Should I start feeding layer feed yet?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by odysseychicken, Feb 4, 2016.

  1. odysseychicken

    odysseychicken Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 21, 2015

    My four chickens (two Black Australorp's and two Buff Orpington's) are in their 18th week. I am trying to decide when to switch to layer feed. Some people say to wait until the first egg and some say (including the feed company) to start the layer around 16 weeks. Will it harm them much if I make the switch now and they don't start laying for another few weeks?

    Here are some pictures of the girls. The one Australorp with the really red comb has always had a redder comb than the rest. I was worried that she would be a he. But the feathers on all the birds seem to indicate females. Fingers crossed.








  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Judging by the combs, 1 is just about ready to start laying any day now. 1 still needs a couple more weeks to mature. And 2 are still at least a month or more from laying.
    Layer feed is only for actively laying birds, and if you choose to feed it, it should be the primary food source. It is not appropriate for hens that are not laying. Treats need to be limited to no more than 10% of their total food intake. If you free range or like giving lots of treats or scraps, then choose a grower feed instead of a layer feed for your flock and supplement with crushed oyster shell.
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Layer feed will not hurt them a bit at this point. Finish out what ever bag of feed you are currently using, and then buy a bag of layer. Or you could keep them on the grower, put them on multi-flock and offer oyster shell on the side.
    1 person likes this.
  4. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 30, 2015
    x2 this is what I did for mine you can put out oyster shell out free choice when they start laying incase you don't finish up that bag until after they start laying, then just continue it and then switch to layer.
  5. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    I feed Starter/Grower or All Flock and offer oyster shell and sometimes hard boiled eggs smooshed up with the shells for the layers. I often have a mix of chicks and older birds with an occasional roo tossed in to keep things interesting and that way I don't have to try to feed them all separately and I'm not constantly switching one food for another. They can stay on what they like.

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