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Feeding Milk to Laying Hens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Barry Natchitoches, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Songster

    Sep 4, 2008
    I have two production reds I got from a local dairy farm that is downsizing -- fantastic birds! They are only about nine months old now, and they lay almost every single day -- a big (especially for their size) chocolate brown egg that has to be at least AA quality.

    I love the birds!

    HOWEVER, after about six weeks of intensive laying here at my place, I started to notice thinner shells.

    I knew that the dairy farm I got them from fed their chickens older raw milk. ("Older" milk, in this case, is defined as milk that is too old to sell to the public -- which means it is about three days old, since this farm only sells the most high quality and FRESHEST milk.) So I went back to the farm and the farmer gave me some of the same milk she feeds her own chickens.

    The reds took to the milk immediately, and some of my other birds took to it pretty quickly as well. (Other birds have not shown any interest at all in it.) I have a pint sized waterer that I put one pint of milk in each morning, and I leave it in the henhouse for a few hours until it is empty, or else I do my noontime watering (whichever comes first). Most days they finish the pint of milk before the noontime watering.

    I've fed the hens milk for one week now. I KNOW the reds are drinking their share of the milk, and others are drinking alot too.

    The thin shell problem I saw on the red's eggs has gone away. I'm really happy about that.

    HOWEVER -- I've noticed that some of the egg shell colors are getting considerably lighter. In fact, even though I do not have any white egg layers in my flock, for the first time in the two years I've had farm fresh eggs in the back yard, I had somebody drop a large and healthy COMPLETELY WHITE EGG! I mean that egg is as white as any you buy at the grocery store!

    I have my birds separated -- the two chocolate colored red birds in one area, my two blue egg layers in another area, and the 9 regular brown egg layers in the large main henhouse. All have been drinking milk for a week. Because they are segregated by egg color, I know which eggs come from chocolate brown layers, which come from blue egg layers and which come from regular brown egg layers.

    The completely white egg came from one of my regular brown egg layers, but an egg that was 99% white (just the slightest hint of any shading) came from one of my blue egg layers. Meantime, both of my chocolate egg layers egg colors have softened a bit, one layer's eggs being lighter than the other.

    Is it normal for milk to lighten the color of the egg shells?

    Except for the change in egg color, the milk seems to be improving the quality of eggs coming from my girls. And I know that the dairy farm I got the latest hens AND the milk from is known for producing the best egg quality to be found anywhere in west Tennessee.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2010

  2. lindseythefork

    lindseythefork Songster

    Aug 31, 2008
    Humboldt County, CA
    I don't know if feeding milk will alter egg color, but have you thought about giving them maybe some oyster shell instead to supplement calcium?
  3. palochknldy

    palochknldy Chirping

    Jun 7, 2010
    Palo, Iowa
    Maybe give them chocolate milk to keep the eggs brown. HA. We give our girls a piece of bread soaked in milk every day and we haven't noticed any difference in egg color, but maybe because the milk is in small amounts.

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