Molting Question

tawirth604

Songster
Mar 30, 2018
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Hi, all! :) My chickens are molting, but some of them are still laying. They’re currently on Purina Layena pellets, and I’m still getting some eggs. My question is should I change them over to a higher protein like Feather Fixer? I know it’s not much higher in protein at 18% protein versus the 16% they’re on, but I like the idea of keeping them on layer feed. I’ve seen a lot of people use the Flock Raiser during molt and offer free choice oyster shell, but I’m not sure what to do. I’ve been giving them some meal worms occasionally but not every day. Any advice?
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
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Hi, all! :) My chickens are molting, but some of them are still laying. They’re currently on Purina Layena pellets, and I’m still getting some eggs. My question is should I change them over to a higher protein like Feather Fixer? I know it’s not much higher in protein at 18% protein versus the 16% they’re on, but I like the idea of keeping them on layer feed. I’ve seen a lot of people use the Flock Raiser during molt and offer free choice oyster shell, but I’m not sure what to do. I’ve been giving them some meal worms occasionally but not every day. Any advice?
I keep my flock on Flock Raiser year round which is 20% protein. I feed both crushed egg shells and oyster shells on the side in separate containers hanging near the feed troughs.
Offering higher than 16% protein year round is good for many reasons.
 

tawirth604

Songster
Mar 30, 2018
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I keep my flock on Flock Raiser year round which is 20% protein. I feed both crushed egg shells and oyster shells on the side in separate containers hanging near the feed troughs.
Offering higher than 16% protein year round is good for many reasons.
Do you do your hens eat enough of the oyster shell? That’s my biggest concern if I go that route.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
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Jul 23, 2018
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Do you do your hens eat enough of the oyster shell? That’s my biggest concern if I go that route.
Yes.
But you need to keep it topped off as the larger pieces are what they need. I keep it right next to the feeders so it's "in their face" and they sample it when they are in the area.
And if you offer egg shells, they will go bonkers for them. I offer both because the oyster shell stays in the system longer and offers more calcium. They look at the eggshells as more of a treat.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
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Personally I do not raise protein level when mine molt. A lot of people do. Since mine stop laying when they molt the protein and other nutrients that was being used to make eggs is now being used to make feathers. I don't see anything wrong with increasing protein levels, I just don't see it as necessary. My chickens do not get sick, die, or become weak feeble critters because I don't feed extra protein. But my goals are different to other people's too, your goals may play a part in what you do.

I never feed Layer to mine, but I almost always have juveniles in my flock. I don't want the juveniles eating the excess protein. I typically feed Grower with oyster shell on the side. This way I avoid the juveniles, my rooster, or any hen not laying eating the excess calcium in Layer. Some people feed Layer year around and don't see any issues with roosters or the hens that are not laying. Some people can get 18% Layer too, it's not always 16%. It depends on what is available to you.

I see two issues. Will the extra calcium in Layer harm the not-laying hens? Different people have different opinions on that. I choose to avoid that potential problem by never feeding Layer. That way I just don't worry about it. Do you need to increase the protein levels for molt? I don't think it is necessary for my goals but many people do. Your meal worms are adding protein. Another good way is to toss them a handful of BOSS (Black Oil Sunflower Seeds). BOSS is typically higher in protein plus the oil makes their feathers look nice. You don't need a lot, you don't want to overdo the oil, but Boss can make a difference.

Do you do your hens eat enough of the oyster shell? That’s my biggest concern if I go that route.

You are dealing with living animals so you don't get guarantees. The vast majority of hens that need the extra calcium for egg shells will recognize that and eat enough of the oyster shell. The vast majority that do not need the extra calcium will not eat enough oyster shell to harm themselves. It's always possible that one hen is just not put together right, but let your egg shells tell you how they are doing. If your native rock is limestone they may be getting a lot of calcium from the rocks they eat as grit. If the shells are good, you are doing OK. If you have thin or weak shells you need to adjust.

Something I think is funny. Mine eat the oyster shell but tend to leave egg shells alone. Just another example that we all see different things and that the only thing consistent about chickens is that they are inconsistent.
 

tawirth604

Songster
Mar 30, 2018
98
76
111
Personally I do not raise protein level when mine molt. A lot of people do. Since mine stop laying when they molt the protein and other nutrients that was being used to make eggs is now being used to make feathers. I don't see anything wrong with increasing protein levels, I just don't see it as necessary. My chickens do not get sick, die, or become weak feeble critters because I don't feed extra protein. But my goals are different to other people's too, your goals may play a part in what you do.

I never feed Layer to mine, but I almost always have juveniles in my flock. I don't want the juveniles eating the excess protein. I typically feed Grower with oyster shell on the side. This way I avoid the juveniles, my rooster, or any hen not laying eating the excess calcium in Layer. Some people feed Layer year around and don't see any issues with roosters or the hens that are not laying. Some people can get 18% Layer too, it's not always 16%. It depends on what is available to you.

I see two issues. Will the extra calcium in Layer harm the not-laying hens? Different people have different opinions on that. I choose to avoid that potential problem by never feeding Layer. That way I just don't worry about it. Do you need to increase the protein levels for molt? I don't think it is necessary for my goals but many people do. Your meal worms are adding protein. Another good way is to toss them a handful of BOSS (Black Oil Sunflower Seeds). BOSS is typically higher in protein plus the oil makes their feathers look nice. You don't need a lot, you don't want to overdo the oil, but Boss can make a difference.



You are dealing with living animals so you don't get guarantees. The vast majority of hens that need the extra calcium for egg shells will recognize that and eat enough of the oyster shell. The vast majority that do not need the extra calcium will not eat enough oyster shell to harm themselves. It's always possible that one hen is just not put together right, but let your egg shells tell you how they are doing. If your native rock is limestone they may be getting a lot of calcium from the rocks they eat as grit. If the shells are good, you are doing OK. If you have thin or weak shells you need to adjust.

Something I think is funny. Mine eat the oyster shell but tend to leave egg shells alone. Just another example that we all see different things and that the only thing consistent about chickens is that they are inconsistent.
I had them on a non-GMO layer feed from my local feed mill, but it was a fairly new formula. I was having issues with picking, hens acting ill, and having brittle shells. They were checked for internal parasites at the time and only tested positive for fecal worms. Their health has improved tremendously since switching them to Purina Layena. I know it’s a personal preference. I guess I’ll keep them on it and maybe mix in some starter grower feed. Thanks for the advice.
 

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