Preparing Pullets for Laying


In the Brooder
9 Years
Oct 15, 2010
I am about a month away from our first eggs. I switched to a layer feed for this past month. Should I also supplement with calcium chips or does the food have ample calcium? I am using Nutrena layer feed.
Thanks hvl. I tried buying oyster shell at Agway but they only had calcium chips. Ever use these?
Please be very careful about giving too much calcium before you see the first egg.
I have read, in numerous posts by chook veterans on this site, excessive calcium before they are laying, can do serious damage to their organs.
Hopefully one of those sages will weigh in with some facts and figures for you.

I did not give any oyster shell chips until the first egg (actually until about day 3) and my egg shells were fine on those first eggs. I have only had one soft-shelled egg since they began, 3 weeks ago.

Bright Blessings!!!
Rachel, I think Hydestone is okay with feeding layer during the final month before laying. Excess calcium seems to have the most danger for younger birds with developing organs. As far as having oyster shells out, they apparently are fairly good at self-regulation when they are given a choice between eating extra calcium, or not.

I'm no sage but if you want facts and figures on excess calcium: You may want to read what the veterinarians at DeKalb Poultry have to say.

“Urolithiasis is a disease of chickens resulting from kidney tissue damage at the cellular level, the nephron. This damage eventually may lead to uremia, visceral gout, and death after enough time has elapsed and more nephrons are lost. . . once kidney insult occurs, the mortality from urolithiasis usually continues for life. . . Kidney cells are not regenerated once they are lost.”

The vets recount specific management mistakes that have led to kidney damage in pullets:

1 - feeding left over lay ration from previous flock (doubled expected mortality throughout life of flock)
2 - feeding low levels of phosphorus (increased mortality rate)
3 - feeding layer ration too early (under 15 weeks of age)
4 - using a large particle calcium source for pullets


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