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Do hens have to be on layer crumbles to actually lay?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by holliewould, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. holliewould

    holliewould Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 15, 2008
    Planet Earth
    I have so much leftover food such as vegetables, rice, pasta, breads, and even meat. If I fed my birds all this everyday instead of layer feed, would that keep them from laying eggs?
     
  2. 1acrefarm

    1acrefarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 3, 2007
    Georgia
    They need lots of calcium. I would give them free choice oyster shell. I just lay down a half concrete block and put the oyster shell in the hole when I have shell. I would also bake the egg shells and crumble and throw back to them. I I don't think they will lay to their full potential on that type of diet but our grandparents had perfectly healthy chickens on it.
     
  3. fordmommy

    fordmommy Dancing With My Chickens

    Jul 16, 2009
    Wisconsin
    They need really 2 things to lay. Calcium and protien. If your girls are NOT laying...it is probably their diet. It would be okay for them to eat those things as treats once a day. Some people do not give their chickens those things at all. I, personally LOVE to treat my girls. But I do it later in the day so they will eat their chicken feed first. I use purina layer from one of our local feed stores. It's $12 or so. I did use the stuff from Fleet Farm once and I did not like it. It seemed powdery and so I switch. Never had a problem. I don't have to offer oyster shell with the purina either. Everything that they need is right in there.
     
  4. miss_thenorth

    miss_thenorth Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2007
    SW Ont, Canada
    One of the benefits IMO, is to give the chickens table scraps. Of course they still nedd their feed and I also supplement with oyster shell.
     
  5. holliewould

    holliewould Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Planet Earth
    OK I know about the oyster shell. My yard is littered with the shells and many other kinds of seafood shells. Is there something in the layer feed that forces them to lay? If so, is it something that can be found in my household? I'm just trying to stay away from anything commercial or in a package for that matter.
     
  6. fordmommy

    fordmommy Dancing With My Chickens

    Jul 16, 2009
    Wisconsin
  7. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    Quote:No. They call it "layer" feed because it is formulated to be all a battery chicken (commercial cage bound hens) needs for laying. (Personally I think the formula is low in protein but that is me)


    I do not and never have feed a “layer” feed. I free feed Flock Raiser (20% protein) and offer crushed oyster shells (must be crushed into small pieces so they can pick/eat). I also feed all my household scraps at about noonish everyday. My flock also free ranges from morning until nightly lockup.



    ETA: I have a mixed flock of bantams, large fowl, ducks and geese - all eat the same diet/free range.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2010
  8. 1acrefarm

    1acrefarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 3, 2007
    Georgia
    If your yard is littered with shells in pieces small enough to pick up the main thing you will have to worry about is protein. If the meat you feed is not enough and their is not enough insects in your yard you can supplement with a little dog or cat food. Maybe a handful every few days. I think they should be fine though.
     
  9. holliewould

    holliewould Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 15, 2008
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    Yes the two chickens will eat the meat first. They go nuts over it. I've had them for almost two years now so they've pretty much picked my yard clean of insects and lizards. I did not know about the dog food, good one as I always have an abundance of it. Thanks for the tips everyone.
     
  10. prancie

    prancie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 29, 2009
    Alabama
    We feed ours some corn and wheat and they free range. They lay just fine. No calcium supplementation at all, even in the winter they get enough from greens and such in the yard. In fact, the eggs are downright hard to crack! We do live in Central Alabama though, so our winters are a bit warmer than some, but we don't have insects this time of year. Our yard is quite large and there is varied terrain for them, bush, brush and field.
     

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