Finish out the current bag of Grower feed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Chad Oftedal, Jun 23, 2018.

  1. Chad Oftedal

    Chad Oftedal Songster

    Dec 29, 2017
    Woodinville, WA
    My Coop
    OK, so some of my eight girls have started to show signs of getting ready to lay - noticeably coloring up in the combs and wattles, and on this past Wednesday, turning 18 weeks old.

    So, on a whim, back on this past Monday, I laid out some crushed oyster shells on the ground - just as something new for them to check out as I plan to have it available for self feed when all are laying. I had read that the consensus was that it wouldn't hurt, and that they seem to know best if they need it or not by self feeding. Well, by Wednesday, the pile that I put out in the run was all gone. So, I put some more out. This morning, I noticed it was gone again - for reference, these piles are probably a couple of good heaping handfuls in size. Tonight, after work, I check on the ladies as I always do, and on the floor in the corner of the coop is my first egg! I don't know if the oyster shells had anything to do with it or not, but I found it interesting.

    Tonight now, I've been researching the Scratch and Peck feed that I use, and the current Grower that they are on has 1.30% calcium. Their version of Layer has 4.75%, so quite a jump up. I know there are many variables in all of this, but I was just curious if I should finish out the roughly 20 lbs of Grower I have left, or if I should go ahead and make the switch to Layer now that I got an egg? Maybe get a bag of Layer and blend the two together until I run out of the Grower? I'm not really worried about the cost of switching over, and I'm not trying to over think it. I just want what's best for girls. If it makes any difference, 3-4 of the girls haven't started to show signs of coloring up yet, despite all of them being the same age. The flock breakdown is 3 RIR, 3 PBR, and 2 EE.
  2. chuckachucka

    chuckachucka Crowing

    Mar 22, 2016
    If you have more oyster shell I would just finish off the grower whilst providing the shell extra and then get layer next time.
    Chad Oftedal and WVForestGirl like this.
  3. igorsMistress

    igorsMistress Crossing the Road Barefoot

    Apr 9, 2013
    Phoenix AZ
    My Coop
    Finish it off with the os on the side. None of my chickens have ever had layer feed and the oldest are over a year.
  4. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Crowing

    Jul 26, 2016
    Connecticut, U.S.A.
    I have read that Duel Purpose chickens need at least a 17% Protein feed. I have experienced feather picking when I switched to a 16% Protein layers feed from a 18% layers feed.
    I am currently feeding a Non-Medicated Start & Grow 18% with excellent results. I can get a 25# bag and my three 2 year old Golden Comets love the feed served with Oyster Shells separately. Egg shells are strong. GC
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2018
    Chad Oftedal likes this.
  5. LittleMissCountry

    LittleMissCountry Songster

    Mar 30, 2018
    I am in the exact same situation. I put out oyster shell last week as well, and got my first egg yesterday. The one who laid it had been showing signs for awhile. I also have starter/grower feed. I bought a small bag of layer feed, but I am planning on feeding the starter/grower until they are all laying, with oyster shell on the side. In a few weeks, when they reach 20 weeks, I plan on adding a little layer feed to the mix, integrating it in slowly. I want to switch to pellets, so I bought some mini pellet layer feed that will be a good transition, and it is 17% protein.
  6. Chad Oftedal

    Chad Oftedal Songster

    Dec 29, 2017
    Woodinville, WA
    My Coop
    Thanks everyone! Great info!
  7. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    Until most of the pullets are close to laying, I would keep them on grower, with oyster shell on the side. After that you can finish off the grower, or even keep them on it if you prefer. My hens love Scratch & Peck grower so I kept buying it for them, with layer pellets also on the side.
  8. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I feed an all-flock type feed to everyone, babies to old adults, laying hens, and roosters, with oyster shell separate for the laying hens. Mine is Flock Raiser, 20% protein, always within four weeks of the mill date on each bag.
    Depending on what's fresh where you shop, and if you use only organic, your best choice will likely vary. I don't like the whole grain type feeds, because at least some individuals will pick out the 'yummiest' stuff and unbalance their diet, causing real health issues over time. It's a common problem in pet rodents and pet birds too.

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