Feeding layer at 19 weeks?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by truchicks, Sep 21, 2016.

  1. truchicks

    truchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am raising my 1st small flock and I have enough grower to get me through this week. My chickens will be 19 weeks on the 26th. Can I start them on layer a week early? I feed them scratch and peck feed and they recommend starting layer at 20 weeks. I hate to buy another bag of grower for just 1 more week. What do the experts think? TIA
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2016
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    What breeds are they?
     
  3. truchicks

    truchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Black Australorp, Salmon Favorelle, Lavendar Orpington, & Speckled Sussex :)
     
  4. limited25

    limited25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also feed my chickens scratchandpeck feed. I fed grower until 20 weeks and then switched to layer like you are thinking about doing.

    Still buying that brand a year later but have switched back to grower only, which is fine to feed to all except those not old enough to eat grower. I offer oyster shells in a separate container. The grower has a higher protein percentage and is fine for laying hens also.
     
  5. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Could be awhile before any of them are ready to start laying. Pullets that mature in fall take longer to start laying. Faverolle and Orpingtons are not typically 20 week layers. They usually average about 24 weeks or more.
    You may not realize this, but you don't actually have to feed layer to get eggs. There is no magic ingredient in it. Just less protein and a lot more calcium. Maturing birds need as much protein as you can give them, so keeping them on grower till they start laying is a better choice. Also, if you like to give treats or extras to your flock, or if they free range, layer feed may not be a good choice even once they all are laying. Layer feed has just barely enough protein in it to support laying. When you give too many extras, the overall amount of protein becomes diluted and problems can arise. If hens don't get enough protein they can't produce eggs, and they also may begin to eat eggs or start picking and eating feathers off the other birds.
     
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  6. truchicks

    truchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much for the info and advice. I will buy another bag of grower for them. I do let them free range and I grow my own meal worms for them. I also give them black oil sunflower seeds on occasion as treats.
     
  7. truchicks

    truchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cool! I will stick to the grower :)
     
  8. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi. [​IMG]

    I wouldn't give layer until I saw the first egg. But, @junebuggena has it right.

    I use "all flock or flock raiser" with 20% protein and oyster shell on the side. Not all of my birds lay. They are different ages and eventually some will molt while others don't. And I have cockerels. Too much calcium long term can cause kidney issues. Only the birds who need it will use the oyster shell. I think the higher protein is better when they are still growing or replacing feathers.

    If you do switch to layer in the future, you don't have to throw out your grower.

    I am no expert, just sharing what info I do have.

    Congrats on your first flock! All nice breeds. And it's a lot of fun being able to tell them apart. Plus you might even be able to tell who laid which egg. When my BR are in the box I can't tell them apart. And their eggs are all about the same shape, color, and size. [​IMG] Plus I have 48 chickens total with many just starting to lay. I can tell everyone else apart except my 3 BR. I love all the eye candy! [​IMG] Hope you enjoy as much as I do!
     
  9. truchicks

    truchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]

    Thank you!!! I love them so much and they are so much fun to watch. Getting eggs from these gals will just be icing on the cake :)
     

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