Switch? Don't switch? What to feed 4 pullets and 1 layer

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ByeEyed, Dec 11, 2016.

  1. ByeEyed

    ByeEyed Out Of The Brooder

    May 21, 2016

    I am currently feeding Stratch and Peck grower feed and am in love with it. I feed OS and grit free choice and give regular (3-4x weekly) leafy greens in addition to scrambled eggs, mealworms, scratch, feather grower pellets and whatever makes its way into the treat bucket.

    My chickens are 31 weeks old and only my lil easter egger bantam has started laying eggs (as of last week at 30 weeks and 5 days). I have two more that are squatting and seem on verge of laying but with the short days and unpredictable weather... :confused: who knows really?

    I am about to order my feed but am torn between going for the grower feed with its higher protein vs the layer with its higher calcium. What should I be ordering? It is hard to decide considering not all my pullets have started laying but I don't want to risk hurting my EE's health by "shorting" her of calcium nor do I want to hurt my pullets by overfeeding calcium.

    Can I get away with free choice feeding OS and continue giving the grower?

    Once all the girls start laying, can I continue to feed grower and supplement with OS on side or is it necessary to switch them to layer to maximize their health?

    Sorry if these questions have been answered. I feel really stupid for asking but I just keep getting conflicting informatiom and want to make sure before I order the feed. Thanks for the help!
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed

    Hi. Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    You absolutely can continue with the grower feed and offer OS on the side for as long as you like. Incidentally, the ONLY thing feather fixer has is about 2% more protein than layer. So I wouldn't waste energy buying that.

    My girls can take up to a month past the time they start squatting before laying. I also do not supplement light. But the winter solstice is almost upon us and the days will lengthen soon. [​IMG]

    I don't have the weeks memorized off the top of my head, but many of my June 1st girls haven't started laying yet. Maybe only three of them have.

    I tried to get bantam EE.... no success yet though. [​IMG] You must be excited to get your first little colorful eggs! [​IMG]

    I have a mixed age and gender flock so I feed Flock Raiser with about 20% protein and 1% calcium and OS on the side free choice. Since my birds free range I do not provide grit.

    Best wishes!
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I feed everyone Flock Raiser and never transition to layer feed, with oyster shell free choice for the actively laying hens. You can keep feeding grower, but limit the goodies, and avoid the 'feather fixer'. Mary
  4. ByeEyed

    ByeEyed Out Of The Brooder

    May 21, 2016
    Thank you for the input Mary and EggSighted!

    I will continue to feed grower and OS free choice. Thank you for the helpful advice!!

    I should clarify with the feather grower pellets- Madeline, my appenzeller was attacked and her backside and one wing plucked pretty throughly. She (and the other girls) had just finished their moult when that attack occurred so I supplemented the stratch and peck with the feather grower to assist madeline with growing yet another new set of feathers. I'm just finishing the bag up then that's all they are getting until next moult. Yes, Madeline grew back all her feathers! I was surprised as I thought If they had moulted already, that was their only set of feathers and wouldn't grow anymore until next moult.

    EggSighted, Esther (EE bantam) was oiginally supposed to be a silkie but my pet chicken didn't have enough hatches so they substituted her. Soooo glad I accepted! She has grown on me a lot and her adorable lilttle blue eggs are just perfect. Unfortunately I can only look and admire, no eating [​IMG][​IMG]. She is now on antibiotics that have rendered her eggs unfit for consumption for three, yes THREE months. Those other girls better get to work taking up the slack soon! I will most certainly be adding more EEs to my flock eventually.... Esther is such a lil trooper bless her heart. She only started laying Dec 4th but she seems determined to lay an egg every other day and is always soo proud of herself afterwards.

    Anyway, thank you again for the input! It is muchly appreciated!
  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed

    I didn't think the the feathers would grow back either! For the next time, the fixers only secret is 2% more protein than layer. I would think your grower would be more than that even during your next molt. [​IMG]

    [​IMG] 3 years?! That's extreme. Don't think I could do it. @ least being bantam she won't tax the feed bill as much. Bet you might be able to feed those eggs back to her if not the whole flock?

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