Another question about feed for the chickens?


8 Years
Dec 29, 2011
OK so my dad is a chiropractor and he was talking to one of his patients today. My chickens aren't laying yet and they are like 8 months old now I am really wanting them to start laying. I do know that all chickens sometimes start laying early and some late. I did start feeding them layer when they were about 8 weeks (i know big mess up) i got back from a trip and someone i know had gotten me 16 chickens when he brought them out I guess they were like 4 weeks or something anyway they were living off of a ton scraps and I felt really bad the only food i really knew about was homegrown layer feed 16% (from my other chickens I had before then) any way I got them the food and they have been on it ever since. So she said I needed to feed them layer mash or layers crumbles for hens with 18% and they come in 40 pounds bags so what shall I do?
16% protein or 18% protein feed making a big difference bringing pullets to point of lay?

I don't think so.

It has been safer for them if they have had a ton of scraps if you have been giving them 4 to 5 times the amount of calcium a non-laying chicken needs. The scraps have diluted the calcium in their diet. It begs the question: Are they now getting too little protein?

Probably, but it would be impossible to answer.

You have started off in a direction that has likely slowed their development even if it hasn't harmed their health. However, they are probably getting around to where they are supposed to be and with increasing daylight, should begin laying.

I would get them off the layer and very many scraps until they are actually producing those eggshells and needing all that calcium. You can set out oyster shells and they can self-regulate when some begin laying while others are still lagging.

Here is some information from the Poultry Science department, at Auburn University:
Nutrition for Backyard Chicken Flocks

Notice that these are "overall diet" requirements for chickens at various ages. A bag of this feed or that feed won't make much difference. It is the diet that is important. Hope that helps.

Thanks, they are still on the layer feed and i have a heat lamp in the coop and all i am pretty sure the fact that I was feeding them layer did slow down there growth but they are still big healthy chickens so I don't think it did much to the health of them anyway I am still giving them scraps I give them the layer feed and I have some oyster shells in there which they just can't seem to get enough of do you think this is a sighn they may need the calcium in them? and that's why they are eating soooo much of it because somtimes your body needs more of somthing and it tends to eat more of what it need right? at least that's my look at it.

Laying hens are supposed to be able to do a very good job at self-regulating the amount of calcium they eat IF they can choose to eat it, or not. If it is just mixed into their feed, of course, they won't have that choice.

It sounds like they are getting lots of scraps. The low-protein levels of most of those things that get thrown out of a kitchen would be what slows their development. Still, diluting all the calcium that is in layer feed is a good thing since they shouldn't have that much calcium if they are not laying.

Think of it this way: 2 chickens are eating the same amount of layer feed. One is laying an egg each day. The other is not.

The one that is not laying the egg must void the same amount of calcium that is in an egg shell thru it's kidneys. If it cannot do that, the calcium builds up inside the body. Those calcium deposits can have long-term damaging effects on the body. If the kidneys are damaged, the effects may take quite a bit of time to show themselves. The kidneys may begin to fail much sooner in the life of the bird than would otherwise happen.


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