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When should I start to give my chicks Layer feed? - Page 3

post #21 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by junebuggena View Post
 

In addition to what has already been said, I want to throw this out there. You don't need to feed them layer at all. There is no magic ingredient in it that 'makes' them lay. If you like to give your birds treats or free range, layer feed might actually have a detrimental effect on laying. It's got barely enough protein in it for egg production, if fed as the sole source of nutrition. If you offer treats or scratch, that will reduce the overall amount of protein the birds are taking in, and can cause egg eating.

 

kind of true...if you can supplement something else as the main feed with enough calcium and protein.

 

i checked most of the feed bags around here

 

*there's no grower feed here.. just starter and layer

 

so between starter and layer feeds

 

the difference is the % of protein, % of calcium and ash

 

other than that.. the rest is pretty similar

 

layer feed will have a lower protein % , increase % of calcium and having ash (which was not in the starter feed)

 

 

What i posted above are just my opinions.. they are NOT facts.
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What i posted above are just my opinions.. they are NOT facts.
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post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceAZ View Post

I know. 

just curious between the % of protein

most layer feed out there have 16% but for some reason wal-mart has 15%..

some users told me that 15% might not be enough..  but does 1% really make a difference?

All modern studies of poultry nutritional requirements focus on confinement systems as the basis of egg production. Protein is an expensive ingredient in formulating feeds. It's a game of give and take, higher concentrations of protein will yield higher rates of lay, lower percentages result in lower rates of lay.

Backyard chickens have such a varied nutrient stream in their diet that the difference of 1% is not going to have as much impact as that same variance of protein would have for a flock of birds maintained in a confinement system. If the feed is off by a percent or 2, no big deal for backyard chickens, as it will most likely be made up from a different source.

Confinement birds are rigidly maintained to produce the most eggs for lowest amount of feed; 1% loss in protein would have a much more significant impact on the rate of lay.

"Experince is the teacher of all things." Julius Ceaser

"The only real valuable thing is intuition." Albert Einstein

"Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest" Mark Twain

 

My Coop Project

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/656727/coop-project-maken-the-plunge-getting-chickens

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"Experince is the teacher of all things." Julius Ceaser

"The only real valuable thing is intuition." Albert Einstein

"Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest" Mark Twain

 

My Coop Project

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/656727/coop-project-maken-the-plunge-getting-chickens

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post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceAZ View Post
 

I know. 

 

just curious between the % of protein

 

most layer feed out there have 16% but for some reason wal-mart has 15%..

 

some users told me that 15% might not be enough..  but does 1% really make a difference?

Small percentages do make a difference. However, protein is sometimes a comparison of apples to oranges. Amino acids make up protein. Protein % on a feed bag is crude protein, not a comparison of amino acids.

Chickens have at least 11 amino acids that are essential in the diet. Most vegetable based feeds need synthetic lysine and methionine added to make up what's missing in the raw ingredients. A food stuff may be high in protein but still deficient in essential amino acids.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by junebuggena View Post
 

In addition to what has already been said, I want to throw this out there. You don't need to feed them layer at all. There is no magic ingredient in it that 'makes' them lay. If you like to give your birds treats or free range, layer feed might actually have a detrimental effect on laying. It's got barely enough protein in it for egg production, if fed as the sole source of nutrition. If you offer treats or scratch, that will reduce the overall amount of protein the birds are taking in, and can cause egg eating.

X2

 

The only caveat is that many BYC types offer fruits, vegetables and scratch as treats which will cut the protein dramatically. They also need to offer meat and fish scraps to supplement animal protein the chickens sorely need.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock Home Isle View Post


All modern studies of poultry nutritional requirements focus on confinement systems as the basis of egg production. Protein is an expensive ingredient in formulating feeds. It's a game of give and take, higher concentrations of protein will yield higher rates of lay, lower percentages result in lower rates of lay.

Backyard chickens have such a varied nutrient stream in their diet that the difference of 1% is not going to have as much impact as that same variance of protein would have for a flock of birds maintained in a confinement system. If the feed is off by a percent or 2, no big deal for backyard chickens, as it will most likely be made up from a different source.

Confinement birds are rigidly maintained to produce the most eggs for lowest amount of feed; 1% loss in protein would have a much more significant impact on the rate of lay.

Very well stated.

 

Layer feed was developed for those commercial layers and now bagged and sold on the retail market for birds laying eggs. It was decided that about 4% calcium is appropriate for productive birds building egg shells.

Commercial layers usually kick out 5-7 eggs a week for up to 18 months and then butchered.

Backyard chickens aren't always the same age, nor are they on a lighting program. So their egg production will vary from bird to bird. 4% calcium may be too much for a poor layer. It's definitely too much for a bird not laying at all.

Best approach is to provide a calcium source in a separate container.

By all means, feed layer if all your birds are the same age and all productive. If not or if you have roosters, you don't want to feed layer feed.


Edited by ChickenCanoe - 5/26/16 at 8:26pm

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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post #24 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickenCanoe View Post
 

Small percentages do make a difference. However, protein is sometimes a comparison of apples to oranges. Amino acids make up protein. Protein % on a feed bag is crude protein, not a comparison of amino acids.

Chickens have at least 11 amino acids that are essential in the diet. Most vegetable based feeds need synthetic lysine and methionine added to make up what's missing in the raw ingredients. A food stuff may be high in protein but still deficient in essential amino acids.

 

so pretty much even if you are letting your chicken free range and giving them chicken scraps.. you will still need to buy feed in a way

 

i don't know if it was the type of breed or they were not eating enough but the chickens my cousin raised back then only produce golf ball size eggs..

 

they didn't buy feed for them just chicken scraps mostly.

What i posted above are just my opinions.. they are NOT facts.
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What i posted above are just my opinions.. they are NOT facts.
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post #25 of 37

Poorly fed chickens will never reach their production potential.

post #26 of 37

Some breeds lay very small eggs so egg size may have been a breed specific thing.

Without a complete feed, even free range birds won't be able to get the nutrients they need for optimal productivity.

 

They don't venture far from home and even with pristine pasture, they'll rapidly deplete available animal protein, seeds and vegetation.

 

By chicken scraps, I'm assuming you mean table scraps fed to chickens.

 

The beauty of chickens is that they can make use of foodstuffs we would waste - within reason. However, they still need a complete feed for all the vitamins, minerals, amino acids energy and fats they need.

If you expect them to meet all their needs with kitchen scraps and foraging a small area, you may be disappointed in their production.


Edited by ChickenCanoe - 5/26/16 at 8:41pm

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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post #27 of 37

the chickens were provided sufficient space compare to those battery cages in factory farm..

 

but he didn't build any coop/run.. just put them in an enclosure using chicken wires and some sheets of fabric on top to block the sun and rain..

 

to him.. raising chickens is pretty easy..

 

i didn't know how much work it was until i started to build the coop/run

 

now that they are 10-12 weeks old and the coop/run is finished. it's easier but still i need to spend about 30-50 minutes for cleaning and refill the feeder each day+ checking on them. etc..

 

it's not easy that is for sure ..unless you just neglecting them and giving them chicken scraps once per day.. then collect eggs and refill the water.. that's about it.. :/


Edited by BruceAZ - 5/27/16 at 9:55am
What i posted above are just my opinions.. they are NOT facts.
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What i posted above are just my opinions.. they are NOT facts.
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post #28 of 37

Stocking density per building makes a big difference in how much work cleaning is. I have 8 different housing units. That's a lot more work than a single flock but, depending on how many birds are in each, I only have to completely clean them out every 4-6 months. Bulk feeders in each building last a week or more. Automatic water is in most buildings. I'm working on finishing the water system that should work year round and automating opening and closing of doors. It is a lot of work. I also ferment feed most of the year and that adds a lot of time dishing it out for each flock and cleaning those feeders.

 

2 to 3 acres of prime forage - an orchard for instance - will be good free range for 100-150 chickens. That doesn't account for when nothing is growing or bugs available. Which around here is from early November to late March.

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

Reply

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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post #29 of 37

Glad this question was asked as I am new to all this too. But I still have mine on 20% , should I drop them down to 16 to 18% feed the next bag? Mine are 4 weeks old . I lost my first batch to raccoons , not cool I cried for days .out of 9 only 2 made it and they were to big to put with this batch so I gave them away. The raccoon's are gone for good , so now last night we put the second batch out there and worked our butts off making a better coop . The darn raccoons chewed through the wood , I'm guessing she wanted to feed her babies bad . We not in my coop do you eat my babies . Now it's like a fort that nothing can get into . So is it okay to keep them on 20% until they start laying ? Also I read if I'm reading right I should drop them down to 18% until they start laying and can give them laying mash or keep them on 18% and give them oyster shells , ALSO should I keep them on GRIT at all times???

post #30 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by QuiltChicky View Post
 

Glad this question was asked as I am new to all this too. But I still have mine on 20% , should I drop them down to 16 to 18% feed the next bag? Mine are 4 weeks old . I lost my first batch to raccoons , not cool I cried for days .out of 9 only 2 made it and they were to big to put with this batch so I gave them away. The raccoon's are gone for good , so now last night we put the second batch out there and worked our butts off making a better coop . The darn raccoons chewed through the wood , I'm guessing she wanted to feed her babies bad . We not in my coop do you eat my babies . Now it's like a fort that nothing can get into . So is it okay to keep them on 20% until they start laying ? Also I read if I'm reading right I should drop them down to 18% until they start laying and can give them laying mash or keep them on 18% and give them oyster shells , ALSO should I keep them on GRIT at all times???

20% is best for supporting the rapid growth and feather development of chicks. Even after they are fully feathered, they will go through several mini molts by the time they are 6 months old. 18% won't do any harm, but if you start them on a 16% feed, you may slow or delay their development.

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