18 week old hens

mschramm08

Hatching
8 Years
Jul 21, 2011
5
0
7
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...

Thanks,
Michael
 

extraordinaryfowl

Songster
8 Years
Sep 6, 2011
477
3
101
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.
 

FiveHens

Songster
9 Years
Apr 7, 2010
389
8
124
Quote:x2
They know how much is the right amount for them; it's your job to make sure it's always available.
 

NovaAman

Crowing
8 Years
Aug 6, 2011
11,157
199
316
In Happy Chickenland, Holland MI
My Coop
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.
 

Ole rooster

Songster
8 Years
Jun 25, 2011
2,083
36
196
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.
 

turbodog

Songster
9 Years
Feb 21, 2010
537
9
131
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.
 
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Fred's Hens

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
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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