Pellets, scratch and oyster shells

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ChickenMama18, Mar 21, 2010.

  1. ChickenMama18

    ChickenMama18 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I recently switched our birds from crumble to pellets. The feed store suggested that I layer it with the scratch. So it's mixed...pellets and scratch. I've noticed that our egg production has dropped off, and that there are a lot of pellets on the ground. I know it takes some time to adjust, so I'm determined to see this through...BUT...I'm starting to think that maybe they are just pecking through the pellets to get to the scratch. Would that cause a drop in egg production? Our layers are only eight months old. The thought also occured to me that maybe it's because they don't have oyster shell free fed to them? I had read that I can give them their shells back to them instead of giving them the oyster shells...any thoughts on that? I've never free fed the oyster shells so not sure if that would cause a drop in production...but could it cause other problems or am I ok feeding their shells back to them?

    Thanks ya'll...not sure what I'd do without you. I keep saying that in my posts but dang it...it's true!
     
  2. TurkeyMountainChickens

    TurkeyMountainChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Central Virginia
    I'm not sure about egg production, but scratch is lower in protein than chicken feed. And they think it's candy. Mine won't eat anything else of scratch is available. I feed it to them only as a treat - to reward them for coming when called, etc.
     
  3. ChickenMama18

    ChickenMama18 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nor Cal
    Hmmm....if that's the case I should remove the scratch. I'm almost done with this batch so when I go to the feed store next I'll just get the pellets. Does anyone know if any of this would hurt egg production?
     
  4. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

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    North/Central Florida
    If the layer ration is only in the 15-16% protein range then I would not give more than about a half handful of scratch per bird per day. A lot of layer rations aren't particularly palatable so the birds will preferentially eat scratch over the complete ration which will lower your egg production. For higher protein rations you can increase the scratch. I feed a 20% protein general purpose ration and hang a feeder of corn/wheat free choice which the birds will self-select a diet of about 16%.

    Oyster shell or egg shells, either one will work. I favor making them available free choice. If they need it they'll eat them, if they don't they'll ignore them.

    .....Alan.
     
  5. ChickenMama18

    ChickenMama18 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you...I'll check the protien in the pellets and then pull the scratch and make it a treat. Thanks!
     
  6. catdaddy66

    catdaddy66 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 18, 2009
    Lugoff, SC
    It is said that once a bird's growth has leveled off then the protein level can be diminished, but I hope to keep the protein level at no less than 18% in order to assure the proper amount is available. Also layers need free choice oyster shell to give the shell a solid coat of calcium for strength. When the molt occurs then the bird will need even more protein to replace lost feathers, so I will increase it to 20-22% for several weeks.

    I think it was the scratch that diminished the egg laying, so by restricting this it should let the egg production rise again.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
  7. ChickenMama18

    ChickenMama18 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for helping guys! Our feed is low enough now that I can go to the feed store and get more pellets and there will be minimal scratch in their feed...very little, if any at all.
     

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