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3 yr olds not laying - should I change their feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by nuchickontheblock, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. I have three 3 year old hens who started a hard molt in august and have not laid any eggs since. They are all feathered out now, but their combs are still pale. I have checked them out for lice, mites, etc., but don't see anything and they seem healthy. they never were very regular layers to start with and 2 were always going broody, so we have rarely had even 30 eggs a month from the 3 of them. They are lucky we are vegetarians, they are cute and our pets or else they'd have been stew long ago. [​IMG]

    Anyway. . . we decided to not supplement light this winter for them and just let them be as menopausal as they want to be. . .so should I change their feed from the layer feed they have had the past 2 1/2 years?? If so, what do you recommend?

    I have been feeding them extra protein, as they've molted (meal worms that we raise, and some scrambled eggs), and discontinued giving them the extra calcium. Any other suggestions?

  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    I would. Feeding all that calcium to a non laying hen, a older hen who has already taken two months off and will likely take another month off. The higher protein of a chick starter will help finish the feathering and help with body heat production in the colder winter months. Starter, GameBird or 20% Flock Raiser type feed would be my choice.

    Once laying resumes, you can alway offer a calcium source on the side.

    Mr MKK FARMS Crowing Premium Member

    Sep 27, 2012
    Good Luck!
  4. stevetone

    stevetone Chicken Advocate

    I would keep them on layer feed. Hens mobilize bone calcium for egg shell production, and this likely needs to be replenished after a laying season.
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    It's likely not an earthshaking decision, one way or the other. All commercial feed types contain calcium. A grower/raiser type is likely around 2% while layer feed is often around 3-5%. Feeding a grower/raiser would still provide calcium. I've not read the science on feeding the higher calcium to hens on "lay off". How does she make efficient use of ultra high calcium content? I honestly do not know. Would a hen on lay off indulge in free choice calcium offerings? She doesn't in my experience. All the studies I read focus on the pre-laying pullet and her inability to metabolize high calcium.

    Again, this isn't likely a huge deal.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
  6. Thanks for the input. I will probably get some 20% flock raiser feed and mix it into the small amount of the layer feed I have left. Perhaps the girls will take to a change in taste if it is mixed with a familiar taste to start with. I'd love to see some research on their tasted buds! LOL.
    I'll let you know how it goes.

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