switching feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by wintercluckers, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. wintercluckers

    wintercluckers Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 5, 2010
    Northern, CA
    my hens are 19 weeks today and haven't started laying yet but it is definitely winter here and we are trying out different methods to keep the daylight hours going (newest method- LED light for energy conservation). There coop stays above 40 degrees with about 40% humidity without a heater in there. They have been on grower crumbles since we got them at 12 weeks along with some kitchen scraps and free range for about 3-4 hours daily. We also give them scratch in the evenings since I've read that helps keep them warm and they really love it! We are just about out of the grower feed and I am wondering if I can just switch them over to laying feed. We've been given a bag of crumbles and a bag of pellets from another owner that sold her chickens. Can I mix those together and start feeding them laying feed when the grower feed runs out? Should I mix the scratch with it (like 1:4) or just keep giving that to them free-style? I heard the pellets make for less poop (is that possible?? these little hens poop NONSTOP!). Any advice would be welcome- these are my first hens since raising them as a kid!
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    They are at a hard age for this time of year. They could start laying tomorrow. They may wait until warm weather. One may start tomorrow and the rest wait. I cannot give you any guarantees what will happen. If they were mine, I'd probably keep them on Grower until they started to lay. Then, if one started to lay, you could either switch to Layer or stay on Grower and offer oyster shell on the side.

    As for scratch, I'd suggest not overfeeding it. The general recommendation for treats is to feed them only what they can clean up in ten to twenty minutes. They will eat more in winter to take in more calories to stay warm, but I'd still recommend staying close to the 20 minute limit. They'll eat more of the regular feed to. If they start laying, they will eat even more, but that needs to be the Grower or Layer since that contains more of what they need to make eggs. Scratch does not contain that, at least not nearly as much.

    At that age I really see nothing wrong with mixing the pellets (which I assume is Layer) with the Grower. They are at an age that the extra calcium shouldn't hurt them, expecially if it is mixed. Don't be too surprised if they pick out either the crumbles or pellets and leave the other behind. Mine prefer the pellets and will pick them out of the crumbles, but others report exactly the opposite. I have to let them get a bit hungry then they will finish off the crumbles, then I will give then some more. Sometimes you must discipline your children to get them to eat right.

    I have never hear that about pellets making less poop. I personally don't believe it, but I have no specific knowledge about where that idea would even come from.

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