Feed Question: Is this good or bad??

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Feanor, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. Feanor

    Feanor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In June I got a lot of golden buff chicks from MPC. I gave six to my cousin and I kept 24 for myself. Well, they are 19 weeks old now, and she is getting four eggs a day from her six and mine don't look anywhere near laying age yet!

    Mine are healthy, well treated, got plenty of space, plenty of access to food and water. The only difference is she feeds hers Nutrena Nature Wise 16% layer feed and I feed mine a 22% layer feed from a local mill. We started feeding them layer feed when they were 16 weeks old. Before then hers ate Nutrena Nature Wise 20% grower and mine had a 20% from a local mill.

    Her chickens:



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    My Chickens

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    So my question is first, is it possible that her feeding them higher quality feed is why they are already laying? On the food label hers and my feed are essentially the same, except they are actually getting more protein with mine, but seem a month behind hers development wise!

    Secondly, is it healthier overall for them to grow slower (like mine) than faster (like hers, already laying) or does it even matter in the long run? Should I switch away from my local feed-mill layer feed? I'm jealous that I'm not getting dozens of eggs yet, especially if it may be because of the quality of my local mill feed!

    My idea is that the Nutrena is tastier, even though basically the same stuff nutritionally, so they ate it faster and grew faster. What do yall think?
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Lots of differing opinions on this. I don't know that there is one right answer. There are other variables besides the basic feed. Insects, added vegetables, grazing, etc. Plus, so you both provide pre-dawn, supplemental light for the birds?

    I have no issue with your birds taking a bit longer. None whatsoever. Super early point of lay isn't be all- end all. Allowing an extra few weeks for skeleton and muscle development is a good thing in my book.
     
  3. Feanor

    Feanor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Fred. I actually thought mine would start laying first because they get about two hours or so of free-ranging every evening whereas hers are in the same run all day. Neither of us have been adding light, we only live about 100 miles apart (northern Mississippi), they both get standard kitchen scraps, nothing special. Literally the only difference is that I've been feeding mine the cheap feed from the local mill (smells super fresh, looks great, about $13 per 50 pounds compared to $18 for Layena), but she gets her feed from TSC so Nutrena instead of a local feed. I have read here that other people say their chickens eat Nutrena way faster than other brands, that's why I think maybe its just tastier to them than the local stuff.

    So I was worried that maybe they're not getting as good nutrition and that was why they are maturing slower. I guess I'll save my worry unless we get to week 25-30 and still no eggs...
     
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    19 weeks old and no laying = no problem. 4 weeks x 5 months = 20 weeks

    My chickens usually start laying around 5 months, and the late bloomers lay at 6 months (silkies can go 7 months LOL).

    You are actually just right!
     
  5. Feanor

    Feanor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    SOO.... 23 weeks and no eggs, while my cousin has been getting 5 or 6 a day from her six pullets for a month! I think I figured it out... She never lets hers free range! I let mine out for most of the afternoon everyday. My cousin has a big run but her pullets never leave it, while I have several acres of woods and field that mine forage in every afternoon. Do you think allowing golden comet pullets to free range could slow their growth so much that they would lay over a month later than if they were just penned up all their lives? I've read about free ranging slowing down growth in broilers, but not layers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Free ranging won't have any effect on laying, except they may be hiding eggs from you! I doubt this is what's happening as you say you only range for a few hours in the evening. I free ranged for years and never had any negative effects except eggs in odd places.

    I can't imagine what the difference is, those little sex links are usually egg laying machines. Have their combs reddened up, or any other signs of maturity?
     
  7. jrottie

    jrottie Out Of The Brooder

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    I am with Donrae, Do you look in the woods, fields etc. for eggs? My girls, especially my extremely intelligent leghorns(ha ha) drop their eggs everywhere when they are out terrorizing the farm. We had one a while back, that laid an egg right under the doorstep, and my wife went out the door, and crunch. We have found them in the doghouse, even in a bag of bedding in the garage. You might want to go on an easter egg hunt my friend. I have literally found them every where from time to time. The older gals prefer the cozy boxes, but the youngins have a lot of world to explore...lol Good Luck.
     
  8. Feanor

    Feanor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I started feeding the girls a big tray of warm mash (just hot water over some pellets with a handful of cracked corn tossed in) and in a week, my egg count exploded from 5 to 15 a day! I have to think that the boost in daily nutrition played a role. I even have hens from three different hatches (separated by about 2 weeks each) all sitting in the nest boxes whereas just 3 weeks ago only the biggest of the older pullets were laying. I went a full three weeks with only 2 pullets laying, and after a week of warm mash in the mornings I'm getting about 2 new layers per day. I think I should change my brand of pellets to something tastier, or else I'll have to give them warm mash every morning forever. But if that's what it takes, I don't care, just happy to finally get some serious eggs!

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