What and when to feed?

Jenthehen127

Songster
Mar 16, 2020
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535
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Western Pa
OK, I thought around 20 weeks I was supposed to switch my girls to a layer feed. Then I saw some say they don't feed layer feed. They add oyster shell to whatever they are feeding. My girls get starter feed, one portion of which is fermented, the rest regular crumbles. They also get greens and seeds and some meal worms sometimes. They also have their free peck/scratch area. What are opinions on this?
 
Jul 1, 2019
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Once they lay their first eggs, you can start them on layer feed. You could feed chick feed with oyster shell on the side, but I have noticed that chick feed is more expensive. If your girls are 20 weeks and haven't started laying, they should probably be on grower feed, or starter/grower. I feed organic layer feed to mine with oyster shell on the side.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
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Jul 3, 2016
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Do what works for you, is the long and short of it. You can use layer, or you can stick with grower/all flock/starter and supplement calcium on the side.

I complicate things myself and feed layer pellets and fermented grower, so there's a little more calcium than if I fed grower only, and a little more protein than layer only.

If you have chicks or roosters, you want to feed anything other than layer, as the excess calcium isn't good for non layers.
 

Jenthehen127

Songster
Mar 16, 2020
253
535
166
Western Pa
Once they lay their first eggs, you can start them on layer feed. You could feed chick feed with oyster shell on the side, but I have noticed that chick feed is more expensive. If your girls are 20 weeks and haven't started laying, they should probably be on grower feed, or starter/grower. I feed organic layer feed to mine with oyster shell on the side.
They are 13 weeks now. Just preparing! Thank you!
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
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OK, I thought around 20 weeks I was supposed to switch my girls to a layer feed. Then I saw some say they don't feed layer feed. They add oyster shell to whatever they are feeding.

The only special thing about layer feed is how much calcium it has: too much for chicks, about right for layers.

When your chickens start laying, they need more calcium than before.

You can switch them to layer feed to get the calcium.

You can put out a dish of oyster shell, and otherwise keep feeding them the same way you are feeding them now.

You can put out oyster shell, put out a feeder full of layer feed, and then keep feeding them the way you do now, if you like!

With oyster shell, do not mix it into the feed--just leave a dish available free choice, so each hen can choose how much she needs.
 

Jenthehen127

Songster
Mar 16, 2020
253
535
166
Western Pa
The only special thing about layer feed is how much calcium it has: too much for chicks, about right for layers.

When your chickens start laying, they need more calcium than before.

You can switch them to layer feed to get the calcium.

You can put out a dish of oyster shell, and otherwise keep feeding them the same way you are feeding them now.

You can put out oyster shell, put out a feeder full of layer feed, and then keep feeding them the way you do now, if you like!

With oyster shell, do not mix it into the feed--just leave a dish available free choice, so each hen can choose how much she needs.
Thank you! I wasn't sure.
 

Doc7

Songster
May 12, 2018
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Central Virginia
I wouldn’t give layer feed.



I use Purina flock raiser Mostly but I will purchase Any major brand that has the latest manufacture date when I go to the store (tractor supply).


The way I figure, more than half the year:
- you have chicks
- you have hens not laying due to daylight hours
- you have hens not laying due to molt (and this can be months and months of the year if you look at all the times any single hen is molting)
- You have a broody
- You might have a roo

I just see no reason to buy layer feed when any given day one of these factors could be impacting the flock and layer feed would negatively impact at least one bird. This is why I don’t even consider any feed but the most recent mill date Flock Raiser (any brand) with a can of oyster shell always present.
 

Jenthehen127

Songster
Mar 16, 2020
253
535
166
Western Pa
I wouldn’t give layer feed.



I use Purina flock raiser Mostly but I will purchase Any major brand that has the latest manufacture date when I go to the store (tractor supply).


The way I figure, more than half the year:
- you have chicks
- you have hens not laying due to daylight hours
- you have hens not laying due to molt (and this can be months and months of the year if you look at all the times any single hen is molting)
- You have a broody
- You might have a roo

I just see no reason to buy layer feed when any given day one of these factors could be impacting the flock and layer feed would negatively impact at least one bird. This is why I don’t even consider any feed but the most recent mill date Flock Raiser (any brand) with a can of oyster shell always present.
Good thoughts. Thank you!
 

Chickstarrs

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
May 6, 2020
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Ontario, Canada
I wouldn’t give layer feed.



I use Purina flock raiser Mostly but I will purchase Any major brand that has the latest manufacture date when I go to the store (tractor supply).


The way I figure, more than half the year:
- you have chicks
- you have hens not laying due to daylight hours
- you have hens not laying due to molt (and this can be months and months of the year if you look at all the times any single hen is molting)
- You have a broody
- You might have a roo

I just see no reason to buy layer feed when any given day one of these factors could be impacting the flock and layer feed would negatively impact at least one bird. This is why I don’t even consider any feed but the most recent mill date Flock Raiser (any brand) with a can of oyster shell always present.
Shoot. I just ordered a bag of layer feed for the new pullets I am getting today. But I also have straight run young chicks that will be integrating with them, so there will be roosters too. Does that mean I can't feed the layer? Or I would have to keep everything separated? Maybe save the layer food until they are all grown, but then what about the roosters?
 

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