I have 4 SLW (3 hens, and a rooster). They are about 4-5 months old now, and I just ran out of the chick start that they have been eating sense I brought them home at 5 weeks. I was told that I wouldn't want to eat the eggs they lay, if they were still eating the chick food. So my question is, is it ok to go ahead to switch them to regular feed now? If so what kind? My flock is not laying yet, but with only 4, the feed last me a while, sense they also get to free range as they wish; so whichever bag of feed I buy next (chickstart, or regular) will more then likely last until they do start to lay. Thanks for any and all advice! Also, my rooster still hasn't started to crow. Not that I'm complaining, but when should I expect this to start (he was supposed to be a pullet, and by the time I realized he wasn't, I didn't have the heart to get rid of him).
Everyone does something different feeding their chickens. It's ok to feed left-over grower feed to hens and I made sure they had free-will oyster shell which is missing in grower feed. Medicated feed is when you don't want to eat their eggs. I only have 4 free-range hens too and don't really need a 20# or 40# bag of organic layer feed so I buy smaller 5# quantities that my feed store is willing to bag for me and I keep most of it refrigerated to keep vermin from hatching in the feed. Free-range chickens eat less feed because of all the grass and bugs they find. Anytime past 6 or 7 months is ok to start layer feed. The chickens will ignore the oyster shell in it if they are not ready to lay yet. I always have a small container of free-will oyster shell attached to the run since some hens eat a lot of oyster shell while some don't. They will eat whatever nutrition their body needs. 5# of organic layer Scratch and Peck feed lasts anywhere from 1 to 2 months depending on the chickens' appetites and I keep 2 lbs in a glass jar with the rest refrigerated until it's time to refill the jar. I also have a 3-grain mix of oat groats, wheat kernels, and rye grain, that I offer in a small free-will container. Chickens don't eat a lot of any one food and mine like to eat lightly but enjoy a variety of little containers of different foods. Then I have a chicken treadle feeder that has wild bird seed mix that only the chickens can access but not the little hungry wild birds. We all do whatever works for our situation. I hope your roo stays sweet. Sometimes in Spring during mating season they can get a bit offensive.
I'm not particularly fond of SLW temperaments as they tend to dominate in a mixed breed flock but the fact that your flock are all SLW's makes it nice as they are on equal terms with each other and they are beautiful birds! Marans are another heavy breed that didn't work in our gentle breeds flock but do well in their own breed flock of peers.