18 weeks old today...

Panhandler80

Chirping
Feb 11, 2020
322
373
90
NW Florida
Well, my 21 pullets all turned 18 weeks old today. Really surprised that they all turned out to be girls... I had only ordered 15, so needless to say, we were a little surprised when 21 showed up. I figured there would be a few cockerels for sure.

Anyway, last Thursday I took the board out of the coop that was blocking off 5 nesting boxes, and I put three white eggs and two wooden brown colored eggs in the boxes. Also put out some oyster shell. They are very talkative of late and most of them are hitting the oyster crumble pretty hard. Have them on flock feeder right now, which is 20% protein.

Few questions:

1. I know you don't want a bird on layer feed until she's actually laying. How in the world do I verify that all 21 of them are laying?

2. Do you all have a preference between crumble and pellets? When I had them on Start and Grow feed I used crumble. The flock feeder is also crumble. The layer feed that I picked up (perhaps prematurely) are pellets.

Anyway, excited and ready to see some of these eggs! Should have a great rainbow of colors, which was the goal from Day 1.
 

chickenlittle21

Crowing
Aug 22, 2019
2,261
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Palm City, Florida
1. If the hens comb is red it's likely shes laying. A laying hen will also have a wider vent.

2. The crumble makes more of a mess but other than that the only difference is that pellets are bigger pieces than crumbles.
 

Panhandler80

Chirping
Feb 11, 2020
322
373
90
NW Florida
1. If the hens comb is red it's likely shes laying. A laying hen will also have a wider vent.

2. The crumble makes more of a mess but other than that the only difference is that pellets are bigger pieces than crumbles.
Well, I have a few fire engine red combs. They also went through 5 pounds of oyster shell in about 3 days. No eggs in nesting boxes, and none readily apparent in run. I have not given the coop a thorough look yet. Might need to do that tonight, I guess. I have pine shavings in there and they are pretty thick. I guess an egg or two could be hidden in the shavings.

The one with raging red combs are: BSL, White Leghorn and Austra White. I have some RSL that are getting pretty red. The rest all look pretty pale.... especially the EEs.
 

OneHappyRooster

Crowing
Apr 5, 2020
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This Side Of The Galaxy
Keep them on All Flock.
Get oyster shell and leave it free choice.
As they begin laying, they'll take it as they need it.
The ones not yet laying won't.
Once they are all officially laying, then you can give the layers pellets, without having to worry.
Or just stick to All-Flock.
 

Panhandler80

Chirping
Feb 11, 2020
322
373
90
NW Florida
Well, if I have accurately identified each "breed", the 21 total should provide us with approximately the following color distribution...

Should be pretty cool.



0.238095​
Brown
0.095238​
Dark Brown
0.380952​
Assorted (EEs)
0.142857​
Light brown
0.142857​
White




Barred RockBrown
DominqueBrown
DominqueBrown
Golden CommetBrown
Golden CommetBrown
WellsummerDark Brown
WelsummerDark Brown
EEGreen / Blue / Pink / Olive
EEGreen / Blue / Pink / Olive
EEGreen / Blue / Pink / Olive
EEGreen / Blue / Pink / Olive
EEGreen / Blue / Pink / Olive
EEGreen / Blue / Pink / Olive
EEGreen / Blue / Pink / Olive
EEGreen / Blue / Pink / Olive
BSLLight Brown
Speckled SussexLight Brown
Cinamon QLight Brown
White LeghornWhite
Brown LeghornWhite
Austra WhiteWhite / Cream
 

Panhandler80

Chirping
Feb 11, 2020
322
373
90
NW Florida
A while back I'd posted about putting them all on layer feed because they were 18 weeks old. The consensus was to go with a flock feed, and supplement with oyster shell.

After a little research, I found some information to support that stance.

However, this article https://backyardpoultry.iamcountrys...uld-chickens-eat-when-they-turn-18-weeks-old/ (granted, by a feed manufacturer which might have a vested interest in a particular feed... perhaps with greater margins?) is pretty explicit in switching a flock to a layer feed at 18 weeks, regardless of whether or not they are laying yet.

1. What do you all say to this theory?

2. How much oyster shell is too much? Everyone recommend free feeding it, and I have been. 21 of them went through 5 pounds almost immediately. I put another 5 pounds in a feeder on Tuesday, and it's almost gone. Is this amount of intake normal? Still no eggs. 18 weeks and 3 days.
 

OneHappyRooster

Crowing
Apr 5, 2020
4,836
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363
This Side Of The Galaxy
My thoughts are - if they're offered the oyster free choice, you don't need to worry about that. They'll take it as they need it.
I personally think it does less harm to put them on it late than it does to put them on it early.

I've not had a problem with giving them layers only when they begin laying.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
84,595
98,424
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SW Michigan
My Coop
21 of them went through 5 pounds almost immediately. I put another 5 pounds in a feeder on Tuesday, and it's almost gone. Is this amount of intake normal?
Seems excessive, tho I've ever weighed mine, I just put out a few tablespoons worth at a time.
Sometimes they will gorge on new stuff.
Do they also have digestive granite grit available?
 

Panhandler80

Chirping
Feb 11, 2020
322
373
90
NW Florida
Seems excessive, tho I've ever weighed mine, I just put out a few tablespoons worth at a time.
Sometimes they will gorge on new stuff.
Do they also have digestive granite grit available?
I don't have any commercial insoluble grit available for them. However, the run has no litter in it, so they have ample access to all kinds of sand / dirt / pebbles, etc.

The oyster shell consumption has slowed WAY down. Like you said, maybe they hit it hard at first simply because it was new.

No egg(s) today, either. 19 weeks and 1 day.
 

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