Feeding hens to lay

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hillbilly91, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. hillbilly91

    hillbilly91 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have hen that are between 8months and a year. Breads are wyandotte, barnavelder, cochins and mixes. They still aint laying yet. I buy laying pellets and they usually have a small handful of feed left over the next day when i feed them again. Always have freash water. Is there something im doing wrong or do i need to feed them a different feed? Any advice will be greatly appreciated
     
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Pullets that mature in the fall/winter can take longer to mature. Layer feed is for actively laying birds only. It's protein content is too low for developing birds, and it's calcium content is too high.
    A grower feed should be fed until all the birds in a flock are laying, supplementing with crushed oyster shell for those who need it.
    Good news is that the days are getting longer now, so they should start laying soon.
     
  3. hillbilly91

    hillbilly91 Out Of The Brooder

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    So i should feed them a starter/grower and some oyster shells to help them untill they start laying. Do i need to slowly switch them to the new feed or just all at once
     
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Yes, you should switch as soon as possible. You can switch it all at once.
    It's a common misconception that Layer feed will make pullets lay sooner, or that there is something in it that makes them lay better. I find that my flock produces better if left on a higher protein feed than layer feed, so I don't even bother with the stuff. Everyone gets grower from hatch to death. So much simpler, and no more worrying about young birds and roosters eating too much calcium.
     
  5. hillbilly91

    hillbilly91 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the advice. Maybe my family can get some eggs soon lol
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Just wanted to make clear that the oyster shells should be in a separate container not mixed in with the feed.
     
  7. Cel45

    Cel45 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, so this raises a question. If I have one Production Red that is laying every day and her companion, also a Production Red is not laying at all, I should not be feeding laying crumbles?
     
  8. Cel45

    Cel45 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Let me add that they are both 29 weeks old.
     
  9. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    You should be feeding them both the starter/grower or an all flock with a side of oyster shells... Once they both are laying you can switch to a layer feed if you choose or continue the grower/starter or all flock with a side of oyster shells...

    The only thing special about layer feed is that it has a higher level of calcium supplement, this higher level of calcium is only needed by actively laying birds, the excess calcium can cause health issues in growing birds and roosters or other non-laying birds...
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
  10. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Like I said, layer feed is for actively laying birds only. If there are birds in your flock that are not laying, for one reason or another, layer feed should not be offered. The extra calcium in layer feed is too much for a bird that is not using that calcium for eggshell production. It can not easily be expelled by the body and will build up in the kidneys. Overtime, that calcium buildup will eventually cause the kidneys to fail, killing the bird.
     

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