My chickens just turned 18 wks. old should I switch them to layer???

Willow's Meadow

9 Years
Apr 16, 2010
My chickens just turned 18 wks. old but are not laying eggs yet. They are Buff Orpingtons and Brahmas. On the Purina bag it says to switch them to layer at 18 wks. Should I switch them to layer now(at 18 wks. old) or should I wait till they start laying eggs? I don't really want to wait till they start laying because then I'll have to buy another 50 lbs. bag of Purina Starter, and then what do I do with all the extra if they start laying eggs in the middle of it? I am just about running low on the Purina Starter now.
On the other hand you don't want to bombard their kidneys with the extra calcium in layer until they have a use for it.

There's an easy solution. Buy starter or grower and some oyster shell. Put the oyster shell out (in a different dish) when the eggs start.
Layer time. They will be fine with the extra calcium. Because they will be laying in a few weeks and they will use the calcium. Look at roosters they eat layer and dont lay eggs but are fine.
I feed my roos layer, too, but layer is not the best diet for a roo. People who keep roos separately, esp. for show, don't feed them layer, and I have read that they feed a larger % of protein.

Some pullets don't start laying til much later than 20 weeks. I would not want to feed layer for 8 or 9 months, or longer, when they were not laying.
I agree. If they aren't laying, they don't need layer--period. Your chickens didn't read the book, they'll lay when they are ready and there is no sense in overloading their kidneys with calcium until they can make use of it.
so should I feed starter with oyster shells or grower? Purina doesn't even have a grower!!!!!!
Willow's Meadow :

so should I feed starter with oyster shells or grower? Purina doesn't even have a grower!!!!!!

Purina Flock Raiser is a grower--just picked up a 50 lb. bag at TSC today.​
I usually move them over to layer when I start finding the first eggs.

Or go the Flock Raiser route with a hopper of free choice shell. If they don't need it they won't eat any.
Mine are 21 weeks and on medicated starter grower. Three are squatting and someone is nestmaking in the nest box. No egg song though. I would like to eat the first egg but not if they are still on medicated feed. Can I switch to layer now and put out OS since they seem so close to laying?

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