Feeding when not in laying season

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by tmcoulombe, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. tmcoulombe

    tmcoulombe New Egg

    Aug 16, 2016
    I am new to chicken (since March) and have 6 hens laying and am curious whether the should stay on layer feed in their "off season"? I am a nurse but for people and don't want to create any kidney issues
  2. CluckerCottage

    CluckerCottage Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hens don't stop laying throughout the winter-- they just slow down if there's no artificial lighting.
    If they're on layer feed now, there's no reason to change it according to the season. Their kidneys will not suffer from excess calcium.
    Also, try to feed them fresh fruits and veggies during the winter months.
    Tuna, black oil sunflower seeds, scrambled eggs are other great foods for them.
    Best wishes,
  3. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    Welcome to BYC
    Those who are cautious about it tend to go to a calcium low feed year round and put out a calcium supplement for those who need it.
  4. tmcoulombe

    tmcoulombe New Egg

    Aug 16, 2016
    Thank You.
    Our chickie kids are already getting the fruits and veggies but will add other shortly. My husband is already teasing me for bringing home "goodies" for chickens every time I go to the store but forgetting him so he will have even more fun.
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome! I feed everyone an all flock feed all the time, with oyster shell on the side for the laying hens. That way my youngsters and roosters, and molting hens, all do fine without having too much calcium in the feed. In my area, Purina Flock Raiser is available fresh, so it's my choice. Mary
  6. tmcoulombe

    tmcoulombe New Egg

    Aug 16, 2016
    So then is it similar to humans in that the chickens who need the added calcium will crave/seek it out or so you physically have them separated? We are fortunate to b able to free range during the day so providing separate access can b difficult
  7. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Spring Dreaming Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I have never seen my roosters or young birds eat the oyster shells, but if they needed extra calcium it's available.

    Rations like non medicated grower and All Flock contain calcium, it's just not as much as is in a layer ration. I don't feed layer as I think it doesn't have enough protein for my birds because they receive extra stuff, so I feed a higher protein to offset the lower protein extras.

    Layer is formulated to be fed as the sole ration with nothing else required. Backyard hens fed layer, and feed treats, will often become protein deficit and will turn to eating eggs and feathers to compensate.

    It is easier to feed a higher protein feed, that is lower in calcium, and put out the oyster shells for any extra calcium needs.
  8. chickens really

    chickens really True BYC Addict

    I was interested in this reply....Just got off the phone with a friend with 60 Orpingtons...We discussed this also...She has raised Birds 15 years...
    We both just decided to finish our bags of layer pellets and continue on with the grower ration and provide the oyster shell as needed......
    Neat to come across this right after I just was talking about it!

  9. tmcoulombe

    tmcoulombe New Egg

    Aug 16, 2016
    Absolutely love the idea of a common food for them and putting out calcium for them separately. Already have enough difficulty trying to provide separate food for my Cornish Cross hen that plays surrogate to the new kids when they first transition outside. She likes not being pestered by the big boys and the youngsters quickly learn she's a mobile furnace. In this case it's worth it but overall it a pain.
    Thank you to everyone.
  10. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    I also do not bother with layer feed. Flock raiser is all I have ever fed. Crushed eggshells or oyster shell is available separately at all times. If they need it, they eat it.

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