Feed vs Genetic Potential

SunnySideUpGUAM

Songster
Jan 3, 2016
163
28
109
GUAM True Paradise
Hey everyone,

this one always bugs me, how much influence does feed really have on the birds development? Can it make a bird mature faster than its own genetic potential? Can it make a bird lay earlier than its genetics say its ready to lay?
 

Chris09

Circle (M) Ranch
10 Years
Jun 1, 2009
10,999
584
328
Ohio
Hey everyone,

this one always bugs me, how much influence does feed really have on the birds development? Can it make a bird mature faster than its own genetic potential? Can it make a bird lay earlier than its genetics say its ready to lay?
In short answer..

Q - How much influence does feed really have on the birds development?
A - It has a lot to do with a birds development.

Q - Can it make a bird mature faster than its own genetic potential?
A - No.

Q - Can it make a bird lay earlier than its genetics say its ready to lay?
A - No.
 

SunnySideUpGUAM

Songster
Jan 3, 2016
163
28
109
GUAM True Paradise
the reason I'm asking is because when it comes time for me to switch pullets over to layer feed, there is so much controversy, some feeds say start them at 16wks, some say 18-20 weeks. Then there is a farmer i know that waits for pullets to lay and after each pullet has laid a certain amount of eggs they switch to layer feed.

Why not just feed layer feed a little earlier than you expect your pullet to lay? Is it bad to get too much of the calcium and other layer nutrition early on? Some women take prenatal vitamins before they get pregnant, why not pullets?
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,478
20,698
907
Southeast Louisiana
On the Layer versus Grower, look at the analysis on the label. You may have different brands but the only significant different I see is in the calcium. Protein, fiber, fats, all that stuff is essentially the same. You might be feeding something other than Grower, but from the Grower feeds I see you do not increase any nutrient other than calcium by switching to Layer. The ones I see the Grower actually has slightly higher amounts of practically all nutrients than Layer so you would be reducing nutrients.

I saw a study once where they looked at feeding the commercial egg layers extra calcium early to see if it had any effect on egg laying. The results were that preloading calcium made no difference.

I agree that a pullet cannot lay earlier than her genetic potential, but how you feed them can affect when they start to lay. If you want a pullet to start laying sooner rather than later increase her protein. Protein will have more effect than calcium.

The commercial egg laying operations do not want their pullets to start laying as soon as genetically possible. They find that the flock is healthier and more productive over the laying season if they delay onset of laying a bit. They mainly use lights for that but they also feed a 15% protein instead of 16% for a month or so to help slow onset of laying.
 

junebuggena

Crowing
Apr 17, 2015
23,102
8,206
491
Long Beach, WA
The main difference between layer feed and grower rations is that layer has extra calcium to support good eggshell quality. A complete, balanced feed is essential for proper growth and development so that a bird can reach it's maximum genetic potential. It can not change the genetic potential.
 

Chris09

Circle (M) Ranch
10 Years
Jun 1, 2009
10,999
584
328
Ohio
the reason I'm asking is because when it comes time for me to switch pullets over to layer feed, there is so much controversy, some feeds say start them at 16wks, some say 18-20 weeks. Then there is a farmer i know that waits for pullets to lay and after each pullet has laid a certain amount of eggs they switch to layer feed.

Why not just feed layer feed a little earlier than you expect your pullet to lay? Is it bad to get too much of the calcium and other layer nutrition early on? Some women take prenatal vitamins before they get pregnant, why not pullets?

To much calcium to early in life can cause health issues one being a overload of calcium with no way to get rid of it.
A adult hen that is laying eggs gets rid of extra calcium by forming eggshells and needs the extra calcium to form a good egg shell.
Chicks, Growing birds, Rooster and Non-Laying Hens do to age, season, mold, illness etc. don't need the extra calcium and have no real way of extracting the extra calcium.
 

Chris09

Circle (M) Ranch
10 Years
Jun 1, 2009
10,999
584
328
Ohio
The main difference between layer feed and grower rations is that layer has extra calcium to support good eggshell quality. A complete, balanced feed is essential for proper growth and development so that a bird can reach it's maximum genetic potential. It can not change the genetic potential.


Calcium and vitamin D in most cases are the only thing different.
Remember without the proper amount of vitamin D the calcium can not be used properly.
 

SunnySideUpGUAM

Songster
Jan 3, 2016
163
28
109
GUAM True Paradise
thanks everyone!

ok so far I'm getting that protein may bring forth eggs fast, preloading pullets on calcium(switching to layer feed a couple weeks early) may not be bad at all, and there is no way for a bird to expel excess calcium.
 

junebuggena

Crowing
Apr 17, 2015
23,102
8,206
491
Long Beach, WA
Depending on the breed, they could still be a few months from being ready to lay. Just be patient and keep them on the grower.
To much calcium to early in life can cause health issues one being a overload of calcium with no way to get rid of it.
A adult hen that is laying eggs gets rid of extra calcium by forming eggshells and needs the extra calcium to form a good egg shell.
Chicks, Growing birds, Rooster and Non-Laying Hens do to age, season, mold, illness etc. don't need the extra calcium and have no real way of extracting the extra calcium.
Too much calcium will build up in the kidneys. It will cause damage. I know waiting is hard, but switching them to layer will not get them laying any sooner. It's just dumping excess calcium into their systems. Not worth the risk, in my opinion.
 

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