Feeding hens to lay

hillbilly91

Free Ranging
5 Years
Jan 2, 2016
2,603
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Westminster sc
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
 

junebuggena

Crowing
Apr 17, 2015
23,102
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491
Long Beach, WA
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.
 

hillbilly91

Free Ranging
5 Years
Jan 2, 2016
2,603
4,029
576
Westminster sc
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
 

junebuggena

Crowing
Apr 17, 2015
23,102
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Long Beach, WA
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.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
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Nov 27, 2012
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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.
 

Cel45

Songster
Oct 28, 2015
663
65
139
Houston, Tx
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.

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?
 

MeepBeep

Songster
5 Years
 
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.



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?


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...
 
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junebuggena

Crowing
Apr 17, 2015
23,102
8,207
491
Long Beach, WA
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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