So, I am little confused about the ratio of layer feed to everything else for hens who have some free range time?
My 3 ladies get layer feed mixed w/ a little scratch (20:1) on demand, supplemented w/ a poultry conditioner (it was on sale at Tractor Supply, so I figured what the heck). Their coop is mobile, w/ a mesh bottom, so they get grass and bugs all the time, and they get to roam around for a least an hour a day. I haven't supplement w/ calcium, because the eggshells are fine and I didn't think I needed to w/ the ranging time they had. (let me know if you disagree!)
They get a diverse assortment of table scraps, lately that means squash "guts"/seeds, in the summer it meant tomatoes. Today it was a sweet potato and some kale at dinnertime, and squash at lunch.
The Ag. Extension folk imply that everything other than layer feed is "diluting the nutritional density of feeding plan, reducing the efficiency of your feeding plan" and just messing with the carefully calibrated ratios of the layer feed, thus limiting my egg production. That seems pretty contrary to approach most people take on BYC, and I am curious what people think. Am I missing something here?
When folks say to limit treats, what exactly do they mean? is that scratch? non-veggie table scraps? all table scraps? are treats everything not layer feed?
Egg production has dropped, but I figured that was b/c of the shorter days, not a feed issue - we were getting 5/6 a week from each of the Golden Comets this summer, lately we're looking at 3/4 a week.
Also - I am planning out my garden, and was thinking about growing marigolds to dry and supplementing their feed with them in the winter when I image their diet might lead to some wan-looking yolks. Thoughts?