confused about treats and laying,

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by phaethona, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. phaethona

    phaethona Songster

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    Apr 13, 2010
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    [​IMG]

    thanks for stopping by my post!
    I'd really love to get some opinions from you all about this:

    I have 10 hens, all are excellent breeds for laying. they started laying about 3 weeks ago, and we're soooo excited, this is our first time raising chickens and it's been a great learning experience for our family!

    Ever since the girlies were "teenagers" I've been giving them treats about everyday, sometimes every other day. And I try to change it up for them, they love cheese, cooked eggs, yogurt, grapes and melon. A friend of mine told me not to feed them fruit once they start laying because she said her hens all but stopped laying altogether when she gave them fruit. And I've been trying to read articles online about it and they all seem to agree, that offering treats/table scraps unbalances their diet and can slow or stop production.

    In the last 3 weeks of laying, I get 1-3 eggs per day and it seems to me that it should be more than that by now. In light of my friend's advice, I have cut back their treats, but haven't had the heart to cut them off because they really love them. Have any of you noticed a slower production when offering treats?

    Some background info: they free range all day(and yes I have checked all their hiding spots, no eggs), they're diet consists of 16 percent layer feed, BOSS, and of course fresh water in several places throughout the yard.

    what should I do? [​IMG] thanks!!
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010

  2. cindy99

    cindy99 Songster

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    I am so glad that you asked that. I have wondered the same thing. I cut back on snacks when Snowflake started laying but didn't cut them out all together. I want her to be happy - if that means less eggs - that's ok with me. So far it hasn't made a difference. She comes to the back door in the morning for her bread crust - has a handful of corn early afternoon and after dinner I take out cucumber seeds, tomato, etc... from dinner. I also give her yogurt on Mondays. [​IMG]

    We get around 6 eggs a week from her. [​IMG]
     
  3. cpchicks

    cpchicks Songster

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    I have noticed the same thing with my girls. Their diet must consist of at least 16 to 20 percent protein, overall. That includes the layer pellets you buy, their treats, AND whatever they eat in your yard. If they are getting lots of bugs (protein) you are fine but if they are munching on too much that is low in protein that is bringing down the percentage of protein that they are eating. Try cutting down on the low protein treats (fruit) and just give them high protein treats (eggs, BOSS, meat scraps). If this doesn't do it, you may have to keep them in the coop/run longer in the morning so they eat more of their layer feed before you let them out to free range. Also, they are very good at hiding eggs. If you keep them in the coop until they have layed their eggs in the morning you may find out more of them are laying than you thought. [​IMG]
    Hope this helps........
    Cheryl
     
  4. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Hello! You know, I've never given my hens table scraps--only fruits and veggies from the garden. (Melons, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini and corn.) Summer is the best time of year for them because they get the surplus garden treats, but not every day....probably about twice a week. They lay just fine. I suppose, like kids, if they get too many treats, they won't eat as much of the balanced diet that they get in their layer feed, which could result in less eggs, but I haven't experienced that with my flock.
     
  5. phaethona

    phaethona Songster

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    good feedback guys thanks! keep em coming! [​IMG]
     
  6. flowerfaerie1

    flowerfaerie1 In the Brooder

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    I was always told fruit is fine, but no citrus or avacado.
     
  7. phaethona

    phaethona Songster

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    Quote:I've heard no citrus as well, not sure why, must have something to do with the citric acid
     

  8. Lovable Chicks

    Lovable Chicks Songster

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    I recently read that you shouldn't give laying hens fruit. I never knew this before. this is interesting to me...thanks for starting this post. Is cracked corn and scratch ok to feed? Mine have there coop and a run area...can't free range. They love their corn and grass that they get daily and then depending on the day get scrap food and melon of some sort.
     
  9. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I never give scratch. I do give BOSS every day, though. I toss some in the run (although they range freely, I prefer them to know the only place they can "mob" me for treats is in the run) every morning for them to enjoy whilst I go about doing the morning feeder check and all that. Then, when I get home from work, I either toss 'em some more BOSS, or I give them some shredded mozzarella cheese. Or some uncooked oatmeal.

    I figure the higher protein treats are better for 'em and won't interfere with their laying.
     
  10. phaethona

    phaethona Songster

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    Quote:there is a lot of controversy about corn, but I think the general consenus is that in moderation it's fine. which raises a good question about protein. I thought that hens of laying age need less protein, that's why its lower in layer feed than in chick starter. following that notion, you would want to avoid higher protein foods and lower protein foods like fruit would be fine. BUT, I've heard and read more opinions saying that fruit is not good for laying hens because it is lower protein. so I wonder does this become a question of balancing protein levels, and if so, what's a good balance?


    Good conversation you guys! keep it up! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010

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