too soon for layer pellets??

Massey

Chirping
5 Years
May 1, 2014
101
4
78
About 4 weeks ago I got 10 chickens, all in and around 20 weeks old, (18-21), the day before yesterday I got my first egg and then 2 eggs yesterday so 2-3 are laying, should I switch to layer pellets now even before the rest start laying or is it too soon???
 

Blooie

Team Spina Bifida
6 Years
Feb 25, 2014
17,197
32,569
827
Northwestern Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
I started mine on layer pellets after I got my first egg. None of my non-layers died of kidney disease or any other doomsday event by eating it before they actually joined in the laying, and they are all very reliable layers now - sound and healthy and doing great.

I keep a small container of oyster shell in the run and if they want it, they eat it. If not, they leave it alone. Same with grit. I make it available but don't put it in their food or anything. They know better what their little bodies need than I do.
 

appps

Crowing
8 Years
Aug 29, 2012
4,784
647
321
Australia
I don't think it's going to hurt them for a week or two if you have a late layer in the bunch. It's more when they are on it instead of grower for a long time when developing

I always found doing a straight switch gave them dioreah anyway so just give them 50/50 layer /grower for a week to avoid that.
 

Blooie

Team Spina Bifida
6 Years
Feb 25, 2014
17,197
32,569
827
Northwestern Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
I don't think it's going to hurt them for a week or two if you have a late layer in the bunch. It's more when they are on it instead of grower for a long time when developing

I always found doing a straight switch gave them dioreah anyway so just give them 50/50 layer /grower for a week to avoid that.
Yep, I forgot to mention that gradual switch. Thanks, appps.
 

Massey

Chirping
5 Years
May 1, 2014
101
4
78
Thanks all for the replies, yeah had oyster shells in with them for a while now, do I need grit and oyster shell or does it work as grit too???

There is no windows in my chicken coop so quite dark during the day and I keep their feeder inside will they still eat in the dark???

My chickens are also eating out of the ducks feeder, right now its no problem but once I change the chickens to layers the ducks will still be on grower pellets, any idea what to do here,
 

Blooie

Team Spina Bifida
6 Years
Feb 25, 2014
17,197
32,569
827
Northwestern Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
I asked somebody who has been raising chickens for over 30 years that very question once when I wondered if oyster shell would act like grit. She said to supply both, because the shell doesn't stay in their crop long enough to properly grind their food. Sorry that I can't help with the duck feeding problem though.
 

cafarmgirl

Crowing
10 Years
Mar 24, 2009
5,521
610
327
California, central valley
If their food is in the coop then I would add some windows to your coop so it gets plenty of natural light as well as ventilation. Then your birds will be more inclined to go in there in the daytime to eat their food. As far as starting them on layer now? At their age it's just fine, even if some haven't started laying yet they are close enough.
 

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