Originally Posted by ronott1
You should be feeding hens layer feed. The layer feed has all of the vitamins and minerals that the hens need to make eggs. You were posting about how wonderful it was that a relative in the olden days only fed grain in the winter?
Luckily we have learned that doing stuff like that is bad husbandry. The chickens become deficient in the winter that way and production is hurt. Also, the chickens become sickly. Remember, chickens have been domesticated for thousands of years and have now been changed by breeding to be very productive. That has changed their nutrition needs. They cannot produce up to 300 eggs a year on grain alone.
Too many treats will also throw off their health.
They do have 2 kinds of layer feed, a non-gmo pellet, and a commercial non- soy grain/pea complete mash. I have two kinds because I don't trust just one source of feed for all their needs. Basically I feel that most commercial feed is mostly the equivalent of a Ritz cracker and a vitamin. Without the addition of vitamins and minerals,modern commercial feeds would probably be totally inadequate. So for me, it's a balancing act of commercial and more "natural" sources of vitamins and minerals including meat, but I am very aware that it's just that, a balancing act and that problems can occur.
I did not say it was wonderful that my grandparent's chickens were fed poorly, just that they were, I do not agree with skimping on feed and nutrition and I try to give my chickens the best nutrition I can. However they are free ranging birds, and I'm very aware that this can cause problems and in fact I'm suspicious that it has. They do get some scratch, I suppose it might have been too much and I have cut back on that, but I don't know if this will make them eat more of the commercial feed or more free ranged food. bugs and greens. They have free choice to eat whatever, a choice of commercial or free ranged food. Plus free choice oyster shell. None of my birds have great egg production, they are primarily dual purpose and crosses,none are laying 300 eggs a year. So I was a little surprised, because I know that the feeding of the commercial layers has to be precise, but I thought that it could be less so with dual type chickens.
I've ordered a vitamin/mineral mix, cut back on scratch, and we'll see if there's improvement.