What do you feed chickens during winter if they aren't laying?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Skip, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. Skip

    Skip Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm starting a range-fed egg business and it's going to be seasonal. I don't want to force my chickens to lay, so I won't give them light in the winter. What should I feed them?
  2. herechickchick

    herechickchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2007
    Memphis TN
    I do not change my feed for the seasons.
  3. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    mine gets layer feed year round.
  4. minna

    minna Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2008
    Burnsville, MS
    The same thing they always get. You aren't forcing them to lay, not technically. Just helping them. I think changing their food just b/c of season change might not be good for them. Mine get layer crumbles and scratch grain, all the time.
  5. ella

    ella Chillin' With My Peeps

    I switch to half layer, half unmedicated chick starter.

    Some brands have flock raiser which would probably be what you're looking for. Game bird or feed for meat chickens would work too.

    Layer feed won't make them lay, but they don't need the extra calcium when they aren't laying and they do appreciate the extra fat and protien.

    Don't be surprised if during their first and second winter the hens keep laying even if you don't have extra light.

    It's always a good idea to keep a container of oyster shell out there so they can take what they need.
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I agree. Once they're on layer feed I see no reason to change that. Changing feed back and forth is liable to create more problems (digestive upset, etc.) than if you just leave it alone.
  7. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    The only thing I would do is add some high energy treats. More calories, protein, and carbs in the treats. I use sunflower seeds and the occasional block of suet. Their regular feed I would keep the same.
  8. wegotchickens

    wegotchickens DownSouth D'Uccles & Silkies

    Jul 5, 2007
    Sevier County, TN
    I fed mine 1/2 layer 1/2 gamebird food while they were molting & not laying, plus added higher proten leftovers as treats whenever I could.
  9. jokker1978

    jokker1978 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 29, 2009
    i feed mine the same thing all year half lay pellets and half scratch ... works fine for me
  10. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    Ours are free range and we don't believe in artificial light to encourage laying either. We do give ours Aviacharge in the wintertime. We haven't fed them layer this winter but will start giving them layer as spring approaches, end of February or March, probably.
    We like to give them a little supplement in the winter time to supplement the protein and other things they miss out on when they can't free range, and we think it helps keep them healthier overall. Last winter we gave them kelp meal instead of vitamins, it works well too and is cheaper but you have to be sparing with it, it has a lot of salt in it. We feed cracked corn and scratch and feed twice to three times a day in winter, evening feeding is right before they go to roost.

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