Feed and Eggs


10 Years
May 6, 2013
Need some advice -

Have 8 - 20 week old hens. Mixed group... BO, RIR, Black, and EE's They just started laying and I think only two (BO's) are laying at this time.

I assume they start at different times and this is no reason for concern?

Have just switched from Grower to Layer feed when I saw the first eggs. Q : All eating layer pellets now...OK?

I leave feeder out and loaded 24/7..... They are all fat as pigs... They get 6-8 hours free ranging daily..... bu.t access to run and feed 24/7.

Q: Should I leave and endless supply of feed out for them now or should I limit to a daily ration given the free range time?

Q: Given free range time, how much layer feed would you expect 8 hens to consume per Day/week?

My first group. I would say they are definitely on the heavy side. Don't want to over feed and save some $ if possible.
I'm not experienced at all, just have done a lot of reading. I'm keeping mine on starter/grower until they are all laying. They have oyster shell available to them so anybody who starts laying can get the calcium they need. But I've also read that layer feed for young birds is only a problem for those who are very young.
Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will come by. :)
I have never provided layer feed for my flock; too many youngsters AND I have chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese and a peacock, so I give them Nutrena All Flock. (Purina and other brands have similar combination feeds, like FlockRaiser or "all purpose.")

The feeders are topped off twice a day so there is always food available. Generally, the only treats they get are a daily "hand feeding training" session of BOSS (Black Oil Sunflower Seed), a head of cabbage hung from a shepherd's hook a couple of times a week plus other vegetable or fruit stuffs.

I am sorta "fluffy" myself, so there are few leftovers or kitchen scraps. ;)
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I switch my girls when they are 16 weeks old. I have had them start laying as early as 16.5 weeks. Your avg chicken will eat 1/4lb of feed per day with access to fresh grass and bugs. I don't give them 24hr access, they don't eat at night anyway and I am able to get out early in the morning to get them up and feed them. Taking food up at night also helps with any vermin that might come by and eat and get into their food. Hope this helps you a little. I also feed them 22% layer feed and scratch with oyster shells and always fresh water.
If they free range that much you might want to try confining them for a few days and see if they're laying elsewhere.

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