Originally Posted by Tommy12241
They are all pure bred rhode island reds except four of them. Three are production reds and one is a white auracana. (ill never figure out how to spell that :D) Theyre all just over a year old (in age not laying time) and they are fed layer crumbles. I used to mix corn in with it until about a week ago when someone told me it messes their diet up. So for about three days now theyve been on strait layer crumbles. Ive gotten three eggs today already! :D I also added apple cider vinager into their water yesterday because I heard its good for laying and helps kill worms.
Your friend is right. Do not feed corn during laying season. It makes fat . Fat lays under the skin and makes it more inflexible. Skin has to stretch when the hens reproductive organs swell when laying season begins. If the skin can't stretch like it should, then the hen lays fewer eggs.
Instead, feed them sprouted oats which are at least 4 days old, but no older than 7 days. Older than 7 days doesn't bring any nutritional benefit, however, it does increase the chances the sprouts may start to mold. Good sprouted oats smell fresh and green. Moldy sprouted oats smell rank and/or are slimy.. don't fed moldy,rank sprouted oats to your birds, they can make them sick.
Use forage oats, not seed oats, for sprouting.
Seed oats may be treated with an anti-fungicide , which causes them to mold instead of sprouting. Forage oats are oats the farmer or hunter plans in his fields for the stock/game. One good brand is Plotspike Forage Oats available at Tractor Supply Company. They are specially line-bred, not GMO. Created in 2001 at Louisiana State University.
There is a whole discussion thread on BYC about sprouted oats.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/425134/anybody-raise-sprouts-to-feed-the-chickens Start on pages 25 thru 30.
Why at least 4 days old? Before 4 days, sprouted oats are a "grain feed". They are fed as a replacement for part of the usual daily ration. At 4 days old, a nutritional change occurs within the sprout. Now it is "green feed". Feed as a supplement to the reg. daily ration. Feed 1 cubic inch per bird, per day .Feed to bowel tolerance, if the bowels become a bit soft, just back off the quantity a bit and they will firm right back up.
Green feed sprouted oats are excellent for bringing hens into lay. Also for helping the roosters sperm be more robust which helps him sire more robust chicks.
One can sprout many seeds for their birds. Historically, with multiple scientific studies ( results online) to prove it, oats have proven themselves the very best grain for sprouting for poultry.
A 20 watt light bulb is enough light to effect laying in a 10x10 chicken coop.
Karen in western PA, USA
Edited by 3riverschick - Today at 2:36 pm