feed for old hens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by hensonly, Sep 23, 2011.

  1. hensonly

    hensonly Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2008
    upstate NY
    Hey, all,

    I have four sex links, three and a half years old. They lay only occasionally - should I still be giving them layer feed, or would they be better on something else? The few eggs they do lay are either shell-less or so thin that they are broken in the nest box. About once every week or ten days we get a "real" egg. They have oyster shell in their run, too, and they aren't touching it.

    Thanks for any input.
  2. ChicKat

    ChicKat Chicken Obsessed Premium Member


    That is a tough one--- not much information that I have seen about the 'care and feeding' of older chickens. They need 'senior formula' like they make for cats, dogs and horses.

    Seriously now, Tracy in Washington just had a really fast turnaround on soft shells by adding ACV to the chickens water. I would guess that the nutritional needs of older hens are a little diffeent than when they are in their prime. If they are ignoring the oyster shell, then they probably don't need it. If you are sure that they have no parasite problems, and that they are getting adequate nutrition, then maybe they are just getting "old" in chicken years.

    I will be interested to hear what advice you get from other people on this forum!
  3. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Yes if it were me I'd offer Flock Raiser or something similar which doesn't have the added calcium and offer oyster shell on the side. Very good point- save their kidneys from damage from all the added calcium in the Layer! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2011
  4. hensonly

    hensonly Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2008
    upstate NY
    Guess I should have said, they're currently on Layena ... is Flock Raiser the chick starter version? It is a Purina product, yes? how about the protein content of food meant for supporting the fast growth of chicks?? would it be ok for older hens? I wouldn't feed my senior dogs on puppy food...

  5. aggie9296

    aggie9296 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 28, 2011
    Panama City, FL
    I use flock raiser (Nutrena) and it does have higher protein than layer or starter feed. So the higher protein should not be a problem for older hens, especilly as they have trouble maintaining muscle mass. Seems like the extra calcium is worse for them and their kidneys.
  6. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    First a 3 year old hen isn't all that old but with that being said, a hen that is not laying regularly and is not in high production does not need as high amount of protein as she would if she was in high production. By feeding Flock Raiser you will be over feeding protein that she doesn't need. She would be better off on a feed that is around 16 - 18% protein.

  7. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Here's the info. on flock raiser. I have read that a lot of folks on BYC feed this forever as they prefer the higher protein content. I don't feed this myself usually, but bought hens and they came with a few bags of flock raiser. So I am mixing it into the feed now to get rid of it.

    I would personally feed flock raiser and give some scratch on the side (I have read that some do this to save money as scratch is cheaper).
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2011
  8. FuzzyButtsFarm

    FuzzyButtsFarm Rest in Peace 1950-2013

    Nutrena and MannaPro flock raiser are 18% protein.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2011

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