Can I change them over to layer yet?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by newchickmom09, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. newchickmom09

    newchickmom09 Songster

    Jul 15, 2009
    My girls will be 20 weeks next week and it will be time for us to buy more feed then. I was wondering if I can go ahead and buy them layer feed then or keep them on the grower until I see an egg. The layer is half the price of the grower. I don't want to mess up there systems or delay them starting to lay. Also should I be keeping oyster shell in there run now? I put some out there last week and they ate it all.

  2. Sillystunt

    Sillystunt Master of the Silly

    Jul 11, 2008
    Winter Haven, FL
    i didn't start mine on layer until they laid. Some can take up to 28 weeks to do so.
  3. jafo

    jafo Songster

    May 2, 2009
    Layer will work just fine. If you have any starter left over, just mix it in. We have Orpingtons, and when thier combs and wattles got bright red, around 20 weeks, within a couple few days we got our first egg. Now I don't know how to shut 'em off!
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2009
  4. cybercat

    cybercat Songster

    May 22, 2007
    Greeneville, Tn
    I started mine when I had to buy a new bag and they were 18 weeks. So there is no problem starting them before they lay it will not hurt them. Most say not too because of growrth but if you get a higher protien feed above 15% more like 18 or 20 percent then you are fine. My feed from the chick starter on up has always been 20%, even my layer is 20%. It is needed because they use protien to make eggs. Just do not feed any scratch at all for that is junk food and not good for them unless you want fat chickens. It will also lower protien of layer way down and slow down laying as a result.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    This site talks about the different feeds at the different stages of development.

    Oregon State Feeding Chickens

    As this site says, now would be a good time to switch over. You may get an egg in the near future or it could be another month or more. It is really hard to predict, especially in the winter. But they have basically done their growing so Layer should work fine.

    As far as oyster shell, the layer has extra calcium in it. You can offer oyster shelll on the side if you wish, but I waited until mine started laying and looked at the egg shells. They are hard so I see no benefit to providing more calcium. If the egg shells are soft or thin (after the first two weeks of laying when anything can happen as their egg laying factories figure out how to work) I would recommend offering extra calcium with the oyster shells. If the egg shells are hard, I see nothing to be gained by feeding oyster shell. My personal opinion. Others will obviously disagree.

    Good luck!!!

  6. cook_kaka_ook

    cook_kaka_ook Songster

    Oct 29, 2009
    So, what is in hen scratch feed? Can I give to my 18-weeks old pullet for snack? How often?
  7. newchickmom09

    newchickmom09 Songster

    Jul 15, 2009
    Quote:Scratch is basicaly a treat and should not be used as there normal feed. It is almost like feeding a child a bunch of cookies before they are supposed to eat there dinner. I never gave my chickens any scratch ever when they were growing (day olds to 19 weeks). Only now do I throw about half a hand full over the ground just for them to peck and scratch at. I just bought some because when it gets gloomy and cloudy all day they look so bored. Normaly it is sunny here for us in AZ even during winter so those cloudy days can get to you. I give that little amount to 7 chickens.

    You could sprinkle a little on the ground but for only one just give a small amount. I don't want to put off there laying any later then winter has for me. Just my opinion.

    Thank you all for your input. I guess I will have to see how they are doing next week. My Silver Laced Wyandottes wattles and comb have started to turn very red this week. [​IMG]
  8. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    If you can get it, feed Purina Flock Raiser. It's 20% protein and you can feed it to chicks, hens, roosters and any bird you have. I just add oyster shell on the side free choice.

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