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

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Songster
11 Years
Nov 23, 2008
300
0
129
In the middle of it all
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?
 

minna

Songster
11 Years
Oct 15, 2008
365
1
129
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.
 

ella

Songster
13 Years
Jan 18, 2007
1,201
11
181
Aboard the the Heart of Gold
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.
 

gritsar

Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
12 Years
Nov 9, 2007
28,906
225
421
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.
 

Akane

Crowing
11 Years
Jun 15, 2008
4,654
51
251
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.
 

wegotchickens

DownSouth D'Uccles & Silkies
12 Years
Jul 5, 2007
12,146
45
311
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.
 

jokker1978

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jan 29, 2009
31
0
22
i feed mine the same thing all year half lay pellets and half scratch ... works fine for me
 

chicknmania

Crowing
13 Years
Jan 26, 2007
5,661
918
382
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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