Switching to Layer

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by new chick 203, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. new chick 203

    new chick 203 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's time to switch to the Layer feed, but I have a lot of Grower left. Is there anything I can add to the Grower to make it the right nutritional balance, or do I have to just toss all this food?
     
  2. carrlr

    carrlr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Depending on the amount your talking about, and the number of bird, I would just mix it 50/50 with the layer feed. However, if it's medicated you don't want to eat eggs until they have been off the medicated feed for at least two weeks.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    You can mix it 50%-50% with the layer until it is gone. If your egg shells are thin or soft, you can offer them oyster shell free choice. If the egg shells are OK, don't worry about it. Oyster shell is cheaper than the feed and it never hurts to offer it free choice to layers, but it is often unnecessary. If they are not laying yet, you don't even need to mix it with the layer or offer oyster shell until they actually start to lay.

    When people have young chicks with the flock, one of the recommendations is to feed all of them grower with oyster shell on the side so the chicks don't get too much calcium. The laying hens do fine on grower with oyster shell on the side.

    Good luck!
     
  4. new chick 203

    new chick 203 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They aren't laying yet. They are 18 weeks and 22 weeks. I did put out oyster recently just in case. So it sounds like I could put off the Layer for another week or two then mix the 2 together?
     
  5. Alabama ee

    Alabama ee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I didn't feed layer until the first egg was laid. You might want to go ahead and use the grower you have left until you see the first egg.
     
  6. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As much as you want eggs, it doesn't do the birds any to push them by feeding layer. They'll lay when mature and the grower will help them achieve this. Wait for them to lay first. If you're concerned, feed oyster shell in a separate container and let them pick at it if they want it.
     
  7. new chick 203

    new chick 203 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks so much everyone. I feel better now. I had heard some people speak as if not feeding layer postponed the egg production.
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Quote:Not true. When their bodies mature enough, they will lay. The big difference in Layer and Grower is the percent calcium, about 4% versus just over 1%. I'd have to look at my bags to see the exact numbers. The protein content should be the same.

    Many commercial operations try to delay egg production a week or two by not overfeeding. It is not that they don't have a use for those weird tiny first eggs. They can sell those to bakeries, powdered egg makers, places like that. That's what they do with their other rejects anyway. They have found that the hens are more productive over their egg laying season if they do not start laying too early. The eggs are more regular. They are less likely to injure themselves or their internal egg laying factory if they don't start laying until their bodies are mature enough to lay. They have also found that hens that are overfed (get too fat) do not lay as regularly (skip days), are more prone to laying irregular eggs (like double-yolkers), and are more prone to injuries (like egg bound or prolapse). Not that the difference in layer and grower will make them fat. I'm just throwing that in there.

    There is no need to panic if yours do start early. When you have 5 chicken houses with 10,000 laying hens in each, a small percentage makes a difference. I don't have enough hens that a 1% difference is noticeable. I've had pullets start laying at 16 weeks and do fine. Those 7-egg omelets taste pretty good too.

    I know how hard is to wait for that first egg. I've been there. But you can probably tell that I do not consider very early laying a real desirable trait. I'm quite happy for them to be just a bit later. But if they wait much past 22 weeks, we do start to have some serious discussions about responsibility now that they have matured enough, even by my standards, to become contributing members of society.
     
  9. new chick 203

    new chick 203 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    they are bantam Cochins and I hear they start a little late. They aren't squatting, aren't interested in the nest box nothing, but I'd rather they be healthy than lay too soon.[​IMG]
     

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