Extra vitamins for egg layers in winter?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by trish5909, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. trish5909

    trish5909 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 28, 2011
    Erin, Ontario, Canada
    Hi, I have a dozen Red Sex Links and 10 Chantecler hens. I had been told that the Red Sex Links stop laying in winter, and only lay regularly for about a year. I got them as pullets in the spring and they are still laying regularly even though it's now December and below freezing. To top it off, most of them are moulting at least a little bit so I don't understand how they can be laying AND moulting??!! Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to still be getting eggs but I don't want to risk their health so I'm wondering if I should be giving them some sort of nutritional boost like vitamins right now. Also, I thought the Chanteclers only lay about once every 2-3 days. I am getting between 14-17 eggs a day from the 22 hens, which is about twice as many as I expected to get on my best days over the winter. javascript:insert_text('[​IMG]',%20'');

    I'm in Southern Ontario so the days are short and it's COLD. The hens refused to go outside at all twice this week. Any advice on winter diets would be appreciated!
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I've never fed them anything except their normal feed, as far as nutrition. By that I mean they should be receiving their normal, maximum nutrition at all times, thus, there' no "boost" for the winter that would be needed. Chickens do experience mini moults. A Red Sex Link won't go into full moult until they are a year old. Very few first year pullets stop laying in the winter and most of the Red Sex Links will lay very, very well their pullet year winter. Enjoy them.

    If you wished, you could give them a bit of high energy feed, just a bit, of scratch or cracked corn. The extra energy wouldn't hurt in their keeping themselves warm. Just a bit, as you don't want them skipping their layer feed. Corn has far less nutrition but the extra carbs would do them no harm.
     
  3. ambrosia

    ambrosia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't give my chickens any vitamins... [​IMG] They just get their regular layer mash, scratch, oyster, grit, and lots of snacks... I have never had so much as a soft shelled egg...
    Maybe because the snacks they are getting are healthy veggies and such? I like to cook up yellow peas, soybeans, hash browns, sweet potatoes, cabbage... but every once in a while when I hear about vitamin supplements available for their water I wonder if i shouldn't invest in some just to be safe...???
     
  4. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    trish5909--

    Having your hens produce so many eggs would be an indication to me that you are doing everything right -- especially up in Ontario. I'd say 'keep up the good work' and even a little dip in egg production shouldn't be indication of anything other than shorter daylight hours...and colder temps in winter.

    Since the hens were raised to produce eggs, it probably isn't a 'strain' on them. I think that thay take it in stirde.

    I also think that perhaps some of the comments about the shorter-laying life of sexlinks are related to the statistics of comercial production where an 'all in, all out' policy is usually followed for biosecurity, and a dip in egg production for commercial egg facilities is a far bigger hit (let's say a 10% or 15% drop after 1 1/2 or 2-years.) For the home flock raiser, it could be something that isn't much of a 'hit'. I have heard of people on the forum with sexlinks that continue being valuable even after the magic first year.

    I also have heard that sexlinks can molt and continue to lay......they don't care about feathers as much as eggs.
    I Hope you keep getting all the eggs that you want.
     
  5. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Any green or orange veggie is good to add. I grow mustard greens, kale, weeds, annual rye. They also get produce trimmings like squash guts, melon guts, carrot peelings and any other produce trimmings that happen to go in my big pot next to the sink each day. Old tomatoes, parsley, mint, cilantro,stuff past it's prime from the fruit and veggie bins.since you're in a cold climate, perhaps you could get some pumpkins for them and smash them, maybe do some sprouts? Mung beans and fenugreek seem to be my chicken's favorites, along with oat sprouts.
    Any of this will make your yolks nice and orange, too.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  6. trish5909

    trish5909 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 28, 2011
    Erin, Ontario, Canada
    Thanks for the input. I've been giving them carrots, cabbage and other fruit & veggie peelings but I'll add some of the other things listed. I put out some corn for them in the yard yesterday. Most of the people I know who have chickens don't keep them over the winter -- they buy pullets in the spring and get rid of them in the fall but I want to have mine for a long time! (P.S. a couple of those fair-weather chicken people are now getting their eggs from me!)
     
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    My Coop
    I do buy 22% protein poultry feed for my birds. They get other treats and vegies too.
     

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