Layer feed in winter for non laying chicken?

Jblanch1983

Hatching
Jul 16, 2020
6
6
8
Hello!
So we have 10 chickens 20 weeks old who haven’t started laying before the winter hit. I think now it is too cold for them to lay (freezing temps almost every night) until the spring. Do I still feed them layer feed throughout the winter? I’m worried they’re getting too much calcium since they aren’t laying for a few months?!
Also can anyone compare “scratch and peck” feed to “Modesto milling”. I found the “S&P” so dusty and felt like they might not eat all their vitamins that are in the dust?can you tell: overconcerned first time chicken owner here 🤪😂
 

rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
13,319
25,050
842
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
Hello!
So we have 10 chickens 20 weeks old who haven’t started laying before the winter hit.

Also can anyone compare “scratch and peck” feed to “Modesto milling”. I found the “S&P” so dusty and felt like they might not eat all their vitamins that are in the dust?
I don't feed layer until they start to lay (past that point, I feed a mix of layer and grower, to dilute down the calcium some, as some of my flock is pretty sporadic with laying).

The "dust" in S&P are all the added vitamin and protein fines that make it a complete feed. To ensure the chickens eat it all it's best to wet or ferment the feed. I have fed Modesto Milling before and my chickens never quite took to it, so I switched back to my old feed. If your flock likes it, it looks like a perfectly good feed to use.
 

Willow2253

Crowing
Dec 6, 2019
1,150
3,490
276
Eastern Oregon
Short term, the extra calcium shouldn’t be much of a problem, but personally I would feed all flock with oyster shell on the side to be safe. Also, I wouldn’t totally rule out laying until spring. It’s been below freezing most nights here too and I have some 22 week old girls that just started laying this week.
 

GC-Raptor

Crowing
Jul 26, 2016
4,640
7,397
481
Connecticut, USA
So we have 10 chickens 20 weeks old who haven’t started laying before the winter hit. I think now it is too cold for them to lay (freezing temps almost every night) until the spring. Do I still feed them layer feed throughout the winter?
Don't lose hope. My Barred Rocks started to lay in January at 20 weeks old, average temps, 18 F lows, 34 F highs.
As, what to feed, put out a container of Oyster Shells now, they will take as needed.
20201031_055028_resized.jpg
I would continue feeding a Non-Medicated Starter-Grower 18 to 20% Protein till at least one of each breed is laying.

Myself, I haven't fed a Layers feed for 3 years.
I had a pecking problem with my first Flock when I switched to a 16% layers feed.
I switched to a 18% layers feed for a while, but it was expensive so I switched to a Non-Medicated Starter-Grower with Oyster Shells separately.

I like feeding this way because I can feed all ages the same feed whether they are laying or not. I do feed Medicated Start and Grow for the first 10 weeks.

If my regular feed isn't available when I'm at TSC I will purchase a All-Flock crumble for a dollar more.

I have two Flocks in separate coops, 7 months old pullets that lay daily
20201126_141038_resized.jpg
and 27 months old hens that lay 2 to 3 eggs weekly, one is molting.
20201126_164232_resized.jpg

She keeps her distance from the others when roosting. Notice feathers under roosts. GC
 

ChickenCanoe

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Nov 23, 2010
32,476
26,489
997
St. Louis, MO
Layer feed is for layers. If they aren't producing eggs, they aren't layers regardless of sex or age.
Cindy in PA is right. Temperature has virtually no effect. Day length vs. dark period and which is increasing or decreasing determines production.
One winter I tracked egg production, day/night temperature and daily precipitation. Temperature, rain, snow, wind had no impact on production.
 

WVBirdsAndBees

Chirping
Mar 30, 2020
216
426
83
You may be surprised. I've been having birds start laying right and left, even with the shorter days and lower temps.

But regardless, I'm with quite a few others. I give a good starter/grower (or "all flock") with plenty of oyster shell available. That way we don't have to worry about who is laying, who is not, and whether a rooster has access to the food. We use Nature's Best by Kreamer feeds. It's a good quality organic in this region that isn't quite as expensive as S&P or Modesto.

They will do great on whatever you choose. A lot of people do feed layer year around.
 

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