Switch to laying pellets now, or wait a few more weeks?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by David1998, Jan 9, 2015.

  1. David1998

    David1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

    131
    4
    61
    Jul 30, 2014
    Houston, Texas
    So that’s the question, a common one. My specifics:

    I have 10 pullets, several different breeds, 21 weeks old, one just started laying this week and another soon to follow. I expect the other’s to start laying over the next 4-6 weeks. I need to buy another bag of feed which will last about 3-4 weeks.

    I eventually want to put them on laying pellets, however I’m considering keeping them on Purina start and grow, non-med with crushed oyster shells on the side for another bag (3-4 weeks). I think that the extra protein in the start and grow might help my pullets continue to develop and those not laying don’t need the extra calcium yet. Or would laying pellets really be best for them as they all start laying.
     
  2. Probably stick with the start and grow for another bag. Some will start laying much later than others.
     
  3. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,650
    188
    186
    Jan 27, 2013
    Northern Wisconsin
    I would stick with the starter or an all flock feed with oyster shells indefinitely. It is my opinion that there is not a sufficient amount of calcium in layer to support optimal production or health. I come to that conclusion from observing my flock over the last couple years of being fed only layer, they never really laid well and they looked bad like they were in a perpetual molt, never regaining they're feathering. I added the oyster shells and within a couple weeks production ramped way up and all the rattiest looking hens all the sudden looked great. I also think the bit of extra protein a all flock or starter feed is helpful especially if you feed your birds a lot of table scraps or scratch feed
     
  4. chicksurreal

    chicksurreal Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,558
    304
    226
    Dec 3, 2013
    Arizona
    This is what I do too, we have roosters who eat from the same feeder and would not benefit from the extra calcium in layer feed, so we just kept the all flock after they were done with the chick feed and added a separate dish of oyster shell. The girls take from it when they need it and I've yet to see the roos even look at the oyster shell.

    They are very healthy and the eggs are supreme! Strong shells, we've never had any issues with them breaking (before we break them on purpose). Lol!
     
  5. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,650
    188
    186
    Jan 27, 2013
    Northern Wisconsin
    we did have quite a few weak shells when we were feeding only layer as well. I never worried about the rooster eating the layer we usually don't keep roosters around long enough for it to be a problem
     
  6. Eldergoddess

    Eldergoddess Out Of The Brooder

    25
    0
    22
    Nov 14, 2014
    As soon as most of my flock started laying I moved them all to layer feed.

    It depends on how long a bag of feed lasts for you. For me a 40lb bag of feed is about 2 weeks, give or take so when I ran out of chick food, when a few of my girls started to lay I just switched them allover and mixed what was left of my chick food together with my layer feed.

    Personally I would just switch them over, they are old enough to have big girl food. And it wont hurt them a bit. BUT I did kept my girls on the vitamin water mix for 7 months (from the time I got them till fall), and they will got back on the water mix come June to help them deal with the hot weather.

    I have a pullet that I just adopted, but she is eating the layer feed because unless I fence her off and make her eat chick food she is going to eat whatever is in the coop even if I give her a different dish of food to eat.
     
  7. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    11,005
    443
    328
    Jun 1, 2009
    Ohio
    I would keep them on the Start and Grow with oyster shells.

    Too much calcium fed to non-laying fowl can lead to problems down the road.
    Layer feed is meant for hens laying eggs. Chicks, Growing birds, Roosters, Non-Laying hens do to stress, health, season, molt etc. should not be fed high amounts of calcium since they have no way to expel it.
     
  8. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    11,005
    443
    328
    Jun 1, 2009
    Ohio
    You may want to look into the health problems from feeding too much calcium to non-laying fowl before you go saying that feeding a layer feed to non-laying immature fowl wont hurt them.

    Layer feed is not a, "big girl" or adult feed, it is a feed for adult hens in production and currently laying eggs..
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. chicksurreal

    chicksurreal Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,558
    304
    226
    Dec 3, 2013
    Arizona
    We keep our roos, so it could eventually be a problem for them if we fed them layer feed. It's a simple fix for almost any situation to just feed grower or all flock with oyster shell. [​IMG]

    I've been amazed at the strength of our eggs shells. We've never had one be thin or any problems with the eggs at all, the girls seem to know how much calcium they need.
     
  10. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,401
    172
    143
    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    The only real benefit I get from Layer is; #1 it's the cheapest feed & I feed a lot of chickens so it saves me $$, and #2 my customers think having a rock hard shell makes my eggs special so they pay me more $$ for them.
    If I were only feeding 10 personal hens and profit wasn't an issue, spending an extra $1.50 per month on a good feed wouldn't break the bank, so instead of Layer I'd use a higher protein like Flock Raiser.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by