Feeding hens food that is not "layer feed"


8 Years
May 7, 2011
I read today on our state chicken rescue site, that laying an egg daily shortens their lives. Mine never miss a day! Now I have my hens as pets, and they produce WAY more eggs than I can eat or give away and I do not raise them for eggs at all.
It mentioned if you feed them food with a lot of protein and calcium such as layer feed, they lay as much as they can.

Now I am sure some of you dont understand why I would want to change their diets and not care about their eggs but does anyone else feed them food other than the layer kind?

Any suggestions? thoughts?
The problem partially is that the hen is already set up genetically for a certain rate of egg production IMO, and if you reduced their feed, it may cause other health problems...

However........... There is a non-medicated 'grower feed' that is something like 15% protein...TSC has it. I think the brand is DuMore

so maybe reducing their nutrition would slow them down. I have also heard that longer hours of darkness will lessen laying.

But are you sure you don't want to just keep your chickens healthy as possible, and not try to change what they are already destined to do?

I do understand how you would do what you think would lengthen their lives..... I'm not 100% certain that a daily egg is a threat to the chicken's well being.
i have to agree with that, if the hen is not getting enough nutrition to lay an egg, she's severely malnourished. I wonder who came up with that theory anyway, I think it's unfounded, after all human being produce a egg every month and jeepers...
I agree with the other 2 posts and I also think that "chicken rescue site" is off there rocker.

There are people on here that keep their hens as pets and enjoy the eggs too. In their 2nd or 3rd year, production slows down. However, with good care and proper nutrition they can live to be 10-15 years old. Keep them on a good diet and they will be much healthier for it.
Ok, thanks for your input!

I will definitely stick with layer feed. I never heard of that until today and I kind of thought to myself "great"
Is it normal that they lay everyday, even in the winter? I read in articles and what not that my breeds lay 3-4 a week so I just was curious if mine were bred differently to produce more.

But I do want to give them really good food, and layer feed is fine by me if you guys think thats best. What is the best brand? I only have 2 so money isnt a huge deal to me. I have had them a year and have spent only $20 on feed so far!
Also, I dont exactly know what a good diet is, is there a good article or topic you can point to me to break it down?

I usually just keep their feed out at all times for them to come and go as they please. I will through out probably 2 cups of a oatmeal/bird food mix that has sunflower seeds, peanuts, and a few others. (thats 1 cup each probably!) And will give them plates of veggies, fruit, cheese, and bread maybe every other day. Is it ok if I were to feed them as much of that stuff as I want? I mean it is all healthy so can it be considered a bad diet?
you can check with a feed store and give them a basic maintainence free choice diet, or layer mash, it is formulated to be nutrionally complete. You can toss them anything you want, as long as they're well fed they won't eat harmful things. Now there is a complete list of foods chickens can have, and can't have,but you'll have to search for it....

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