Something wrong with eggs

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,662
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While it technically doesn't hurt them to be on chick feed, it's formulated for the nutritional needs for rapid development. Once they're grown, some things need to be dialed back, like iron and protein, and others, like calcium and fiber, need to be increased....

If you don't want to get that deep into formulating chick feed with supplements and for seasonality, something like Flock Raiser is a good option

Have you read the labels on the products you are talking about?

You say laying hens should have less protein than is found in chick starter, and you recommend flock raiser.

But according to the Purina website, their chick starter has 18% protein, and their Flock Raiser has 20% protein. So what you recommended has MORE protein, not less.

Yes, laying hens need more calcium, so hens eating chick starter or flock raiser need oyster shell available in a separate dish.

The bag labels do not list iron, but egg yolks contain a lot of iron. So a hen that is laying an egg each day would also need a lot of iron.

I think chick starter is fine for laying hens, if they have a separate calcium source (like oyster shell.) Flock Raiser should be fine too, but chick starter should not cause any problems.
 

Tankueray

Bird Nerd
Premium Feather Member
Feb 12, 2021
249
578
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West Texas
Have you read the labels on the products you are talking about?

You say laying hens should have less protein than is found in chick starter, and you recommend flock raiser.

But according to the Purina website, their chick starter has 18% protein, and their Flock Raiser has 20% protein. So what you recommended has MORE protein, not less.

Yes, laying hens need more calcium, so hens eating chick starter or flock raiser need oyster shell available in a separate dish.

The bag labels do not list iron, but egg yolks contain a lot of iron. So a hen that is laying an egg each day would also need a lot of iron.

I think chick starter is fine for laying hens, if they have a separate calcium source (like oyster shell.) Flock Raiser should be fine too, but chick starter should not cause any problems.
Yes, as a graduate from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, at Texas A&M University, a biologist, wildlife conservationist, and environmental scientist, I did in fact learn how to read.

I'm well versed in the nutritional needs and requirements of many animals and know a whole lot more about the specifics of certain feeds than you apparently think, because I actually went to school for it. And as I said, without getting too deep into formulating custom feeds based on chick starter, All Flock or Layer will do just fine for most people's needs - depending on whether they have a mixed flock with roosters or only hens, and they're easily found at chain stores.
 

Tankueray

Bird Nerd
Premium Feather Member
Feb 12, 2021
249
578
136
West Texas
Very helpful, thank you! I actually just ordered Purina flock raiser because it's 20%, and I have seen so many posts recommending 20% protein in winter. We are having very cold Temps, right now. I haven't used ACV in a while, but did add a drop of oregano oil in their water this last time, just because it's been a while, and it is supposed to help in times of stress. What do you think about that?
The start and grow is not medicated. I ended that kind when they started laying. They do spend most of the day in their pen. It's covered, but they get filtered sunshine, if there's sun. They didn't want to leave the pen, yesterday, but I'll try them again, today. It's just so cold
So here's the other thing, most people have it completely wrong when it comes to protein and feed. Protein is not the most important number at all, and while more protein in the winter seems to make sense it is not. They need less protein and more carbs when it's cold, and more and higher quality protein when it's hot. You're fine, don't worry. I've got to go put everyone up for the night, but I'll come back and explain a bit more later.

Oregano oil is great, but I'm not sure one drop is enough unless you're giving them each small cups. Since oil and water don't mix, they may get the benefit of smelling it, but one or two would end up slurping most of one broken up drop of oil instead of all of them getting some. If you're going to drop it on, drop it on their feed or on top of a bowl of treat, just don't try to mix it in a feeder because that's going to take too much time and it could get expensive.
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,662
18,970
726
USA
Yes, as a graduate from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, at Texas A&M University, a biologist, wildlife conservationist, and environmental scientist, I did in fact learn how to read.

I'm well versed in the nutritional needs and requirements of many animals and know a whole lot more about the specifics of certain feeds than you apparently think, because I actually went to school for it. And as I said, without getting too deep into formulating custom feeds based on chick starter, All Flock or Layer will do just fine for most people's needs - depending on whether they have a mixed flock with roosters or only hens, and they're easily found at chain stores.

Since you say you can read, I restate my point: did you read the labels for the specific products you were talking about? You said laying hens need less protein than chicks, but then you recommended a feed (flock raiser) that contains MORE protein than chick starter.

No matter how much you may have studied, when you say one thing and immediately recommend a product with the opposite qualities (lower vs. higher protein), I'm not impressed.
 

Tankueray

Bird Nerd
Premium Feather Member
Feb 12, 2021
249
578
136
West Texas
Since you say you can read, I restate my point: did you read the labels for the specific products you were talking about? You said laying hens need less protein than chicks, but then you recommended a feed (flock raiser) that contains MORE protein than chick starter.

No matter how much you may have studied, when you say one thing and immediately recommend a product with the opposite qualities (lower vs. higher protein), I'm not impressed.
I recommended All Flock if she had a mixed flock of different breeds and ages, or LAYER FEED IF SHE DID NOT. And, the protein percentage alone is the absolute WORST thing you can base your feed choice on.

@Sammster - As promised, the short version:

What is on the label of the bag is generally only what is required by law and sometimes a few additional things to set them apart from the competition. Those are not the numbers you care about, it's the ingredients that go into making those numbers that are important. I can make a feed that matches any number you want with dog food and brewery waste, but that's going to be mostly crap, and could even have toxic levels of aflatoxin in it.

Chickens need differing amounts of amino acids, vitamins, and nutrients throughout their lives, that's where the different "stages" of feed come in, i.e., starter, grower, conditioner, layer, maintenance, breeder.

In addition, during different times of the year and/or depending on what the adult chicken's job is, different amounts of calories, made up of protein, fats, and fiber, are required, along with some specific nutrients added or removed. E.g., broiler, gamecock, breeder, show, molt.

Really, it's all about nutrient density. In winter, they need more calories, but from carbs, because they're easier to burn for energy and don't tax the kidneys like protein does. They also don't need the added calcium because they're not laying, or the added fat or protein because they're not as active and all that will do is create fatty deposits on their internal organs and lead to premature death. So more corn in winter at a lower protein level.
In summer, and especially in places where it's hot, they won't eat as much volume or calories as in the winter, so the quality of the ingredients matters a lot more.

There are also some ingredients that you never want to see in a quality feed and absolute maximum percentages of others for various reasons, and just like your own food or your dog's food, "by-products" aren't usually a top quality ingredient.

And chickens are not vegan, they need animal sources of nutrients, period.

At least three manufacturers of an all flock type feed are fully aware of all of this and have formulated that particular product to meet, but not grossly exceed, the needs of most use cases, therefore folks that want a product with the balanced nutrition they need without worrying about catering to specific species, breeds, ages, sexes, and seasons, can use that product with excellent results. I believe Purina even claims that their flock raiser crumble can be used in lieu of chick starter as well. Nutrena's all flock is only sold as a pellet, so it can't easily be used as a chick starter, and their chick starter product is much more specialized for that purpose, which I recommend if that's an option.

I use these products as well as mix my own feeds; I cater to each species, breed, sex, and age, and it takes a lot of effort and money. Unless you have a specific use case, one of the two major brand's off-the-shelf products are adequate for just about everyone.
 

Tankueray

Bird Nerd
Premium Feather Member
Feb 12, 2021
249
578
136
West Texas
In summer, and especially in places where it's hot, they won't eat as much volume or calories as in the winter, so the quality of the ingredients matters a lot more.
Sorry, I didn't finish that thought.
Because they don't need as many calories and eat less volume, the nutrition needs to have the most "bang for the buck", so high quality protein and lower carbs. Cut the corn out in the summer and add whole oats for the fiber and as a natural worming ingredient. The hotter it is, the more protein they need - because they're eating less, it has to count.
 

Tankueray

Bird Nerd
Premium Feather Member
Feb 12, 2021
249
578
136
West Texas
And for future reference, if you use medicated chick starter, switch to unmedicated after you've had them in their permanent outside coop for a few weeks. Don't use it all the way up to changing to layer feed.

The medicated feed's purpose is for those chicks raised in a brooder, without the benefit of their mother to throw dirt all over them 😁, to be able to make the transition to outside where they might encounter coccidiosis without any built up natural immunity. The sooner you can move them outside so they can play in the dirt, the better their defenses against your local strains of cocci will be. (Or bring a shoebox of dirt inside until you can.)

I only use medicated if it's the "rainy season" when they're brooding, and I have never had an issue of coccidiosis if there wasn't wet bedding. I changed over to using horse stall pellets in the outside chick pens for that reason, I had a waterer leak once and they all got coccidiosis. It wasn't something you could easily notice with pine shavings down, but that stall pellet is like clumping kitty litter in reverse, it breaks down when it absorbs water and it absorbs it well. So if there's a leak somewhere, there will be a pile of sawdust instead of pellets there, and it can be scooped out or raked around with the dry pellets. I used it for brooding ducks too, it was better than shavings, but that whole end of the brooder had to be scooped out with a shovel every day, better to use a platform or a body excluder for ducks.
 

Sammster

Songster
Jul 31, 2021
458
1,490
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SE Michigan
I recommended All Flock if she had a mixed flock of different breeds and ages, or LAYER FEED IF SHE DID NOT. And, the protein percentage alone is the absolute WORST thing you can base your feed choice on.

@Sammster - As promised, the short version:

What is on the label of the bag is generally only what is required by law and sometimes a few additional things to set them apart from the competition. Those are not the numbers you care about, it's the ingredients that go into making those numbers that are important. I can make a feed that matches any number you want with dog food and brewery waste, but that's going to be mostly crap, and could even have toxic levels of aflatoxin in it.

Chickens need differing amounts of amino acids, vitamins, and nutrients throughout their lives, that's where the different "stages" of feed come in, i.e., starter, grower, conditioner, layer, maintenance, breeder.

In addition, during different times of the year and/or depending on what the adult chicken's job is, different amounts of calories, made up of protein, fats, and fiber, are required, along with some specific nutrients added or removed. E.g., broiler, gamecock, breeder, show, molt.

Really, it's all about nutrient density. In winter, they need more calories, but from carbs, because they're easier to burn for energy and don't tax the kidneys like protein does. They also don't need the added calcium because they're not laying, or the added fat or protein because they're not as active and all that will do is create fatty deposits on their internal organs and lead to premature death. So more corn in winter at a lower protein level.
In summer, and especially in places where it's hot, they won't eat as much volume or calories as in the winter, so the quality of the ingredients matters a lot more.

There are also some ingredients that you never want to see in a quality feed and absolute maximum percentages of others for various reasons, and just like your own food or your dog's food, "by-products" aren't usually a top quality ingredient.

And chickens are not vegan, they need animal sources of nutrients, period.

At least three manufacturers of an all flock type feed are fully aware of all of this and have formulated that particular product to meet, but not grossly exceed, the needs of most use cases, therefore folks that want a product with the balanced nutrition they need without worrying about catering to specific species, breeds, ages, sexes, and seasons, can use that product with excellent results. I believe Purina even claims that their flock raiser crumble can be used in lieu of chick starter as well. Nutrena's all flock is only sold as a pellet, so it can't easily be used as a chick starter, and their chick starter product is much more specialized for that purpose, which I recommend if that's an option.

I use these products as well as mix my own feeds; I cater to each species, breed, sex, and age, and it takes a lot of effort and money. Unless you have a specific use case, one of the two major brand's off-the-shelf products are adequate for just about everyone.
Thank you very much!
 

Sammster

Songster
Jul 31, 2021
458
1,490
196
SE Michigan
Another jumbo egg, today! This came from the same nesting box as the small, bumpy egg, yesterday. So, one of the 2 girls I've been watching, whom I "think" laid the soft eggs a couple days ago. This jumbo egg weighs 3 ounces!
20220109_103524.jpg
 

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