Confused! Girls will be 20 wks old should I switch to layer feed yet?


9 Years
Feb 20, 2010
Rome, NY

My girls will be 20 wks old on Monday. No eggs yet... not even the Red Star's...
It's time to by more feed but not sure what to get. They had been on starter crumbles up until the last bag which was grower/finisher (which they didnt seem to like as much) All the reading I did indicated that I should switch to grower/finisher prior to laying... so I did. It is 16% protien. Should I continue this or switch to layer, even tho they are not laying yet. I almost want to go back to starter because they liked it better until they lay... can I do that? Ive also read not to switch to layer until they start laying, but they all wont start to lay at the same time, right?! Confused.... thought & opinions needed. Thanks
I would switch to layer. It's most likely that your girls will be laying soon, and the starter and flock raiser are not the best choices. Hens mature at different rates, and some of them may start laying later than others, but they are old enough that they should be okay with laying ration.
At 20 weeks, I think it's safe to switch them. My pullets are also 20 weeks, and I've still got some grower crumbles around, so I've started mixing the layer pellet in with the crumbles both so they get used to it, and so I don't waste the older feed. Up until now, I've kept both kinds of feed out in separate feeders, with a bowl of oyster shell on the side if the older girls decided they wanted to eat the crumbles as well. I caught two of my pullets pecking at the oyster shells a few days ago. With that and their combs looking so red, I started getting excited!
I wouldn't unless they were actually laying. Right now I have a dozen laying hens and some end of May hatched Black Star Sexlinks and EE's that aren't all laying. They are all being feed grower with oyster shells as free choice. Probably as soon as I see green or blue eggs I'll mix what grower I have with layer but don't want to push the pullets. Feeding layer won't make them lay sooner and isn't exactly good for their health. Chickens mature at their own rate which, often, is determined by age.

BTW, there are half a dozen other threads on this topic--check the egglaying and/or flock management section--most of which say about the same thing.
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