A Little Reassuring?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by roosmom, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. roosmom

    roosmom Songster

    Jun 3, 2008
    upper peninsula
    [​IMG] Ok, I have weathered raising these chickens. But this is begining to scare me.
    Two days ago I witnessed one of my roosters mounting one of my hens (at least 14 roosters and the rest hens). So when I went to get them feed at the feed store I asked them if it was time for me to change their feed and if they thought I was going to get eggs soon......so now I am asking you the same questions. I bought layer feed and non-medicated chick starter, granite scratch also. They said the scratch will be enough supplement for the calcium for them. Are they correct? I have been saving my egg shells, when should I start with them? The chickies are 3 months old today!
    I am getting scared now that time is growing near. Egg bound chickens....Insides falling out, OMG what else can go wrong, NO dont tell me.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2008
  2. lurky

    lurky Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    Eggs should come around 6 months. Don't switch to layer feed til then. I was told to start layer feed when you see your first egg. Mine were 26-28 weeks.
  3. chickenannie

    chickenannie Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    By the way, they're probably too young too consider this yet if they're only 3 months old, but what is the ratio of your hens to roos? you said you had 14 roos... It should be about 1 roo to every 12-15 hens, otherwise the roosters overbreed the hens and the hens can get injured easily. Just thought I'd mention it. You can search on BYC -- there's lots of discussion about it... you might want to have a plan for any "excess" roos (re-homing, separate pen, butchering, etc).
  4. roosmom

    roosmom Songster

    Jun 3, 2008
    upper peninsula
    Well, we already have 20 chickens earmarked for culling for the freezer. That will leave about 21 hens per rooster when we get done. Thank you.
    Is the granite a good calcium supplement or should I hold off on that too? I mixed the feed in a 50 - 50 ratio of chick starter to layer, I read lurkys reply and so now that you know I have did the mix....is that ok? should I keep it like that? Or go to PLAIN chick starter?
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Sorry but your feed store is confused. Granite grit ('scratch' would be a mix of grains, like corn etc) does not have calcium in it. (Actual scratch grains do not have any meaningful amount of calcium in it either, btw).

    To supplement calcium free-choice, use oystershell, or limestone grit, or dried and crushed eggshells. I believe I have read something about there being some type of limestone or dolomitic grit that you're maybe not supposed to use but that is all that braincell can really produce on the subject, you'd have to research it further if you wanted to know more (I use oystershell and eggshells myself).

    AFAIK there is very little chance of any kind of chicken laying before about 18 wks (except the oddball here and there), and most breeds, as opposed to sex-link hybrids, will be later than that. Also, I am under the impression that as long as you are feeding them a basically balanced sensible complete diet, you don't have to worry too much about adding calcium until they actually *start* laying. Pullets' first few eggs can be soft or shellless or otherwise weird no matter what their calcium intake, it's just one of those things AFAIK.

    Good luck and have fun,

  6. ella

    ella Songster

    Ok first of all don't be scared! It's going to be ok I promise. You obviously care about your chickies so good for you. [​IMG]

    It's very important that you don't give them extra calcium until after they start laying it can damage their kidneys. So stay away from it until you see eggs.

    After they start laying you can go ahead and mix your chick feed with the layer feed. Don't worry about getting it on the day you get your first egg, just anytime after they start laying. I have non layers and young layers on chick feed with free choice oyster shell and they're just fine with it. I know those who only feed chick feed and just have calcium free choice they do it because it's better for the roosters not to have the extra calcium. Point is chickens can live and be healthy without layer feed.

    For peace of mind you can have oyster shell in a container avaliable for them. They will take what they need and if they don't need it they won't mess with it so you can put it out now if you like. I wouldn't mix it in the feed even after they start laying because excess calcium can cause more harm then good.

    I've never had a prolapse but have dealt with internal layers and egg bind. Yes it's stressful but you deal with it as it comes and remember you'll always have help here. [​IMG]
  7. roosmom

    roosmom Songster

    Jun 3, 2008
    upper peninsula
    [​IMG] Thank you for the reassuring words. I am going to take the granite back and get oyster shell - which I will then offer them when they start laying. I will stop mixing and just continue the chick starter after this batch is gone. What does AFAIK mean? Thanks again
  8. scrapmom5

    scrapmom5 Songster

    Apr 21, 2008
    AFAIK = As Far As I Know

    And I also agree with the other posts.

    One other thought...the more anxious you are about getting your first egg the longer it takes. Pretend you don't care and they come sooner.

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