My Welsumers and RIR's are 31 weeks old and no eggs, yet. They are fed a 16% layer (all natural). My husband thinks a little cracked corn mixed in the feed will reduce the cost of feeding the hens. I think that they have to eat more layer to compensate for the reduced protein from the cracked corn....which is the reason for no eggs, yet. Our Barred Rocks have reduced production (they are over a year old). Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Welsumers -- no eggs
They were feed starter, then finisher. They have been on layer for about 4 weeks. The girls receive a small amount of table scraps such as left over pizza about 1 time per week. They are in an area approximately 60' x 60' with 6' high chain link fence so no predators can upset them. Fresh water is provided everyday and they are never without water or feed. The chicken house is approximately 16' x 10', well ventilated but free from drafts. It has 10 nesting boxes. Half of their area is in the shade, the other half in the sun so they have their choice where to be. I am totally confused why we are not getting eggs from them. I have had chickens for about 8 years and our young girls have always started laying about 6 to 7 months. I thought maybe the cracked corn that my husband was feeding them was lowering the nutritional value.
Layer feed should not be fed to birds that aren't actively laying. Pullets that mature during the fall, can take longer to start laying, due to the shorter amount of daylight. Cracked corn getting mixed into the feed will also lower the protein too much for them to be able to produce, plus it can make them develop too much fat around their tail/vent region so that when they do start laying, passing the eggs may be difficult. Layer feed is already a bit too low in protein, in my opinion. And feeding it to them when they aren't laying can really harm their kidneys.
Thanks for the information. What would you suggest for 30 week old pullets? We have them in with the Barred Rocks (which are laying). I have always had Golden Comets, which have started laying at 24 to 26 weeks. I just sold my last batch of GC's and they were 4 years old and still laying !!! I should have kept those until spring....