18 weeks, can i start layer food/ oyster shells?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CoffeeCow, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. CoffeeCow

    CoffeeCow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2010
    Washington, NC
    My girls are getting close to the 18 week mark, and my bag of "starter/chick" food is almost depleted.. I was wondering if i should just go ahead and start them on layer mash, and maybe some oyster shell for calcium?


    should i just get a small bag of chick/starter, and wait till i see an egg?
    I have about a week or less of starter food left.
  2. bigstack

    bigstack Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 4, 2010
    Texarkana, TX
    I fed mine starter for the first 12 weeks then changed to grower finisher for a couple weeks. when that ran out I then started the layer feed. I waited to give oystershell until after they started to lay. They should not need calcium until after they begin to lay. I know some who never give oyster shell and say they have never had any issues. I myself just feel better knowing it's there if they want it. I give mine about 2 cups full at a time in a dish in the corner of the coop. If i see it is getting low I will refill it. That way they can have what they want when they want. I use the pellet size shell. I usually have to refill it about once a month. I have 23 hens now. Their shells are super tough! I have thought about taking it away! LOL I won't, but I have thought about it! I hope this helps. I'm sure others will respond too.

    Good Luck and God Bless!
  3. GermanChick

    GermanChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2010
    NW Missouri
    I started feeding mine Flock Raiser when they where 17 weeks, at 18 weeks I put a little dish with oyster shells in there too. They are just starting to lay now at 20 weeks. Yeah!! They eggs have all nice hard shells, actually I was surprised because I think they are harder then the store bought eggs.
  4. denise70

    denise70 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 15, 2010
    Meaford, ON
    I had a book from the library which read that they could be fed layer pellets at 12 weeks onward, so I just finished up my chick starter and then moved to the layer feed. I think there are different rules for commercial versus dual purpose, but I would think that layer pellets are fine for 18 weeks since mine are 18 weeks and one of mine has been laying for a week!
  5. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    I started feeding mine a mix of leftover grower with layer crumbles at about 17 weeks. I didn't start oyster shell until the beginning of this last week when the were about 20 weeks. They started laying a few days after I started offering oyster shell (although that, I understand, does not influence how soon they begin laying). Some say don't offer oyster shell until they begin laying but others say it's fine when they are getting close. You are probably fine doing the switch over to layer at this point.
  6. CoffeeCow

    CoffeeCow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2010
    Washington, NC
    thanks for the replies!!
    all good advice. Think I may mix the remainder of my starter with some layer 50/50. that should get them till 20 weeks (hope they start layin soon). hehe

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