Feed for laying hens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by nanceann, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. nanceann

    nanceann Chirping

    Jun 12, 2012
    Amsterdam, MO
    So, my husband and I have always just fed cracked corn and scratch grains to our flock. We currently have 6 Rhode Island Reds that are laying they are about 1.5 years old; but we only get 3-4 eggs per day. We also have 7 black sexlings; 6 gold comets; 5 barred rocks and 3 Easter eggers that are all about 15-16 weeks old. They all free range during the day. Should we change their diet? I never really knew there was different food for laying. They also get small amounts of bread as treats, and any fruits or veggies I have that are going bad. I give them egg shells every couple days.

    Should all be on layer food? there are also 3 roosters; 1 RIR; 2 EE. RIR is 1.5 years old, EE's are about 15-16 weeks.
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Corn has 7-9% protein and scratch has around 10% (at least the scratch I have bought is 10%).

    Layer feed is 16% protein. It has too much calcium for roosters technically (hurts the kidneys), although I would venture to say that many people just don't worry about it. So, since some of your flock is not quite at the point of lay, I wouldn't switch to layer feed yet if it were me...I'd buy some Flock Raiser or unmedicated chick starter or grower.

    You can take good care of your roosters by feeding Flock Raiser (20% protein) to everyone, and offer oyster shells in a pan or thrown on the ground for your layers. They will pick it up as they need it.

    Or, alternatively, you can feed non-medicated chick starter or grower to everyone and give the oyster shell as described above.

    I wouldn't keep feeding just corn and/or scratch though. I do feed corn myself (and wheat) with other things added (make my own layer feed). Making eggs takes a LOT of protein (as does making new feathers when they molt) so it is good to give them a lot of protein in the feed.

    It wouldn't hurt at all to give your corn/scratch at 10% of the diet, since your teenage chickens would probably benefit from not being at the 20% protein level (better for them to be around 17% I have read).

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