Egg laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by RoosterMaverick, Nov 15, 2014.

  1. RoosterMaverick

    RoosterMaverick Hatching

    Jul 31, 2014
    I have 14 week chickens RIR. When should I start changing there diet to real food instead of chick mix. When should they start laying eggs at what age. when do I start chicken scratch and oyster shells. New at this can you please help
  2. krista74

    krista74 Songster

    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    Hi there!

    I'm not sure what feed you have available in the US, but here in Australia we have Medicated Chick Crumb which we feed from hatching to 8 weeks old. They then move on to Growers Crumble which has a higher protein content designed to ensure they grow and develop at the appropriate rates, which they eat from 8 weeks to POL (approximately 18 weeks). After the 18 week old mark, we generally switch them to Formulated Layer's Crumble or Pellets - some people wait until they have actually laid their first egg to make this final switch. All feeds should be offered free access 24/7 in unlimited amounts, as should water.

    I always have grit available plus my girls find their own as they free range. The oyster shell should be provided in a small, separate container to their feed, just prior to the 18 week old mark. It will certainly not harm them to have it set up in their coop earlier than that, as they will only eat it as they need it.

    I am presuming that what you call 'scratch' is the same product as what we call 'scratch' - crushed wheat and corn? If so, scratch is usually only offered as a treat and should be an occasional thing. I give my girls a small scoop when I want to get them inside the coop for any particular reason! Your girls are certainly old enough to eat it, but as I said - it should not be their sole source of food. It's a treat only.

    The RIR's are egg-laying machines, and mine started laying at about 20 weeks. I have heard of some starting earlier, and some starting later. I would make sure your nest boxes are ready from 16 weeks onwards. They like to jump in and out of them and explore them thoroughly well before they even think about laying an egg! You can look for signs such as their comb and wattles becoming bright red and plump looking, their faces turning bright red, and they may start squatting for you too. These are all indicators that egg laying is not far off.

    Good luck!

    - Krista
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I like to feed an 'all flock' 20% protein crumble to all ages and genders. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat and have calcium available at all times for the layers, oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    The higher protein crumble offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: