Layer feed enough

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by smkchick, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. smkchick

    smkchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 3, 2011
    Will a layer feed provide enough calcium or should it still be supplemented with oyster and/or egg shells?
  2. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    No just layer won't be good enough, I'd give them access to oyster shell as a back up. You don't need to put it in the feed just leave them a dish or whatever so they can take what they want.
  3. AccentOnHakes

    AccentOnHakes Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 2, 2009
    Just layer is enough, but having extra calcium is optimal. Think back to the last store egg you ate at your house....those hens get only laying feed.
  4. smkchick

    smkchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 3, 2011
    Quote:Unfortunately we're still eating store eggs. My first chicken is still a couple of weeks from laying, and the others are only 2 weeks old. *sigh* [​IMG]

    Just wait til spring, though...
  5. greenscape

    greenscape Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 25, 2009
    The shell is optional bu I use it for a harder shell. "kids are rough egg gatherers" lol.
    I have two large feeders one stays full of shell 24/7 and the other I fill with pellets 24/7. They will eat the shell as they need it. 80# bag last me nearly all year with about 25 hens
    If you can let them free range. Bugs make the egg taste better!
  6. epeloquin

    epeloquin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 11, 2011
    Western Massachusetts
    Instead of oyster shell I give my girls yogurt several times per week. For me it serves multiple purposes...

    1. They LOVE it as a treat.

    2. Because I let the freerange for a while most days, the enzymes help keep their tummies happy.

    3. The yogurt contains plenty of calcium which helps produce good shells.

    4. A large container of plain yogurt is cheap.

    I love that Chobani Greek yogurt and so do my girls! When they see me with a cup they come running. The love the fruit. I hold out a spoonful of yogurt and the first thing they do is pick out the fruit pieces, then they eat the yogurt! The especially love the mango and pomegranate. I share that with them as a special treat that they really love.
  7. greenscape

    greenscape Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 25, 2009
    Yeh, yogurt is really good. Except I keep 50 lay hens and 25 trios of Bantams. The bantams are individually penned.
    I use the Bantam eggs I don't set as food. Boil them , crush them up shell and all.. I use this for the penned birds.
    About a 1/2 cup a week.

    By the way don't feed the chicks Lay Pellets. They need grain and grit (sand and small gravel.) At about 4 mo you can start the pellets and wean them off the grain by 5 MO. Good healthy chickens will start laying after 5-6 Mo. FREE RANGE AS MUSH AS POSSIBLE.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  8. smkchick

    smkchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 3, 2011
    Thanks everyone for all the good info. My 14 week old free ranges all day - my boyfriend loves the job she does on the weeds and bugs. I plan to do the same with the chicks when they are old enough. They are eating medicated chick feed now - plan to keep them on it til 8 weeks old. Gladys is just finishing up the organic feed I got for her when I got her. Then I plan to switch her to the layer feed. I'll give her yogurt and leave oyster shell for her so she gets the best of everything. I started with chickens because of better eggs and I had read that free-range is the best. I get a kick out of seeing her roaming around my suburban backyard!
  9. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Depends on the hen's body uses the calcium.

    For most hens, the calcium provided in the layer feed IS enough. I've never purchased oyster shells. I've nothing against doing it, just have never had the need to do so. Feeding back egg shells is also a free way to provide additional calcium, if needed.
  10. Lordofchickens 86

    Lordofchickens 86 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2011
    The Burg FL
    Quote:layer feed is enough as long as the bag says complete but g iving extra calcium is a plus. i argree with this person KIds love to shake the eggs and sometimes they drop them . that extra thick shell ensures that the egg makes it to the ice box safely in one piece.[​IMG]

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