Feeding the Delightful Dozen at 4 months and counting

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Linda in San Diego, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. Linda in San Diego

    Linda in San Diego Songster

    May 11, 2008
    San Diego
    Well, the girls are almost 4 months old. Faces are getting redder all the time, combs and wattles are filling out. The RIR seem to be the most advanced in that area.
    We are getting to the end of our growth feed, time to get more - can I get layer even if they may be days/weeks/a month away from laying?
    Any thoughts?
  2. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Linda, it is difficult to know the maturity of the pullets. Some breeds are very late in beginning to lay. Some will have already started producing eggs at 4 months.

    It appears to me (layman that I am) that too much calcium in their diet is only detrimental during the early weeks of a bird's life. Research has apparently shown that when point of lay is fairly well known, starting a high-calcium diet before the first egg is laid is better than waiting until the hens are in a full production mode.

    With production leghorn-type birds, Keshavarz at Cornell has shown that starting layer feed several weeks before point of lay resulted in no adverse effects and was beneficial to both the health of the hens and the quality of their eggs. His work is cited throughout the industry.

    These findings shouldn't be seen as a green light on layer feed at any old age. Slamming the bodies of very young birds with an excess of anything wouldn't be very wise. Keshavarz was talking about only a few weeks before point of lay.


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