Our first eggs! New questions...

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by EasterEggDrew, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. EasterEggDrew

    EasterEggDrew Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi everyone,

    Well, our small flock began laying five days ago, and we've had one or two new eggs each day since! The flock is just four birds, one each of easter egger, buff brahma, light brahma, and barred rock. We're getting daily green eggs, so I guess that's the easter egger, and it seems one of the brahma's (we've had three brown) and the barred rock (one tan with brown spots) are also laying. Wow!

    I've been feeding them DuMor Poultry Layer Crumble since week 20 (they're now 25 weeks), mostly because it's supposed to be a complete feed, and I don't know any better. I have supplemented irregularly with whole corn and grit, but never really knew the best way to provide this feed and supplement, or how much to give. Any advice appreciated.

    I was reading up and watching videos pertaining to worming, and have come across some recommendations to just give diatomaceous earth two or three times per year, as a preventative, which may negate any need to ever go a step farther into medicated worming. Interesting.

    I'm interested in your opinions on this scheduled DE treatment, which I am sure will be as varied as the advice I've already read, rather than waiting for poopy eggs to begin a treatment regimen. Also, can we confirm the DuMor Layer feed has no worming supplement in it already?

    Thanks!
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Welcome to BYC and congrats on your new layers! Makes the wait worth while, yes? You're doing fine with the feed. But, you might want to cut back on the whole corn. It should be a very small portion of their diet, if you give it to them at all. As for the grit, simply put it out, and let them eat it free choice.

    As for worming, that is a hot topic of debate. Many of us choose not to worm our birds, and for the most part, have no issues. If you keep a healthy yard (don't let your run become bare soil, but when the vegetation is removed, turn the run into a deep compost to keep the soil healthy) the beneficial organisms will keep the disease pathogens in check. If your flock has access to free range, that will help them to avoid internal parasites also, because they will find natural antihelminthic plants/herbs to include in their diets. It's also possible to include some of those plants in your landscaping.

    As for your last paragraph, I wonder if you've been listening to a video by a self professed chicken expert. This person claims that poopy eggs indicate that the bird has worms. She also claims that whole corn and DE will get rid of or prevent worms. Wrong on all accounts. Eggs are poopy for several reasons: the birds are tracking poop into the nest, the bird is pooping in the nest, or her vent does not block off feces from exiting the vent with the egg. Some hens are more "stretched out" and seem to have an issue with this. The only way you can know if your birds have worms is to have a fecal float test done. You simply take some of their poo to the vet. You should also be aware that it's normal for all animals (including humans) to have a light load of parasites.

    To my knowledge any bag of feed you buy does not have antihelminthic medication in it.

    Poop happens. If you have a poopy egg, just wash it. Enjoy your birds and the breakfast they provide for you.
     
  3. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There should not be any worming supplement in feed since when you do worm your chickens, you do not eat the eggs. You also do not feed those eggs back to your hens, since the eggs will (not perpetually, but extendedly keep putting the worming agent back into the eggs,Each time in a smaller dose. I have never wormed my chickens( 20 Years +- ) I would only do it if I seen that they did need it... I use DE in the coop as a thin base layer, then I spread a layer of SWEET PDZ. and then I cover the floor with hay. You can use straw, or pine shavings just as well. The DE controls insects including mites and such by slicing their microscopic bodies with DE microscopic sharp crystals. I don't mix it in their feed to prevent worms. DE is also good to add to chickens dust bath containers. Use precaution when handling it as it is not good to breathe the DE dust.
    The feed you are using is a complete nutrition for laying chickens. The corn, I think should be cracked corn rather than whole. Whole corn can just passes thru without being digested, and also a potential choke hazard for smaller chicken throats. It is suggested that you keep the treats to 10% of feed intake. I break that rule myself, but there is nobody to PUNISH ME.
    I personally do not use layer feed because not all of my chickens are laying. The 4% calcium in layer can be detrimental to non laying chickens. Can wipe out their kidneys and liver. (wont happen all that fast though) I use Alflock with about 2% calcium and supplement the calcium needs with crushed oyster shells free choice. It workd very vell for me and my chickens do live loooooong lives. I only keep chickens as pets , but do eat the eggs.
    WISHING YOU BEST.. [​IMG]
     
  4. EasterEggDrew

    EasterEggDrew Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great info. Thank you! How do you each supply oyster shells and grit! Broadcast on the floor of the run, or in a separate feeder?

    My run has a deep base of yard trimmings. They seem to like digging thru it, but it is at least two months old now. I kept a pile of real stuff from last fall, so I could refresh their run, but it's been so darn wet here that I haven't done it. How often do you change out this material?

    In the last few days, my chickens have a new digging obsession. They've always scratched around in the run, but now they're digging some more substantial holes. Normal?

    Thanks again! Had our first family-sized batch of scrambled eggs for dinner tonight, which was a lot of fun.
     
  5. mobius

    mobius Chillin' With My Peeps

    I use a separate feeder for grit and another one for eggshells.

    In a deep litter type of run, most folks just add the yard waste on top of what is there...you could toss some scratch on it and let the chickens mix it up...it will help with the sogginess...I don't change mine out as it is composting and settles naturally. In the spring, I will take some out as top dressing compost for the soil in my herb garden.

    Digging is normal, they are making a dustbath, or looking for one...do your chickens have access to a dust bath? I filled several holes in the yard last fall [​IMG].
     
  6. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Digging is normal, even if they have a dust bath available. Mine dig up my raised garden beds so much that they've hit floor several times and dig around the base of the coop.

    Grit isn't a supplement like corn is, grit it the "teeth" that they use to grind up their food. So they should have access to it at all times. My flock is small like yours so I just have the grit in a clip on bird feeder from the parrot section of a pet store.
     
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  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    You will never need to change out the deep litter in the run. You will need to continually add to it because it will melt into the soil. Eventually, you should be able to harvest some compost from the run to add to your gardens. The fact that they are doing some new excavating is IMO an indication that they are finding some new inhabitants in the DL to supplement their diets! And that is the benefit from the DL. You can put grit in one container, and oyster shell in an other for them to use as they see fit.
     
  8. EasterEggDrew

    EasterEggDrew Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, everyone! I'll try to add some more clippings to the run this weekend. I'll also put some grit out in the chick feeder I used when they were young. I had thought that grit was only necessary if feeding whole corn, not with complete feeds, so I had only given it to them back when I was broadcasting corn in the run.

    Always more to learn, here!
     
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    You will hear folks say that if birds are only getting processed feed, they don't need grit. IMO, God gave birds a gizzard for a reason. He did not give them teeth. Having access to grit, no matter what their diet helps them develop a strong muscular gizzard to better process their feed. And any bird who is outside WILL be and SHOULD be encouraged to eat greens and bugs and what ever else they find to munch on.
     
  10. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I read a lot of your posts and 99.44% I agree with you. This one time I see things slightly different.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Do these need grit as well??? [​IMG][​IMG]
     
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