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Do I HAVE to feed egg start when they are ready?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ChixPix, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. ChixPix

    ChixPix In the Brooder

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    Apr 6, 2010
    I'm confused. My husband used to have chickens in a past life, and he said you have to feed egg start to get them going. But i get the impression from some posts, they just start laying on their own when they are ready. Which is best?
     

  2. barred-rocks-rock

    barred-rocks-rock Can't stick with a Title

    Jul 5, 2009
    Quote:They will start on their own. But egg layer food wouldnt hurt. I would start them on egg layer at 17 weeks.
     
  3. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Songster

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    Start them on layer feed either at 18 to 20 weeks old or when they start laying eggs. The feed just provides the best nutrients possible for them to lay good eggs.
     
  4. ChixPix

    ChixPix In the Brooder

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    Apr 6, 2010
    Do we toss those eggs for a while if we do egg start?

    Thanks. I'm such a noob.
     
  5. Dora'smom

    Dora'smom Songster

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    Dec 14, 2009
    Oregon
    I don't know what egg start is, but conventional chicken feed like flock raiser, or layer, etc. there is no withdrawal period. You get to eat whatever you get right away. [​IMG]
     
  6. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Quote:why would you toss them??? They are perfectly normal, except they are smaller at first. The eggs will just get larger as the hen gets older.
     
  7. StormyMoon

    StormyMoon Songster

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    May 1, 2010
    Alvarado, TX
    I haven't used egg starter or egg layer feed yet and my chickens lay eggs just fine. Some people want their chickens to have the nutrients they need if they are lacking anything. Since chickens can't speak for them self and little is known about what they actually need many people supplement with the egg starter/layer feed along with oyster shells.

    If your free ranging them it may be that they do not need the extra calcium and that is why they offer the oyster shells free choice without forcing it on the chickens.
     

  8. ChixPix

    ChixPix In the Brooder

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    Apr 6, 2010
    Hubs says that you can't eat the eggs at first after you give them egg start (like when you give them medicated food).

    I however, have no idea since as I clarified, I'm a big fat noob. LOL.
     
  9. Dora'smom

    Dora'smom Songster

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    Dec 14, 2009
    Oregon
    I don't know of anyone who uses any medicated feed to get a pullet to start laying. There occasionally is someone here who uses cayenne pepper added to feed to start laying, but I honestly don't know if the cayenne makes any difference, or if the birds were just ready to lay anyway.
    If you just allow them to lay when they are ready, you won't have to worry about a withdrawal period. I can't imagine waiting for those beautiful first eggs, and then having to throw them away because I was so eager that I used medication to try to make it happen faster. That seems like a terrible waste to me, but you have to decide what you are comfortable with.
    Many birds are ready to lay by 20 or so weeks, but it depends on the particular bird. We have had some that didn't start until they were over 10 months. We just waited patiently, and they all laid eventually. Our new set is about ready to lay, too. Interestingly enough, three of the birds are two weeks younger than the others, and it is two of those younger birds that really show all the signs of being ready. They all just have their own body rhythm.
     
  10. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Quote:I have no idea what you are calling "egg start"
    Is it a medication???

    I thought you were meaning layer-type feed, such as Purina Layena, Dumor Layer 16%, other brands, or just plain "Layer pellets" sold by your local feed mill.....there are no magic medicines in those feeds to "make" your hen lay. Basically they have extra calcium that the hen uses to make eggshells out of. Disposing of the extra calcium is hard on the non-laying bird's bodies - hence the layer feed is not used until the pullet is actually about to start making eggs. Extra calcium will not hurt us humans, and we don't eat the shells anyway, sooooooo no reason to toss the eggs.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2010

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