet. Could I feed it to them? I heard that silkies can eat seeds with their shells on. True?

Thanks!
 

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Hello!

So I went to the feed store yesterday and I bought a bag of layer food. I still have about 20 pounds of chick starter left, so I figured I would mix the two together, until they are actually laying eggs. Sounds like a good plan? The grower food has 1% calcium, while the layer has 3.5%. I just hope the elevated levels of calcium don't harm my birds..

I also bought some wild bird seed mix, I thought I could give it to them as a treat. The food had small sunflower seeds, cracked corn and millet. Could I feed it to them? I heard that silkies can eat seeds with their shells on. True?

Thanks!
Silkies are no different than any other breed chicken in regards to what they can or can not eat. There differences lie with their skin color and lack of barbed feathers. They are a bantam breed that matures late like many other ornamental breeds. There is no need to treat them any differently then you would other chickens. So with that in mind yes Silkies can eat wild bird seed as a treat. Sunflower seeds will not harm them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So, if I would mix the layer and starter feed together, until they are actually laying eggs. Sounds like a good plan? tHe layer feed won't have detrimental affects on my birds?

Thanks
 

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That's a much argued subject. It's been my experience that it does not...but books and sites advise against it. It's something every person has to decide for themselves. I've never met anyone who could personally attest to the layer rations causing renal problems in their birds when fed at a young age, so YMMV.

My mileage on the subject shows that it does nothing to harm the birds at all. Just as young children need plenty of calcium at a young age for growing bones, young birds need it also.
 
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