So deer guts and cat food are good for our hens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by dquarles74, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. dquarles74

    dquarles74 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 3, 2012
    Lufkin, Texas
    After reading some on Feeding Your Chickens for Cheap and the Old Timers thread am I understanding that getting meat waste from my deer processor friend and/or feeding my chickens cat food is actually better for them than laying pellets? I have 18 hens and 1 rooster. 13 of the hens are 20-25 weeks old. The other 5 are older - I bought from feed store but 3 of them haven't laid eggs since they starting molting this summer. How long should I wait before killing them - I would think that 3 months of no eggs from them would mean they are older than I thought and done laying? And my younger ones, a couple have started laying but I'm not sure which ones yet, and only two new eggs that I've noticed. They free range all day but still eat laying pellets, scratch, leftover pasta and breads and the occassional night crawlers I bring home. Just wondering when I'll get enough eggs to sell to my friends who have been asking - I thought with 18 layers I'd be getting at least a dozen a day by now.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012
  2. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Meat scraps and cat food would be in ADDITION to their regular feed, to supplement their protein, both in moderation. Chickens are omnivores so they need grain and vegetable, too (if left to their own devices, they will eat leaves, grass, bugs, mice, frogs, seeds,etc.).

    Three months doesn't seem like too long for a moult--it can take a while to get back up to speed after making all those new feathers. It takes a lot of protein to make them, which is why they stop laying (the protein is needed more for the feathers than the eggs at that point). Supplement their protein to help them get back to their laying. How old are your older girls, btw?
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2012
  3. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The shortening days also reduce egg production. Optimum is 16 hours of light a day...we've gone from an average of 5 eggs/day to about 3 in the last month or so. They'll be back in the spring...or sooner if you choose to provide some additional light in the coop before sunup each day.
     
  4. Dave1979m

    Dave1979m Just Hatched

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    make sure they have plenty of shell/grit too. Mine lay much more frequently when I top up their shell grit supply.
     
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  5. dquarles74

    dquarles74 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 3, 2012
    Lufkin, Texas
    The older girls are about 18 months - 2 years according to the guy at the feed store. I expected a reduction in laying while they were moulting but I didn't know it would last for months.... so this is normal?

    Thanks :)
     
  6. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yep, totally normal. I had a girl who decided to moult in the spring and never laid all summer. And now I have two Golden Sebright bantams who started moulting about 3 or 4 months ago and haven't gotten back to laying. Of course, they probably won't because I'm not giving them supplemental light (only my full-sized egg-layers are getting the light--the bantams are in a different house). I probably won't see an egg out of either of them until April. =)
     

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