GIGANTIG eggs from 3 1/2 Year Old Red Sex Links!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bigscottk, Sep 24, 2013.

  1. bigscottk

    bigscottk Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 9, 2012
    This spring I bought some new chicks because I figured I wouldn't get many more eggs out of my Red Sex Links which are now 3 1/2 years old. Guess I was wrong & glad of it! I'm still getting a 75+% laying rate out of the old girls which wouldn't be all that great except for the fact they lay some of the biggest chicken eggs I've ever seen! Anyone have any idea how much longer a large breed like these Red Sex Links might keep laying or how old they might live to be?

    Also, any idea how I might put a little more muscle & fat on their body for the winter? They're very tame & like being petted & they feel really boney compared to my newer girls that just started laying. I've tried giving them hotter feed with a little more fat in it but all they do is lay more eggs but not enough more eggs to justify the 25% increase in feed costs. FYI... No signs of worms or parasites & they were wormed this spring just as a precaution.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Wishing4Wings

    Wishing4Wings Isn't it Amazing?

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    Howdy again. [​IMG] Increasing protein is better for them than extra fat. They love meat scraps or if you can find a good quality dry cat food with a higher protein level, preferably from animal sources, it will help them grow out feathers after molting, put on some muscle, and keep laying those monster eggs. As with everything, use in moderation. Some folks grow meal worms for small flocks, which is easier than is sounds. Corn is good to keep them warm in winter.

    Nor sure how long they live. If yours are still laying at 3+ yrs, they sound healthy, so keep doing what you're doing.

    Of course the easiest way is to buy chicken feed with a little higher protein content. But they really do love meat. I'm always careful not to fall down when out in the chicken yard. They're better than vultures at picking bones clean!
     
  3. bigscottk

    bigscottk Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks! Interestingly enough we've got a couple of small breed dogs & we keep their feed bowl by the door that goes out to the back yard. When I let those girls run around the back yard & I open the back door they make a mad dash into the house for the dog food bowl which we keep stocked with very small chunk, meat (not corn) based dog food. Smart chickens! Drives my wife nuts! [​IMG]
     
  4. bigscottk

    bigscottk Out Of The Brooder

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    What do you think about el cheapo dog food? Not much in it besides corn, fat, & a little meat & bone meal. Cheap too! I could crush the big chunks up a little so they could eat it.
    Hmmm...???
     
  5. hotrodflash

    hotrodflash Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just soak the chunk dog food in water, my chickens wait for the dogs to finish eating so they can clean the pan. I have an old dog so I soak his food to make it easier for him to eat. I have to sit outside while he eats with the flyswatter to keep the chickens off his food until he is finished eating.
     
  6. Wishing4Wings

    Wishing4Wings Isn't it Amazing?

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    Yea, kind of that garbage in garbage out theory, though. Not at all an expert, but I think the source of the protein makes a difference. Most chicken feed uses soy for protein because it's cheaper, and is fine for me most of the time, but my older girls seem more stressed this year with the molting, so I got them a grain-free dry cat food from Costco (Kirkland brand). Has 32% protein from fish meal, so a little goes a long way. Give them a couple of handfuls every other day or so. The same brand of dog food I get has 24% protein from turkey meal, but I'm too lazy to soak the bigger dog kibbles. Don't know if you have Costco (membership warehouse type deal) in your neck of the woods, but the prices for pet food are reasonable for what you get.

    In fairness, I should disclose that the chickens here are pets like the dogs, and we don't have that many. I won't break the bank, but I'll spend a bit on them same as any pet. Besides, the BR will start wailing without her treats!


    Edited to add:
    Having one of those little brain nags since I wrote this. I'm remembering reading something about not feeding dog food to chickens. Not sure of the reasoning or if it concerns wet or dry food, but it bears a bit more research.

    Mind you, this is a terribly unreliable source (my memory) and from a thread I read where there are quite a few folks who are very particular about feed- no soy and no GMO corn. Love to hear from anyone who might know about the chickens-eating-dog-food issue.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
  7. bigscottk

    bigscottk Out Of The Brooder

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    Chuckling here too. Yea, our older girls are my pets too! I'm not sure who's spoiled more... Me by my wife or our older girls by me! I've got some pretty high quality cat food I bout at Petsmart for our Manx cat. I'll have to try hand feeding that to our older girls & see if they don't plump up a little. Wish we did have a Costco here! Only have some Sam's Club.

    My guess is on feeding chickens cat & dog food you need to be careful there's no chicken by-product in it. I'd hate to have a bunch of our girls get really angry & zombie like from getting "Mad Chicken" disease!
     
  8. Wishing4Wings

    Wishing4Wings Isn't it Amazing?

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    I poked around BYC to see about the dog food thing, and so far the biggest worry does seem to be about feeding them their own kind. There is no known problem of feeding chickens chicken, nothing like mad cow for them. Supposedly something about birds having a different type of protein molecule that cannot fold makes this type of disease impossible. Not to say that something else couldn't come up.

    As for cows, feeding dedicated herbivores animal protein goes against nature and common sense. Not surprising it caused problems. Chickens are omnivores and are made to eat just about anything they can get down their gullet, so feeding them chicken probably won't cause a problem, especially if it's cooked like in dog food. I can say all this logically, but still haven't brought myself to creating feathered cannibals. Something about it... kind of creepy. [​IMG] All chicken scraps go to the dogs!

    Had an Easter Egger about 30 years ago who would sit on my shoulder and force me to share my sandwich. So sweet. Ha! One day I saw my sweet girl stalk and grab a substantially sized lizard. She dashed it on the concrete with great force, wham wham wham, and gulped it down whole. Did you see Jurassic Park? Definitely a hunter in need of protein!
     
  9. dandrews1971

    dandrews1971 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I wish that was my problem. I have to use a flyswatter on my stupid dogs to keep them from eating the chicken food! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  10. Wishing4Wings

    Wishing4Wings Isn't it Amazing?

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    My dogs eat the chicken poop. [​IMG]
     

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