Feeding Questions...Please Help!!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by saraiquimby1, May 9, 2016.

  1. saraiquimby1

    saraiquimby1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK. My hens (all about 1 1/2 years old) have been on a 16% layer feed since they started laying. They used to lay about an egg a day (I have 10). Almost a month ago, we introduced 7 8 week old pullets into the coop too. Everyone is settled, they are all together now and have been for a few weeks with no issues. I give them a cup or so of cracked corn (left over from winter) and BOSS as a treat/scratch in the evening.
    Lately we have only been getting about 4-6 eggs a day. I understand that the stress of adding the youngsters can screw things up but they all seem fine, just not laying well at all anymore, and it's been over a month.. What can I do? Is there a better food to be feeding them? I honestly have very limited options because of the feed stores around. But I feel like it has to be diet related. They don't free range, but I take out left overs and veggies and such from the kitchen about 3 times a week for them..

    Right now since the babies are out there too, they are getting half chick starter and half layer feed because I'm finishing up the two bags. But what should I put them all on after this? I also constantly have out oyster shell for them. Im just needing some guidance on what to feed. Here are my only options at our local Rural King (which is now about the only option in feed stores around): This obviously doesn't include the meat bird foods, but these are my only options..What do I use? How do i help them all lay better?

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  2. limited25

    limited25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Think 1 1/2 years old is when they go into a molt ... so type first molt into the search bar and see if your chicken's description (how their feathers look) matches what they say. They don't always go into a hard molt though, and I think they start losing their feathers around their neck area first. That's the only suggestion I would have.
     
  3. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, my first question would be, "Have they molted yet?" If not, that's most likely your case. Like limited25 said, not all molts are hard molts, in which they lose a lot of feathers. Soft molts are mild...they look a little "roughed up" or scraggly, but don't have huge bare patches of skin.

    As for feeding them, it's a good idea to feed them extra protein during a molt, which will last 2-3 months. Either the All Flock or Feather Fixer would be good for that...Feather Fixer is supposed to be specifically for birds recovering from a molt. Also, some folks consider 16% Layer feed to be the bare minimum protein (I think the "official" number is 14%) for laying hens and therefore feed year-round a 17-19% protein feed. We do this and it seems to work well. If your chickens free range, they may be able to get extra protein during warm months when bugs are around. If they are cooped up 24/7 then supplementing with a higher protein feed isn't a bad idea. Extra protein won't hurt them...if they don't need it, it simply passes through their body.
     
  4. Choco Maran

    Choco Maran Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have seveal hens going though a molt right now and I have changed to Feather Fixer for them. I are still layer and getting feather in as well. If it was me I would mix feather fixer and one of the other feeds together. If you can get scratch maybe mix this in as well. It has helped me.
     
  5. saraiquimby1

    saraiquimby1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I don't understand why like all of the layer feeds have only 16% protein then, if that's the bare minimum...how am i supposed to know that? lol So would it be ok to feed them like all flock all year round, simply because it's higher protein?
     
  6. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, you can feed all flock or other higher % protein feed year round. Keep a dish of crushed oyster shell on the side for calcium for eggs. This is what I do as well as many others. Works great and I never have to guess if they are getting enough protein.

    Layer feed is basically an inexpensive food of convenience, IMO. They don't need the extra calcium in layer feed when they molt but they can often benefit from extra protein.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2016
  7. saraiquimby1

    saraiquimby1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok. @pdirt Thank you for your help. And I'm not sure if they are molting or not. Had to get rid of a rooster because he was making my girls bald, so it's hard to tell if they are molting or just still look awful from him. But they are right about to be 1 1/2 years old. So that may be part of it too. Ive only had chickens since February of last year, so i'm still very new to this. I want to make sure I am doing all I can for my girls.
     

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