All flock or layer feed?


Mar 24, 2020
New Jersey
I have a rooster and 6 hens. I heard layer feed would give my rooster too much calcium for his body and he would have problems later on in life. But my hens need more calcium. Right now I have a separate bowl of oyster shell and I'm mixing in some with the feed but they seem to not care about it. Any other ways I can give them more calcium without switching over to layer feed. right now there using All flock.
I'm in the camp of recommending All Flock/FLock Raiser w/ separate oyster shell for the typical backyard owner, with typical backyard flock management conditions. My birds are picky, they don't like the 50# manna pro bag stuff, but they will eat it. Occasionally, I'll get a softer shell from a new layer (generally in the wider, fatter "bottom" of the shell), but it tends to firm up pretty quick.

Full disclosure, that's not how I feed my birds, but neither my flock, nor my management practices should be considered typical.
What breed, and how old? This may be a reproductive tract problem rather than a calcium shortage.
She's a Plymouth. she is a little past 1 year. She turned one in March 2021. I have seen no other symptoms besides not laying. she laid an egg not that long ago but then laid a soft egg a couple of days after. no soft egg yet but I thought it was heat stress.
Some chickens seem to really not like oyster shell. They prefer eggshell (it's more natural to them and they know it - people give them oyster because it's available and convenient, but where would a chicken encounter oysters naturally?) Have you tried giving them eggshell instead? I don't use layer feed, I use flock raiser with crushed eggshell on the side and my hens lay strong eggs with no problems. As long as they have eggshell available at all times, they'll be fine. If you only use your own eggs and can't keep up with the hens' demand (some eggshell gets spilled/wasted, some calcium goes towards other bodily needs, etc. and the net isn't enough for egg production) you can ask your neighbors for their eggshells that they don't need, to add to your own to keep the supply steady. I only have 5 hens, so I occasionally still buy eggs and save their shells, so I always have enough to meet the flock's demand.

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