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Feed VS Egg Production

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Phelanite, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. Phelanite

    Phelanite Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 4, 2009
    Phelan, California
    Ok I'm pretty new at this but I have been experimenting with amounts of feed and quality of feed. I have 49 chickens 20 sexlinks (Although it looks like 1 could be a New Hampshire), 15 Rhode Island Reds, 14 White Leghorns, 1 Black Leghorn. From what I have searched on the site you could feed anywhere from 2ounces per day to 5 ounces per day of feed, The chickens have been laying for 2 1/2 months now however only around 30 eggs per day. I have a light that comes on at 3:30 am which provides about 14 hours of light this time of year. I have been feeding about a pound of food per chicken per week (which is on the least side of things) until 7 days ago when decided to feed more about 2 pounds per chicken per week. They also get goodies every day any where from watermellon to lettice, bread, table scraps ect. I was not giving them any oyster shell at all as I thought layer pellets would be sufficiant. I didn't have weak shells but when hard boiled they were a bear to peel and half the egg came off as well. I started oyster shell when I increased the food amount which was a 50/50 mixture of layer pellets and 23% protien turkey/gamebird feed. Which really has worked out well as the birds look good/health/strong. So my point? Today I had 41 eggs and most were larger. Is this a result of increased food amount? Or the oyster shell? The birds looked healthy with the lesser amount of feed however they seemed to be pretty agressive at feeding time. I was feeding once a day and have now for 7 days been feeding 2 times a day. Rhode Islands are also noted for agrresive behavor so I don't know if this feeding arrangement has mellowed them out but it does seem a little better. Comments please.
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    My guess would be that the increased protein is the reason for the increased production. Layer is often only 16% protein, cheap for commercial purposes, but I feel insufficient for optimum health. I would continue the oyster shell, though, as evidently some hens have more need for calcium supplement than others. It is not an expensive item, takes mine forever to go through a bag, and I feel it helps prevent anyone from laying soft shelled eggs, which of course is a health hazard for them.

    The problem with peeling hard boiled eggs is related to their freshness, not their quality. There are several threads on this forum on how to resolve this problem. Here is one: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=115799 I use the method in the first post; works fine for me.
     
  3. lalaland

    lalaland Overrun With Chickens

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    Are you withholding feed during the day? When you say feeding twice a day....I'ld suggest having food available 24-7 (as well as fresh water, too). If you have to add food to their feeders twice a day, you might want to look into larger sized feeders or more feeders. It might be the increased protein, but I'm thinking it might be the more available feed if they were without feed part of the day before you moved to feeding twice a day.

    I also think that the increased size is likely due more to the increase age of your flock - in the beginning, hens lay "pullet" sized eggs, gradually laying larger eggs til they get to whatever is going to be their personal standard size.
     
  4. Phelanite

    Phelanite Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 4, 2009
    Phelan, California
    I feed 2 times a day and there is a little feed left each time in the feeders as they seem to get full and start walking away from it. Of course through the day they will eat the rest. I feed in the morning and at about 3:30 pm as well. I have 3 feeders now hanging and spread some out on a shelf as well. If I was to dump a 50lb bag into the feeders they will eat it up in 2 1/2 days as I have done it while on vacation. I have not found info for Sexlinks but I know people say the Rhode Island Reds are pigs so I assume thge Sexlinks being large birds are the same Not so much for the Leghorns. Water is 24/7.
     
  5. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    My Coop
    I would suggest feeding free choice - at least for their waking hours. That way they can eat as much as they need to keep themselves healthy and be able to spare the extra nutrition to produce eggs.
     
  6. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    Chickens do not over eat and generally only get fat if fed fattening treats too much without enough room to exercise. If one breed eats more than another it's because they are less efficient at using feed than another. They should still have poultry feed available in unlimited amounts if you want the most eggs. They'll live without all the feed they want especially if free ranging but they won't be as healthy as they could and they won't lay as much as they could.
     
  7. twentynine

    twentynine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quality feed in---- quality eggs out.

    I think egg production and quality are directly tied to feed quality and protein content.

    If I read correctly you have nearly 50 full grown hens. Treats? You would have to feed them treats by the 5 gallon bucket full. One water mellon rind don't go far with 50 beeks to fill.
     
  8. Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay Chillin' With My Peeps

    If the egg production increased after you started providing more feed the you were restriciting nutrients before which resulted in lack of production.

    Fill the feeder with a quality layer ration, limit the 'goodies' so you don't dilute the nutrition from the layer ration.

    Jim
     
  9. JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom

    JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think it is the protein and having the feed available all the time.

    "Treats" are not necessary. They are useful for those of us trying to tame specific birds to be easily caught, carried and worked with (kid's fair exhibits) and as entertainment.

    At one point we have 42 young birds in a pasture next to a pie cherry tree. The kids would enjoy picking cherries and throwing them to the birds till they all looked full. I didn't get any cherries for people this year, but the kids and chickens sure had a good time.
     
  10. PandoraTaylor

    PandoraTaylor RT Poultry n Things

    Jun 29, 2009
    Alaska
    I feed my 37 chickens from 3 outside feeders (3lb, 7lb, and 11lb)and I have a built in one in the hen house. I go through roughly 50lbs of layer crumbles, 8-10 lbs of Cracked Corn, 3-5 lbs vegetable greens & fruit 1-2lbs Oystershell, 1-2 lbs of grit a week. in addition to the grass & bugs they get on their own in the summer.

    I have 1 large roo and I believe I have 2 smaller roos, the rest should be hens.
    I gather between 18-24 eggs at this point all but 4 are this years chicks, 4 adult layers were given to me this spring. the range in age on my chicks are about 22-25 weeks.

    all feeders are topped every other day.....Oystershell and grit are refilled every 3-4 days. Cracked corn is given every couple of days as a treat and to help move the chickens out of the way for cleaning of nests, coop & hen house .
     

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