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Can you raise broilers and layers together?

Views: 45752     Author: Phoenix     Publish Time: 2023-09-25      Origin: Phoenix Breeding Equipment

What you should know about broilers and layers

Poultry farming, and especially farming with chickens, can be broken into specific industries such as layers, broilers and broiler breeders. Each of these poultry industries will have birds that are selected for specific traits, and will require specific nutrition based on what the end goals are.


What are the differences between broilers, layers and breeders?

Broilers are chickens that are grown for meat purposes. These birds will grow quickly and will require a good amount of energy and protein to sustain this fast growth.


Broiler breeders are birds that are reared to produce broilers, and are themselves not reared to be eaten, but rather to lay fertilised eggs. Their level of nutrition should be of sufficient quality to sustain optimal fertility and good quality eggs.


chicken egg

Layers are birds that are reared to produce unfertilised eggs that will be sold to consumers to eat. Their level of nutrition should be of sufficient quality to produce good quality, heavy eggs.


Similar to broiler breeders are layer breeders. They are not bred for meat production, and their eggs are not produced to be eaten either. Layer breeders produce eggs that will be fertilised to produce laying stock.


Nutritional differences

Because broilers are bred for meat producing qualities, they grow very fast and will therefore need more feed compared to a layer hen which grows at a slower rate. However, layer hens will require a diet that is high in specific vitamins, minerals and trace elements.


It should be noted that the feed layers are fed will influence the colour of their egg yolks, and the feed that broilers are fed may influence the taste of their meat to a certain extent.


Is it a good idea keeping broiler chickens with regular egg laying chickens ?



The short answer to the question about raising broilers and layers together is a big fat no. The reason being broilers are chickens that are raised to be slaughtered and eaten, while layers are raised to produce eggs. The challenge with raising broilers and layers together is that their needs are different. A broiler’s purpose is to grow big fast.  Your aim is to get a meat bird to slaughter weight in 33 – 35 days. It doesn’t happen by chance though, they get that big because they eat a lot and are bred to grow rapidly. Broilers’ diet must be high in protein.


chicken drinker (2)

Therefore, if you free range your broilers so that a large portion of their food comes from forage feeding, you need to make sure they have plenty of protein. Depending on your area and the forage available, you’ll likely need to supplement with commercial feed. For the first 6 weeks, your broilers will need 20% protein and 9% calcium. From 6 weeks to butcher they need 10% protein and 8% calcium. The aim of layer diets is to optimize egg production (in terms of egg numbers, egg size or egg mass). A farmer will need to provide the nutrition required to safeguard health and maintain the desired body weight.



From Week 18, hens start to enter their laying period, reaching peak of lay around 32 weeks of age, and typically maintaining egg production until 65-68 weeks of age. Feed intake will increase to a steady level of 100-105 grams per day and hen body weight will reach a mature level of 1700-1800 grams. If you must keep your flock confined to a run or yard, you’ll be limiting their diet and will therefore definitely need to provide commercial feed.


The concern here is that your layers will not get enough to eat, as the broilers will eat most of it. If possible, it would be best to separate the layers from the broilers. If you must keep the two together, free ranging is probably the best way to raise both broilers and layers. You’ll probably find that your broilers will stay closer to home, lazily eating the food that is close. Your layers will roam a little further. This makes it easier to keep dual purpose chicken breeds that provide both eggs and meat. Allowing you to literally catch birds with one stone


The pros and cons of keeping layers with broilers:

As with nearly every aspect of chicken keeping there are advantages and disadvantages to most things.


chicken nest pads



Space: Broiler chickens grow much larger and more quickly than egg-laying chickens, so they may require more space. However, keeping both types of chickens together can save space in your coop and run.

Cost: Raising broiler chickens can be expensive, but if you keep them with egg-laying chickens, you can reduce your overall costs by sharing food, bedding, and housing.

Companionship: Chickens are social animals and enjoy the companionship of other birds. Keeping broiler chickens with egg-laying chickens can provide them with social stimulation and help reduce stress.



Different Needs: Broiler chickens and egg-laying chickens have different nutritional and housing needs. Broiler chickens require a high-protein diet and more space, while egg-laying chickens need plenty of calcium for egg production.

Different Life Spans: Broiler chickens have a shorter lifespan than egg-laying chickens, typically only living for 6-8 weeks.

Different Temperaments: Broiler chickens are typically less active and more docile than egg-laying chickens, which can lead to pecking and bullying if they are kept together.


Wrapping Up

chicken house

Given the circumstances of their differing needs and diets, it’s ideally not good to pair them together in a living space. If you have to, it’s best to separate them with a dividing object or scatter their foods in different corners for the right nutrition.


To ease your worry, set up separate areas for your farm animals, so you don’t have to worry about feeding the wrong chicken feed to the wrong chickens.


Feeding the wrong food or insufficient food can pose potential threats to their growth.

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