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Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Splinty, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. Splinty

    Splinty Chirping

    Jun 14, 2011
    New York
    Hi! This is the first time I've had hens and I don't know what to do. My girls will be 22 weeks this Monday and they still are not laying. Right now they are eating grower feed and I need to buy more this weekend but I'm not sure if I should keep feeding them that or get them layer feed. I don't have electric in their tractor and with the days getting shorter I'm not sure they are going to lay before the spring. Should I just keep feeding them the grower feed or should I get them layer feed. Any responses would be greatly appricated. Thank You!

  2. cat1994

    cat1994 Songster

    Sep 12, 2010
    Southeast MO
    I’d start switching them from grower feed to layer feed and give them oyster shell.
  3. KandiandJerry

    KandiandJerry Songster

    give them layer feed and try to put light in the tractor even if you have to run extension cord the light will help them I have light in everyone of my pens and I am getting eggs everyday. I also never turn the light off
  4. Splinty

    Splinty Chirping

    Jun 14, 2011
    New York
    Thank you very much. I don't have electric outside so putting a light in there is not an option. I though that I only gave layer feed to them when they started laying. Giving it to them now at this age is safe?
  5. DMRippy

    DMRippy Pallet Queen

    May 18, 2011
    I don't usually give layer feed til someone is laying. You can get All Flock and give calcium on the side if you are concerned. You can also continue with what you have and offer calcium on the side. Once they start laying and you are out of feed then you could switch. That way you don't waste feed.
  6. Splinty

    Splinty Chirping

    Jun 14, 2011
    New York
    Lol now I'm confused. I only have a small feed store where I live and I don't think they carry oyster shells. I really don't think I'm going to get eggs this year but I wasn't sure if they should be eating layer feed because of their age. So should I just stick to the grower feed till I see an egg then go buy them layer? If I do that can I mix the two together so I don't waste feed? Thank You!
  7. rarely bored

    rarely bored Songster

    Jan 22, 2011
    Central California
    I'd be surprised if your feedstore doesn't carry oyster shell. They may not have it where you can see it, I had to ask for it at my local feedstore, but yes, they have it, just behind the counter. (don't ask me why!)
    and my 24 week old pullet laid her first egg yesterday, so don't dispare yet. [​IMG]

  8. gale65

    gale65 Songster

    We started feeding layer feed at about 17-18 weeks old. They didn't start laying until about 21 weeks.
  9. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Songster

    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    You can switch them to layer feed now. You don't need to offer oyster shell or a calcium supplement until they start laying. You can also offer them clean, crushed egg shell as a supplement after they begin laying. I don't believe they will need a light. Usually during their first winter they will lay without it. Good luck [​IMG]
  10. ScottyHOMEy

    ScottyHOMEy Songster

    Jun 21, 2011
    Waldo County, Maine
    You don't say what breed they are, but at 22 weeks, they're near enough laying age that you can start switching them off to layer feed. The extra calcium in it presents problems in smaller, younger birds, but at their age and weight, it shouldn't present a danger. If you want to stay on the cautious side, buy a bag of each, grower and layer, and mix the half-and-half to start. As some of them start to lay, increase the proportion of layer and provide some oyster shell on the side. (Your feed dealer buys from a distributor -- I suspect if you ask them to, they can get it for you by including it in their order from the distributor.) By the time most or all of your hens are laying, you'll have used up the last of the grower and put them onto straight layer with oyster shell on the side. You'll also have weaned them gradually to the typically lower protein content of the layer feed.

    I've got nothing in the world to back me up on this, but I've always been of the mind that introducing the extra calcium of the layer feed as they get close to laying age and weight is good conditioning for a strong layer. They are pullets. They will start laying at some point. A little nudge can't hurt, might help.

    My two cents worth.

    I just this morning found the first eggs from this years all new flock. Hatched 20 weeks ago yesterday -- I suspect it's a couple of the sex-links that tend to lay earlier than the others who came through. I toss that out not to say that what I recommend above is the right way to do things. More to open the door to say it was some satisfying to start to see results from the effort that's gone into them.

    Here's hoping you have the same experience soon. It does feel good.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2011

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