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Feeding cabbages resulted in smaller eggs???

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by oldblackjoe, Mar 23, 2017.

  1. oldblackjoe

    oldblackjoe Hatching

    Feb 7, 2017
    My flock of 25 hens were producing normal size eggs (mix bag of M, L & XL) throughout the late winter. Three weeks ago, in addition to the usual layer feed, I started to feed them some veggie scraps provided by a restaurant friend, as well as soaked non-GMO wheat. Lately, cabbages were dirt cheap (9 cents per pound) the last two weeks as part of St Paddy's Day sale, so I threw couple whole cabbages at them every evening and would be fully consumed by next pm.

    The end result is more and more eggs are in the S & XS size range, as high as 4 out of every 10 eggs. I do let them free range on weekends.

    Any suggestions on this cabbage OD small eggs symptom? I really prefer not to go back to the 100% layer feed route. Thanks & happy byc!

  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    That makes perfect sense to me.
    The size of the egg is, other than breed and age of hen, dictated by protein intake.
    The amount of albumen and size of yolk are enhanced by essential amino acids (primary content of those 2 elements). After the yolk and albumen are produced, the shell will cover that, regardless of the yolk size or amount of albumen that hits the shell gland.
    There's no protein in cabbage and very little in wheat.
    You have discovered the problem with avoiding a nutritionally complete feed.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Ditto Dat^^^

    Start feeding a higher protein ration if you want to include other foods, still gotta keep it in balance tho.
    Can't feed too many other foods or they won't get enough of the vitamins, minerals, amino acids provided in the ration to uptake nutrients.

    I like to feed a flock raiser/grower/finisher 20% protein crumble full time to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat. I do grind up the crumbles (in the blender) for the chicks for the first week or so.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Animal protein (a freshly trapped mouse, mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided once in while and during molting and/or if I see any feather eating.

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