Grower or Layer Feed, what say ye?

MiaS

Songster
Mar 28, 2019
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DeWinton, Alberta
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My Coop
My pullets are between lets say 16 and 21 weeks old (seller said 8-10 weeks for 3 and 13 weeks for one at the time I got them 8 weeks ago so there is a bit of a range) and nobody is laying yet. I have just a few more days worth of grower feed to use up and then I'm going to have to buy a new bag of feed.

With only 4 birds it will take me around 8 weeks to go through another whole bag so I was hoping I could buy layer feed this time around but don't want to mess up the girls' protein or calcium intake either.

Any advice? Should I just buy the grower and offer oyster shell when they lay or go ahead and buy layer feed? If I do another grower could I mix the two to use it up once they start laying? Not sure what to do here.

I do wish that there was an option to buy a smaller bag once in a while.
 

cavemanrich

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Apr 6, 2014
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You can use the Grower Feed with no problem. Just have a dish of Oyster Shells available free-choice ALWAYS. Even when you switch to Layer.

I and many here on BYC chose to go with this route, and it has worked for me for over 20 years.
I use Alflock pellets for grown chickens. It is 18%protein, and 2% calcium. I have mix age chickens and some lay, while some are retired and collecting social security. They still need to eat. (I only keep chickens as pets) I offer Oyster Shells free-choice always. The layers are able to supplement their calcium needs at will. Never had any feed problems with this arrangement.
Often times Layer feed comes at bare minimum 16% protein. That is because higher protein translates to higher co$t.
In my opinion, 18% protein is ideal most of the chickens life. Some additional protein is also good for them during molt. If protein is considerably higher, it can cause runny poop, as well as somewhat smellier.
Game Birds do eat the higher protein feed, and do better on it.
WISHING YOU BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, :highfive:
 

ChickenCanoe

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You have options. Get the layer yesterday and mix the two half and half. That will yield about 2.5% calcium which shouldn't hurt pullets over 16 weeks of age. It will also buy you over a week or so before they are on layer full time. The protein level is less of a concern at that age. I think 17% is more than adequate for mature pullets and laying hens. Though others advocate higher protein, they just don't need it. The excess ends up in the bedding as ammonia.
Your biggest concern would be the timing of onset of lay. In Alberta, your days are already over 4 hours shorter than they were at summer solstice. That will dramatically delay sexual maturity and resultant ovulation. At the age your birds are, if at all possible I would start adding light to your coop to gradually increase day length. If adding 20 minutes every few days, I guarantee that by the time you get over 13 total hours of day length (daylight combined with artificial light) you'll start getting eggs and they may all start within a week or two of each other. You will have to continue that through the winter if you want to maintain production.
 

MiaS

Songster
Mar 28, 2019
273
508
207
DeWinton, Alberta
My Coop
My Coop
You have options. Get the layer yesterday and mix the two half and half. That will yield about 2.5% calcium which shouldn't hurt pullets over 16 weeks of age. It will also buy you over a week or so before they are on layer full time. The protein level is less of a concern at that age. I think 17% is more than adequate for mature pullets and laying hens. Though others advocate higher protein, they just don't need it. The excess ends up in the bedding as ammonia.
Your biggest concern would be the timing of onset of lay. In Alberta, your days are already over 4 hours shorter than they were at summer solstice. That will dramatically delay sexual maturity and resultant ovulation. At the age your birds are, if at all possible I would start adding light to your coop to gradually increase day length. If adding 20 minutes every few days, I guarantee that by the time you get over 13 total hours of day length (daylight combined with artificial light) you'll start getting eggs and they may all start within a week or two of each other. You will have to continue that through the winter if you want to maintain production.
Very helpful thank you. How much light do you think I need to add? Would a string of LED holiday lights work?
 

ChickenCanoe

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Very helpful thank you. How much light do you think I need to add? Would a string of LED holiday lights work?
It needs to be bright enough to read a newspaper by at roost height (where the chickens sleep). You will need a cheap timer. One year I used a Christmas light timer I already had. Instead of coming on before dawn (which is preferable), it came on at dusk and stayed on for 2/4/6/8 hours, whichever I chose. It did the trick and the chickens got used to putting themselves to bed before the lights went out.
 

MiaS

Songster
Mar 28, 2019
273
508
207
DeWinton, Alberta
My Coop
My Coop
It needs to be bright enough to read a newspaper by at roost height (where the chickens sleep). You will need a cheap timer. One year I used a Christmas light timer I already had. Instead of coming on before dawn (which is preferable), it came on at dusk and stayed on for 2/4/6/8 hours, whichever I chose. It did the trick and the chickens got used to putting themselves to bed before the lights went out.
Interesting. We talked about this in a recent thread because this is an arrangement that I can easily set up but I was worried about the chickens just being suddenly plunged into the dark when the dusk timer went off. I don't think you could read a newspaper with my LED string lights...
 

MANNA-PRO

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