Running low

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by JoBean1987, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. JoBean1987

    JoBean1987 Out Of The Brooder

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    Help. I'm running low on laying mash and I won't make it til Monday to get some more. What can I do to replace the layer and will they stop laying if they don't get any?
     
  2. cityfarmer12

    cityfarmer12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i feed my chickens all sorts of veggies and kitchen scraps along with their layer pellets. they love the variety.
     
  3. JoBean1987

    JoBean1987 Out Of The Brooder

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    I feed them scraps to but if they run out of laying mash by Monday will they quit laying?
     
  4. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They might. Just be sure to feed them something until you get some more layer feed. Withholding feed and water is what commercial egg laying farms do to force a molt, which will cause them to stop laying. Can you get some wild bird seed or something?

    Or feed them cooked wheat or oatmeal or whatever grain you have around with some protein. It doesn't need to be cooked, but why not? Cans of "no salt added" tuna could work, or whatever is the cheapest no-salt canned fish you can find. Or feed their eggs back to them. Mind you, eggs are only about 11% protein, so you would ideally want to also give an additional source of protein.

    Make sure you feed them enough protein. A huge pile of cooked rice with a couple eggs won't cut it. Add a can of tuna or two.

    If you're stuck in the boonies without a store around, check your freezer. Feed them cooked meat, even chicken if that's all you have.

    If you only have a few birds, do you have any neighbors with chickens nearby that could help you out?

    Any chicken or game bird feed would do. Grower, starter, finisher, broiler, turkey broiler, etc. If it's anything other than layer, give them a calcium source, such as crushed egg shells or crushed oyster shells.
     
  5. Traphill

    Traphill Out Of The Brooder

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    No they don't need layer feed to lay eggs. I don't even feed layer pellets but opt for Flock raiser and offer oyster shell on the side. They need water and food to produce eggs. Give them what scraps etc you have to get to Monday.... Good Luck
     
  6. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, that wasn't totally clear in my previous post. Layer feed is not required to lay eggs. Chicken feed of any kind (16% or more protein) + crushed oyster shell is all they need. We never feed layer feed, just grower and oyster shell and get plenty of eggs.
     
  7. JoBean1987

    JoBean1987 Out Of The Brooder

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    What about my young chickens that are still on grower. They still have a month before they start laying. What would be a substitute for them?
     
  8. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Whatever you can feed them. Grains, veggies, scraps, protein, bird seed. Our chickens go as nuts over leftover tempeh (fermented soy cake) as much as leftover meat scraps. There are different opinions about this, but you could feed them layer feed (if that's what you had) if you knew for sure they would start laying in a month. Often chickens don't start laying according to "the schedule" and don't start laying for 30 or more weeks. Since the days are getting longer though, they'll probably be laying sooner rather than later.

    Some people ONLY feed layer feed, whether the chickens are laying or not (including roosters) and some people NEVER feed layer. The problem with layer feed is chickens can't choose their calcium needs and non-laying birds (molters, young ones, roosters, old hens, etc.) can get overdosed on calcium, which over an extended period can lead to visceral gout and kidney failure. No symptoms, they just die.

    Since you have both layers and young chickens, you could make it easier on yourself and never buy two feeds again. Or at least give it a trial run. Feed grower to everyone (except chicks under 8 weeks of age, they need starter) and leave crushed oyster shells (best) or crushed egg shells (good) in a separate dish on the side. Any bird who is laying or is getting ready to lay will eat the shells (for calcium) and any bird who doesn't need extra calcium won't each much of the crushed shells. They're very good at knowing when they need more calcium.

    This makes life so much easier if you have only one or two coops and a mixed flock of chicks, molters, current layers, broodies and roosters. Everyone gets a healthy meal without excessive calcium. If you plan to much of your flock every 9-12 months, perhaps I wouldn't worry about the grower+shells method if feeding layer feed is easier for you. The only real hard rule is to not feed layer feed to chicks younger than 18 weeks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
  9. JoBean1987

    JoBean1987 Out Of The Brooder

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    What happens if chicks under 18weeks eat layer?
     
  10. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They can get visceral gout or develop kidney problems. I think chicks can also develop leg problems. Excessive calcium is very hard, even fatal, to chicks under 18 weeks.

    If they eat it for a few days, probably not much harm done, but young birds shouldn't eat it for much longer than that.

    On a tangent, never eat the liver of a polar bear. It can kill you. Polar bears have massive amounts of vitamin A in their liver. But vitamin A is good for you, right? Yes, but in the correct amounts...too much can be fatal to humans.
     

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