Questions about feeding laying hens.

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Woods-Witch, Oct 24, 2014.

  1. Woods-Witch

    Woods-Witch Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi BYC [​IMG] ...

    I have some questions about feeding my flock but first I'll provide some background to help explain my situation.

    I have 7 hens, total, and I've been feeding them DuMor Grower/Finisher for about 3 months now and added oyster shell to the coop once the first few eggs started coming. My 2 Speckled Sussex are the oldest of my flock at about 31 weeks. The rest of my hens all range in age with the youngest being an unknown. She's a Delaware and when I got her, I was told that she was 11 weeks but she was TINY and still had some fluff on her head at the time. The man I got her from said that the woman he got her from claimed that she had been on a strict free-range pasture only diet starting at birth with no supplemental feed at all and that that was why she--and all of her other Delly siblings--were so small. That sounds iffy to me--I'm no expert--but I have doubts about it and the man I got her from wasn't so sure about it either. She was healthy and feisty though so I wasn't concerned. She's grown a lot since I got her and have been feeding her the DuMor and occasional treats like greens, grapes, oatmeal, bugs and such, though she is still quite small compared to my other chickens. She's just as feisty though and full of energy! I'm even still working on breaking her of the biting habit she developed when she decided (successfully) that she didn't want to be at the bottom of the pecking order. If she was truly 11 weeks when I got her, that would make her about 25 weeks now but I have no idea how old she really is and she is undersized for a chicken who is "supposedly" 25 weeks. I have confirmed that all of my hens except the Delaware and 1 of my 2 Buff Orps are laying eggs at this point. My first Buff Orp lays round, fat deep rose-colored eggs that turn slightly brownish-pink after I wash them prior to cooking. The amount of rose-colored eggs that I collect each day has doubled in the last week. So, it's a good guess that my second Buff Orp has started laying. I just haven't caught her in the act yet.
    Now, I collected my eggs for the day and there is 1 egg in the batch (of A DOZEN [​IMG] eggs - whoa) that sort of looks like a first-time egg. It looks very different from any of the eggs any of my chickens have lain before. It's almost white cream/tinted and has a thin shell with a slight crack and is very long/oval-shaped. It's bigger than the first-time eggs my other chickens laid but still small. I was under the impression that Delawares lay brown eggs but I'm starting to wonder ... could my mystery-age Delly have finally begun to lay ... tinted white eggs?

    Like I mentioned above, all of my 7 hens and 1 rooster get DuMor Grower/Finisher crumbles from Tractor Supply with free choice oyster shell from my local feed store. I'm getting plenty of large eggs (especially today!) with strong shells and good, golden yolks and all of my chickens are healthy and happy. I like the DuMor food and so do my chickens. My local TS only carries two brands of Layer Pellets; Purina and Manna Pro. Manna Pro is way over-priced and I don't like the brand anyway. So I'm wondering, at this point, should I switch them all to the Purina Layer Pellets at my local TS or is layer feed even actually necessary for me with everything going so well? Are the Purina Pellets either good or bad quality in particular?

    Thanks for any answers and advice you all may have!

    - Woods Witch
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I don't use either of those brands. I use Southern States, which I don't think is available in CA. It's less expensive than most brand names.

    Orps and Dels lay brown eggs. There is a wide range of shades that are all called brown eggs. there isn't anthing that is officially called rose egg, though; it would fall in the "brown" category.

    Maybe the color is different from what she will lay as a mature layer, although egg color doesn't usually vary a lot. However, most chickens have been crossed with another breed somewhere in their genetic histor, so unexpected things will surely happen to egg color along with other characteristics.

    Purina is a well known feed manufacturer with a good reputation (they are also one of our sponsors.) I'm not even familiar with Manna Pro; when I used to shop at a TSC, their store brand was Dumor. I shop locally now, at a family owned feed and farm store. I buy Southern States, which I don't believe is available in CA. You can always just look at the texture and odor of the feed, looking for af fresh smell, and lack of dustiness. I think sometimes the best brand of feed is whatever sells most in your area, so there is good turnover.

    You don't have to feed layer feed at all. It's not unusual for experienced keepers to feed a grower or flock raiser formula, or game bird or part game bird, or a locally mixed formula. However, if you don't feed layer, it is usually best to supplement calcium by offering oyster shell separately from the feed. This way any chicks growing up in the flock, as well as any roosters, will not have to eat the extra calcium.

    Here's a little further reading:

    http://www.hyline.com/aspx/redbook/redbook.aspx?s=5&p=36

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/feeding-chickens-an-introductory-guide

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/788557/spoiled-chicks/0_20#post_11337947 (post #4)
     
  3. chixmaidservice

    chixmaidservice Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 13, 2013
    Perhaps your Delaware pullet is part Bantam? Which would explain her small stature and if the Bantam was a white egg layer, possibly your light colored eggs as well. Is your roo a hatchmate of the small Delly hen?
     

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