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Am I feeding my hens the right food? They are not laying eggs yet.

Discussion in 'Nutrition - Sponsored by Purina Poultry' started by clarose, Dec 5, 2014.

  1. clarose

    clarose Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 1, 2014
    My 7 month old Americana and 6 month old barred rock still have not started laying yet. I fed them started mash until they were 8 weeks old then started them on grower mash after that. They haven't started laying eggs yet so I haven't started them on lay mash yet. Am I doing something wrong? The weather is still sunny and warm with only a few days of rain occasionally.
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    You are doing just the right thing, so put your mind at ease. The only "advantage" to a layer ration is the extra calcium it contains - the extra calcium is only needed by a bird who is actively shelling and laying eggs (the laying process takes calcium as the muscles involved need calcium for proper contraction). Any female bird not producing eggs - too young, too old, molting, winter lay off, etc - does not need and can actually suffer the same damage from excess calcium as any other bird (male, chick, etc). Many chicken keepers, myself included, feed a grower ration from hatch to death and simply provide the extra calcium laying birds need by providing free choice supplement such as oyster shell that each laying bird can take in as needed. This is so much easier when keeping a mixed flock and the extra protein in the grower ration is my preference over the lower protein content of layer rations.
     
  3. clarose

    clarose Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you, This puts my mind at ease.I will follow your feeding advice.
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Feed wise, you're providing the right stuff. What else are you feeding if anything?

    Where are you located? They should have kicked in by now except for the short days.
     
  5. clarose

    clarose Out Of The Brooder

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    That is all I feed them., just the grow mash. I live in San Bernardino, Ca.
     
  6. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    While you are more southernly than I am, you are still on shorter winter days, so it is likely they are not laying because of that (barring any sign of illness or sneaky laying habits). Look at your weather station for sunrise and sunset to see what your actual total daylight hours currently are and if they are close to 12 hours. Also Ameraucanas (or more likely an Easter Egger) take at least 6 months to fully mature as a breed; while Barred Rocks tend to mature at 4 to 5 months of age.

    I find that if my pullets come to age during November and December, they often do not start to lay eggs until February or even March, since it is declining light when they reach point of maturity. And, actually, that is probably better for them than those that are hatched in January and start laying by the time they are 14 weeks of age as they are coming to age in the natural increasing light of late winter/springtime which triggers their hormones too early, before they have fully matured.

    It has to do with daylight activating the hormones in the pullet's brain to start the laying cycle, and there has to be at least 12 hours of daylight to activate the hormones but 14 hours of light each day for sustained laying to take place.

    When pullets mature fully structurally then start laying eggs, they typically will lay longer and better than if they come to lay very early (before 17 to 18 weeks) as that often results in shorter laying life time and overall smaller eggs and a greater risk of prolapse.

    When the days get longer, they will begin to lay.

    Lady of McCamley

    http://www.extension.org/pages/71004/raising-chickens-for-egg-production#.VI0a5SvF9vU

    http://umaine.edu/publications/2227e/
     
  7. clarose

    clarose Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks so much. That puts my mind at ease and I am glad that it will be healthier for my girls to start laying when they are a little older.
     

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