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Chickens won't lay eggs! Type of feed?????

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by 21softballstar, Nov 23, 2015.

  1. 21softballstar

    21softballstar Out Of The Brooder

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    So this is my second time having chickens. A few yrs ago, I had a Barred Rock and 2 Black Sussex. Born in March, laying in August. I fed them chicken scratch when they got older (that stuff with the corn, grain, and other stuff in it....) They laid eggs like crazy.

    When they got older, I gave them to someone else, and got 9 more chickens.4 Buff Orpingtons and 5 Ameraucanas. I fed them chick starter growing up for a few weeks, then chicken scratch stuff, the SAME things I fed my 3 other chickens a few years ago.

    Well, turned out 2 of those Ameraucanas were roosters, so gave them to someone else (didn't have the heart to kill them). These hens (they are hens, I know) are now 32 weeks old and not one single egg!!! I've switched their food from feed scratch stuff to layer pellets, but still nothing. I gave them oyster shells--nothing.

    I have bedding in the nesting boxes--the SAME boxes my 3 other chickens used before. I have caught them laying in the boxes before, but that was very little and quite a while ago. Now all they do is drink water and eat food. No eggs. No lying in the nesting boxes.

    It's getting ridiculous. What's up with these chickens? Our 3 older one laid in AUGUST and laid like crazy, even in the winter. These chickens are just....UGH!

    Help? Is it the food? Idk what else it could be.
     
  2. Free Spirit

    Free Spirit The Chiarian

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    Do they free range? Is it possible that they have made a nest somewhere in your yard?
     
  3. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think it is more likely the different breed. My Barr rocks are also great layers, beginning to lay at around 5 months too. I do not know much about your breed of hens, someone else probably will.
    Scratch is not sufficient feed for hens. Stick with the layer feed.
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    You must live somewhere with a mild climate and with good forage. Otherwise I can't imagine chickens surviving long on scratch, let alone being productive.
    These birds hatched the middle of April so they were the same age as when the others laid in September - when days are getting shorter.
    That may have a lot to do with it but also the food.
    Scratch grains are about 10% protein at best. Growing birds need 18-20% and layers about 16-17%. When you switched from the scratch to the layer, they were already low in protein and needed more of a boost to stimulate ovulation. But the time of year is also working against you.
    Layer feed and oyster shell doesn't stimulate laying. The 4% calcium in the layer feed and the 95% calcium carbonate in the oyster shell are only to replenish the calcium lost in the medullary bone from that deposited in the last egg shell.
    Protein is more important to cause ovulation.

    My best advice is to switch back to a starter/grower and add a light on a timer to increase day length to 13+ hours.
    And never expect chickens to survive on scratch alone. Aside from protein, it is missing essential vitamins and minerals.
     
  5. 21softballstar

    21softballstar Out Of The Brooder

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    They do not free range. We have a giant coop for them and they run around in there.

    Yes, I realized scratch was not sufficient or chickens just last night when I was looking up info about chicken food. I'm so confused about the food. Starter is for chicks, right? But these aren't chicks. These are 32 wk old chickens that won't lay eggs. Then I thought scratch was for pullets, the ones who won't lay eggs. THEN I thought, after they lay an egg, you give them layer feed. But these chickens haven't laid an egg, and I'm giving them layer feed.....Should I give them layer feed AND chick starter????

    Our 3 other chickens were in the same place these 7 are. It's about in the 40s and 50s where I live. They don't seem bothered by the cold. I give them grass and in the summer they got insects like my 3 other chickens.

    Their combs are bright red, and sometimes--very rarely--one of them calls out. But they don't sit in the nesting boxes. They used to, when their combs were pink, but now that their red, they don't.

    Yes, I'm going to put a light in there as soon as possible. One of my other indoor pets is using the light right now, and I have to wait 1 more wk before I can take that light away from my indoor pet.
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    NO. It isn't confusing. Chicken feed provides the vitamins, minerals, energy, fat and essential amino acids that chickens are known to need.
    There isn't a significant difference in the energy, fat, vitamins and most minerals in any of the feeds.
    Aside from that, you only have 2 concerns - protein % and calcium %.
    Chickens not laying eggs need about 1% calcium, chickens regularly laying eggs need about 4% calcium. Layer is 4%, all other feeds are 1%.
    Young growing birds need higher protein to build their bodies.
    Chicken feeds can range from 15% to 22% protein.
    As I said before, since your chickens have been starved for essential amino acids, you need to fix that with a higher protein feed like starter/grower or provide some meat and fish scraps.
     
  7. Free Spirit

    Free Spirit The Chiarian

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    To further clarify what @ChickenCanoe is trying to explain is that even though starter/grower is for young chicks, you want to go ahead and feed your pullets this to give them a bump in protein to stimulate ovulation just for the time being.

    Then... when they start laying you can get them back on Layer Feed and provide extra oyster shell in a separate dish at that time. You can also toss them some meat scraps for extra protein if you have any available.

    They don't need Layer Feed unless they are laying because you don't want to give them too much calcium. After they start laying is when they will need more calcium. The Layer Feed will supply that but you will also offer oyster shells on the side in a separate dish should they feel they need more. That way they can take what they need and regulate their intake themselves.

    Scratch should only be given with a handful or two tossed on the ground once per day in the morning. Scratch only serves to encourage chickens to forage and gives them something to do that is natural for them while providing a healthy treat. Though it lacks sufficient nutrition for optimum health.

    Grit should also be supplied in another separate dish if you are feeding them grasses or tough seeds such as corn in order for them to be ground up in their crops/gizzard to aid in proper digestion and prevent impacted or sour crop.
     
  8. 21softballstar

    21softballstar Out Of The Brooder

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    All right thanks for the info. I'll look into the starter, the light, and the calcium/protein. I'll give them some table scraps/cereal, too. Our old chickens LOVED cherrios.
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Especially on the grit thing since they don't free range.
    No free ranging and feeding scratch is a big problem if grit isn't provided..

    Cereal is no better than scratch. Cherrios won't provide the protein they need.
    I reiterate. They need more protein, not cereal grains. You've already been filling them up on cereal grains which is the problem.

    I think I'm about to give up here.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2015
  10. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens are omnivores. They, like you, need a wide variety of food, including: insects, grain, grass, fruit, vegtables, ect. They will happily eat any dead animal they come upon, even another chicken or egg. Commercial feed provides all of this.
    Right now your chickens are only getting grains, this is equivalent to you trying to survive on only corn, you might feel full, but you would be starving to death. What they want you to do is give your chickens the high protein high nutrient grower feed, this is to heal them. Once they are fully healed cheerios and scratch would be great. BUT be sure to continue giving them layer feed, so they do not starve again.
     
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