Seasoned advice needed!!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by coachwife2004, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. coachwife2004

    coachwife2004 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 29, 2008
    Texas
    I am confused about what to feed my hens! I have two that are 1 1/2 years, Three that are 5 months and two that are 2 1/2 months I have been told so many different things I have had no eggs for at least 4 months I have tried only feeding the older ones lay pellets no change I have since stopped all lay pellets and am only feed scratch which includes a bit of corn, milo, wheat and barley I also add alphalpha pellets (Rabbit pellets) and sunflower seeds. The guy at the feed store who has been raisin chickens for years.......says dont feed them scratch only lay pellets or they wont lay and I might as well get rid of my older hens because they wont lay anymore??? But all those grains seem like a great idea to me that sounds very healthy?? I am totally confused!!! They also get out a bit to free range and I give them fresh veggies and fruit alot???? Please help me![​IMG]
     
  2. FarmerJamie

    FarmerJamie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 21, 2010
    Interesting question. My girls are 1 1/2, and get laying pellets exclusively. They are pastured and get a variety of treats. I remember reading somewhere that too much fruit can reduce production. Several of the girls molted a month or so ago, and my daily production is down again as I think 3 or 4 more are starting to molt now. Are they getting enough calcium and protein?

    You may have a a couple of things working against you?
     
  3. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    The scratch doesn't have enough protien for good egg production or healthy chooks and the rabbit feed is way to high in sodium for chickens. I feed gamebird feed to my mixed age/species flock and provide oyster shell free choice so the laying hens can meet their calcium needs. If flockraiser is available in your area that also works well for mixed flocks. Your older hens are at the right age for their first big molt so if you're seeing a lot of feathers laying around the coop/run that is probably what is going on with them.

    Most hens stop laying when they molt, but will start back up again when they're done though they won't lay as often as they did before. Mine usually go from 5-6 eggs a week to 3-4 but the eggs are bigger. I cull my layers at around 2-2 1/2 years old since production generally takes a real nose dive after the second molt.

    Your best bet is to get them all on a higher protien feed and only give them a handfull of scratch a day as a treat. You may even want to cut out the scratch all together and go with BOSS as a treat since it has more protien then the scratch.
     
  4. spottedtail

    spottedtail Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 5, 2007
    Minnesota
    The best thing you can do is to not mix hens of different ages.
    This will make all things less complicated, especially the feeding situation.
    Hens should go through life with the same flock mates from beginning to end.

    Seperate your birds into their respective age groups.

    - Feed the 1 1/2 year olds Layer pellets or crumbles ONLY... NO scratch.
    Your feed man is right. Provide Oyster Shell as well.
    - Also feed the 5 month olds Layer ONLY... NO scratch.
    - Feed the 2 1/2 month olds a 20% Starter with Whole Oats, 60/40 mix, until they are 5 months old. Then Layer after that.

    Feeding scratch only was, well, not good.
    It make take a while, but they should respond eventually if you begin feeding them correctly.

    Good luck,
    spot
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
  5. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    Listen to Kittymomma. Her advise is sound.

    Put them all on a Flockraiser or Gamebird feed with Oyster shell free choice. I would only add that until you see eggs again the only treat you should feed any of them is fresh greens. Sunflower seeds have a lot of fat for the amount of protein they derive from them, and if your girls were on scratch, they need to focus on vitamins and protein pretty exclusively for now. Save the sunflower seeds for winter.
     

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