About grit and pellets

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by DeniseAksamit, Jan 9, 2010.

  1. DeniseAksamit

    DeniseAksamit New Egg

    Dec 22, 2008
    Port Orchard, Washington
    All of my chickens are free ranging all day on our farm. In their coop they have free choice 'all purpose poultry' pellets. Every morning I throw out 3-4 handfulls of scratch for a treat so I can check to be sure everyone is OK. I also give them bread or other people food as treats occasionally.
    I have a dozen hens and getting few eggs, I think due to the temperatures and most of them just went through molt. When they do lay eggs they all have good hard shells.
    My questions:
    Is the all purpose poultry good enough for them or do they need layer?
    Do they need grit?
    Do they need oyster shell?
    Thanks everyone.
  2. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Quote:They need layer feed because of the protein and other things blended into it.
    They need oyster shell, especially in winter, because they usually have fewer greens for their calcium needs.
    They need grit in their craw to help process food because they do not chew.

    What breed or breeds do you have? That, their ages, and what you feed them are the three things that matter most. Cold-hardy layers are naturally going to do better in most cases than other breeds. I have BC, BA, BR, RIR. All cold-hardy and known to be good winter layers. They are laying very well and steady on a 16% protein layer mix with some scratch and some greens and bread crusts and fruit scraps daily. Mine do not have any artificial light either.

    You could add Calf-Manna to their diet to boost protein and do artificial light in the coop to extend their day if that does not work. A post on BYC said that taking warm water to his chooks made them start laying again. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
  3. fldiver97

    fldiver97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 5, 2009
    Middleton, WI
    I would have oyster shells available in a dish, not mixed with feed. They will peck at it when they need more calcium. If they free range all the time they should find enough small pebbles and sandlike material to act as grit. If you have snow on the ground or if they don't free range for any reason for a time I would also have a container with grit available. I have no idea how much protein or calcium is in your all purpose feed....It may be sufficient if they always have the opportunity to catch bugs etc. If not you may want to consider a layer mix, especially if the egg production seems low. The current decrease could be just from decreased temps and daylight, if they are molting, a lot of protein goes into making new feathers so they usually don't lay or don't lay as much during that time (not that mine have reached that point yet...speaking from what I have hard and read on ths point..). If you need to increase protein, you can always feed back some of their eggs, scrambled or let them have some meat protein, yoghurt etc. Instaed of buying oyster shells you can also clean and crush ( I would crush them well, don't want to have big pieces of shell that make them think of eating their eggs)their eggshells. I think some people have suggested to bake the eggshells for a short time on a lower temperature first....I hope others that know more will give some input....

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