Egg production/diet

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by tstefanick, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. tstefanick

    tstefanick Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 14, 2008
    We have 25, 1-year-old hens. The most eggs we've gotten in one day in 2 months is 14. That was two days ago. Some days we get as few as 7 or 8. Variety of breeds, 3 buff orps, 5 white leghorns, 5 columbian wyandottes, 2 ameraucanas, 4 black stars, 2 red stars, 1 red leghorn, 1 golden laced cochin bantam, 1 big fluffy white beauty, 1 white-faced black spanish.

    We went back to feeding purina start and grow because they'd all experienced a tragic loss of feathers due to too many roos. We blamed low egg production on getting beaten up by too many roosters so we've now had one roo for about 6 wks. We're feeding the higher protein feed to help replace feathers which are coming back. Also, a mixed scratch grain. About 2 parts purina:1 part scratch. In addition, they free range at least 2 hours/day. They get oyster shell and lots of vegetable garbage. We are wondering if they're getting too much garbage. Is that possible? Does anyone have any suggestions?
  2. bargain

    bargain Love God, Hubby & farm Premium Member

    Apr 13, 2008
    Bowdon, GA
    If you give too many scraps and treats, they will eat that and not the nutrients they need from the laying mesh. Also, we keep a "light on" for our pens to help them lay to their capacity.

    Hope this was helpful and have a blessed day.
  3. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    I have read so much about what to and what not to feed my chickens--it is very confusing.

    I feel like if they are free ranging--they are getting seeds, bugs, weeds, grasses, berries, etc... and they are eating as much as they want.... If they aren't free ranging and I am feeding them greens, veggie scraps, premium bird seeds that have peanuts, pecans, raisins, millet, milo and BOSS, several 100 crickets every few days.. I feel like I am substituting some of those things that they WOULD be eating... I offer Layena, fresh (twice a day) water, oyster shell and grit --24/7! I have my Layena, in a feeder, in the coop and they eat it in the mornings before I open the coop up and thru out the day....Not as much when they are free ranging !

    I have read that the laying food does NOT cause them to lay, it only provides the essentials for a healthy bird that lays..

    My girls are just starting to lay so I can not compare their diet to laying as of yet..
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2009
  4. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    Quote:You're defeating the higher protein (18%) in Start N Grow by diluting it down with scratch (about 9% at best)...a ratio of 2:1 is giving you 15% protein (maybe) and Layena is 16%. You would be better off going back to a layer pellet and skipping the scratch.

    Personally, we had both rooster and henpecking problems resulting in loss of feathers so we started feeding FlockRaiser (also Purina) at 20% protein and have seen a great improvement in feathers and eggs. You do have to supplement with oyster shell as FR does not contain enough calcium for egglayers.

    We have also used turkey and gamebird feed for short periods (28-30% protein) to help things along.

    You have some of the best egglaying breeds that we know of. I have six 18 month old Rhode Island hens and I routinely get 5 eggs per day on average, some days 4, some days 6. We also have 13 other pullets around at about 22 weeks now. Most of them are already laying every day as well.

    And we limit trimmings, kitchen leftovers, garden stuff to 10% of the daily diet. Ours free range all day. But bugs are scarce in the desert. And the only plants in their run are sagebrush. Even still, I give them a very small amount of extras...just enough to cover the bottom of a 5-gallon pail most days...for 20 birds (13 pullets, 6 hens, roo). 100 pounds of feed crumble lasts us about 6 weeks right now.
  5. tstefanick

    tstefanick Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 14, 2008
    Thank you very much for all the thoughtful replies. I'm glad briteday was able to decipher my thinking as to why we are feeding the start n grow... to up the protein content of the diet. I believe all my questions have been answered...except one. Do you ever feed your chickens bread? I have a friend who feeds bread every day and swears it decreases food cost but not egg laying. What do you think?
  6. Gardeninggranny

    Gardeninggranny Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 29, 2008
    While laying ration doesn't make them lay they won't lay well without all the minerals and vitamens their bodies need in the right quantities. What everyone else said about limiting scraps is good. You do have good laying breeds. This time of year its natural for laying to slow down a bit. Are they molting? Molt causes fewer eggs. Also are you missing some eggs to predators, the hens eating them or because they lay them when they are roaming?

    Make sure the coop is lighted 14 hours a day. Add lights in the morning or evening to achieve this. Don't let them free range until late afternoon and for a few days check boxes several times a day and collect the eggs to see if anything could be eating or stealing them. A friend had dogs that were sneaking in and eating eggs, yet they never bothered the hens.
  7. SteveP612

    SteveP612 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 2, 2009
    Coleman Michigan
    I was wondering the same thing. I have 8 RIR and 1 Plymoth Rock at least that what I think it is. The person we got them from said they were very good layers. Didnt say how many she was getting per day. I am getting 4 eggs a day regulary. I have gotten as many as 8 and as few as 1. I know they get stressed when moved and I have only had them a little over a month. I am feeding them Pen Pals Egg Maker Complete. They also have Osyter Shells. THe people said that they free ranged all day but I cant do that where I live. They also just gave them scratch in the pen. Is there anything else I can do?
  8. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    We have 25, 1-year-old hens. The most eggs we've gotten in one day in 2 months is 14.

    Wow you should be getting at least 20 eggs a day if you have 25 hens..

    I would say lay off the treats and the scratch... I like to keep my hen on about a 18 to a 22% protein feed...

  9. goldielocks

    goldielocks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 2, 2009
    I have 13 hens and 1 rooster. I get 10 to 13 eggs a day. They are on Purina Layena and oyster shell in feed and throw in with scratch. I feed 2 cups of scratch a day and scraps when i have them. They get out for 2 to 3 hours in the evening to free range. My girls love fresh bread. I take out 3 or 4 slices almost everyday and it has never decreased their laying. I feed oatmeal also and in the winter i heat up a big bowl of oats for them.

    I bought 2 hens that were free range and they were to thin. They ate and ate and ate when i brought them home. I felt so sorry for them. In my opinion they need their layer, scratch and scraps along with outside fun time.

    We do have a light coming on at 5am each morning so that helps also.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2009
  10. tstefanick

    tstefanick Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 14, 2008
    I got a bag of Flock Raiser yesterday. Have lights installed in coop. Down to about 13 hrs daylight here in Mich so I am planning to turn them on this weekend. We are cutting out the excess scraps and will give them only what we create...which isn't much. Have a little scratch left and am planning on giving that at a very limited rate. Thanks everybody. Looking to get 16 - 20 eggs today when I get home. [​IMG]

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