Non-Layer Diet?

Discussion in 'Nutrition - Sponsored by Purina Poultry' started by Abronsyth, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. Abronsyth

    Abronsyth Songster

    Mar 19, 2013
    Upstate NY
    This has bothered me a lot over time. We have pretty much always had laying breeds, and this year is our first time with all non/low layers. Mine especially, as they are only seasonal layers. Everyone is on starter now (all under 6 weeks old), but eventually, after grower, it would be normal for us to switch them to layer feed.

    I have concerns about this though, mostly with my birds, because they are not a heavy laying breed, not to mention most cockerels don't lay eggs, haha.

    So I was wondering what the best option is for birds that are not layers to eat regularly?

    Our feed store carries the following formulas;
    20% Starter
    18% Layer Plus
    22% Gamebird grower
    16% Layer
    15% Poultry Grower/Finisher
    20% Broiler
    20% Gamebird Grower/Finisher
    (% indicates protein)

    The Poultry Grower/Finisher has 0.95% to 1.20% Calcium, and the Layer has 3.70% to 4.50%, and the Gamebird Finisher has 1.10% to 1.50%.

    Just three standard ornamental chickens (Sumatras), 1 cockerel and 2 pullets. According to the reading I've done the cockerels benefit from additional protein until they're mature (they are long-tailed birds, up to 4 feet). They'll also have access to bug-dense woodland and pasture during the warm months.

    Thank you,

  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    From that selection, I'd keep them on the starter till they're about 15 weeks and then gradually switch to the 15% finisher till they start laying and then mix that half and half with the starter so you'll end up with about 17.5% protein. That will be adequate for egg laying. Provide oyster shell in a separate container for those producing egg shells.
    Once full size and feathered out, roosters don't need much protein and are better off with about 13-14%. You can cut the protein a bit with some grain.
    The fact that they're foraging will help ameliorate the feed.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Abronsyth

    Abronsyth Songster

    Mar 19, 2013
    Upstate NY
    Thank you for the suggestions! It is certainly a big help, though we have plenty of time for now to continue researching and see how the birds respond to it.
  4. DrPatrickBiggs

    DrPatrickBiggs Chirping

    Aug 20, 2015
    Hi Abronsyth,

    My recommendation is that you provide the 20% starter. I would recommend Purina Flock Raiser. That will cover all of the birds for the entirety of their lives. During the laying season, you could offer a separate feeder with oyster shell for the hens to get calcium when they need it.

  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    We don't use layer feed period here. The flock is mixed age and chicks hatched every spring with cockerels grown to breeding cocks. Oyster shell supplied on the side for layer birds to take at theri own discretion. Other than that the feed is simple for us as the entire flock is on the same feed:

    20% non medicated starter/grower when we have chicks.

    20% turkey/gamebird finisher when the youngest batch of chicks are 10-12 weeks of age and able to feed on pellet form.

    Reason for switching to gamebird finisher is it's in pellet form and we save a lot in feed when using pellets. Crumbles are used only when we have small growing birds and that's the non medicated starter.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by