18 week old hens

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mschramm08, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. mschramm08

    mschramm08 Hatching

    Jul 21, 2011
    My hens have now turned 18 weeks and should start laying soon. Since I'm a newbie to hen raising (and BYC) I was looking for some suggestions on which feed to switch them to...The breeders I bought the pullets from said to stick with DuMor layer and mix in oyster shell and grit, and DuMor is what I've been giving them so I'm fine with that. I'm wondering if I just throw the oyster shells and grit out on the ground for them to "scratch" or mix it in with the layer...

  2. extraordinaryfowl

    extraordinaryfowl Songster

    Sep 6, 2011
    Lancaster, PA
    I would provide both oyster shell and grit separately in two separate containers/bowls. This way they can eat it whenever they need it. Though I would not mix the oyster shell into their mash, as it might lead to them eating excessive amounts of calcium, more then they need. If they have it separately free choice they will eat what they need.
  3. nuttyredhead

    nuttyredhead Songster

    May 3, 2010
    Southern NH
    I have been told to put out the oyster shell in a seperate bowl and they will eat it if they need it.
  4. mschramm08

    mschramm08 Hatching

    Jul 21, 2011
    Perfect! thanks y'all...[​IMG]
  5. FiveHens

    FiveHens Songster

    Apr 7, 2010
    They know how much is the right amount for them; it's your job to make sure it's always available.
  6. Yup. I don't feed my girls grit at all, and thats only cuz they free range and have this big pile of crushed concrete that they climb all over, but i do provide oyster shell in a feeder on its own. Don't actually switch to layer UNTIL they are laying. Keep them on grower/finisher as long as possible.
  7. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Songster

    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    I would be just a little concerned about the crushed concrete. It does have lime in it. Don't know it that would be a problem but I would do a tad of research it I hadn't yet. I just don't know if that would replace the grit they need.
  8. turbodog

    turbodog Songster

    Feb 21, 2010
    Independence, La.
    Is it necessary to give them oyster shell at all when feeding Layer? I thought Layer feed came with the calcium already added to it.

    Since I have a mixed age flock (and roosters) I intended to just keep them on grower with free choice oyster shell. At least untill they all got to laying age anyway.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
  9. It is not necessary to provide oyster shells. I've never bought it. Not opposed to buying it, it's just never been an issue. The layer feed indeed is laced with calcium carbonate and other range feeds provide some calcium as well. Further, re-cycling their own egg shells is free. Shells as hard as rocks.

    Of course, if one feeds All Flock or Flock Raiser for convenience issues, then it is possible that a lack of calcium might be noted and oyster shells make some sense.

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