1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    Not a member yet? join BYC here & then introduce yourself in our community forum here.

Should I give my hens a rest from laying?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by braggsrus, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. braggsrus

    braggsrus In the Brooder

    Apr 21, 2009
    A friend of mine told me that it would be good for my birdies (ie. extend their laying time and give them a rest from the stress of laying) if I took them off of laying pellets for a while. Is this a common practice? If so, what should I feed them and how long. My birds are only 15 mos. old.

    Thanks so much for the info.
  2. SpringChickens

    SpringChickens Songster

    Feb 1, 2009
    College Station, Tx
    I think what your friend is thinking of is a forced molt. The large commercial companies do it all the time - you just stop feeding them for a period of time (10 days, I think?) and they molt and produce better when they come through it.

    Personally, I think it is cruel and won't do a forced molt on mine. They can molt on their own time.

    That said, a break from egg laying is good for them. If you have one who goes broody, it can be a benefit to allow her to stay broody for a time to give her body a break from laying eggs. It just isn't my choice to force them to stop laying by starving them.
  3. Colored Egg Farmer

    Colored Egg Farmer Chicken overload

    I would just let nature take its course. What you are trying to do is a "Forced Molt" Which lets the chickens regenerate for another laying cycle. Molts are mostly run by the number of hours of daylight. The best advice is to just let things go normally. They will naturally molt in the fall/winter and begin laying agian in the spring due to the shorter days of winter.
  4. Tiramisu

    Tiramisu Got Mutts

    May 3, 2008
    Milan PA
    I don't think this person is doing a force molt. I think they are askign to take them off layer feed and switch to something else.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2010
  5. SpringChickens

    SpringChickens Songster

    Feb 1, 2009
    College Station, Tx
    Quote:I don't think so, Tiramisu. Only because the OP said that their friend said that it would give them a break from laying for a while. If they just take the birds off of layer feed and switch to another feed, they won't stop laying.
  6. Colored Egg Farmer

    Colored Egg Farmer Chicken overload

    Quote:I don't think its 10 days when we used to do molts we used the light settings more than restricting feed. usually depending on what kinda molt they are trying to put them into
  7. SpringChickens

    SpringChickens Songster

    Feb 1, 2009
    College Station, Tx
    Quote:You're probably right - I knew at one point in my life, but not any more...
  8. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Songster

    Apr 2, 2010
    Sullivan, IL
    Taking them off laying pellets and feeding them something different will not benefit them in any way. In fact, it has the potential to harm them because they will continue to lay and other types of feed do not have adequate calcium and nutrition to support egg production. Pet birds (like cockatiels and other parrots) often have a lot medical complications if they are chronic egg layers because their diets are not formulated to provide everything they need to make a lot of eggs. Switching them from a layer feed to a non-layer feed is likely to increase the likelihood of problems such as egg binding. Your birdies will take a break from laying when nature intends them to (ie when they molt and/or when the amount of light decreases enough), so keep them healthy by continuing to feed them the laying pellets to make sure they have the best nutrition.
  9. spottedtail

    spottedtail Songster

    Aug 5, 2007
    Put them back on Layer.

    If you want your hens to have a rest, do nothing.
    They will decrease egg production in the Fall, as daylight gets shorter.
    That's their natural rest time.

    Some people give hens additional winter light to get extra egg production.
    Of course that's not for your hens this winter.

    Good luck,
  10. Smoky73

    Smoky73 Lyon Master 11 Years

    Feb 8, 2007
    Quote:Changing feed to something other than layer will not stop them from laying, they will lay till they molt on their own no matter what you feed them.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: