1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

What to feed chickens to lay more eggs.

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by obsessedwchicks, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    funny The week I switched back to gamebird breeder mine started laying again, not withstading the other feeds (rabbit) they get into.
     
  2. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    22,037
    606
    448
    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana

    Amen to you 2. :bow :thumbsup
     
  3. NestingHillsSC

    NestingHillsSC Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,049
    143
    218
    Jan 6, 2012
    Tennessee
    Right mine went on strike as winter approached this year. As soon as I switched to flock raiser with a week all fired up again.
     
  4. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    3,479
    42
    243
    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    It doesn't have anything to do with pellets in particular, but the level of protein and how much they are eating.

    A pullet won't start laying until it reaches the appropriate weight and has the proper light stimulation. We feed 17-18% layer feed to 18 week old pullets until they reach peak production around 28 weeks old. Since the birds are still fairly light and not eating as much as a full-grown hen they need the extra protein in the ration to support the growth required until adult weight. Once they are all laying and have reached their adult weight (around 28-35 weeks old) then the protein is reduced to around 16% which is enough to maintain their weight and egg production in moderate temperatures (70-80 degs F). If it's colder than that then the protein can be reduced even further (or the ration can be cut with some scratch) due to the hens increased consumption. During the summer, when it's warmer than 85 degrees, the hens will reduce their consumption and require higher levels of protein in the feed to get the required protein into them.

    Here's an example:

    A 4-5 lb brown layer needs about 20 grams of crude protein per day to sustain egg production. In the winter, that hen will easily eat .3 pounds (135 grams) of feed per day. To get 20 grams of crude protein into her the feed needs to be at least 20/135=.148 (15% protein).

    Conversely, in the summer when that hen is only eating .25 lbs (113 grams) or less due to warmer temperatures, then the level of protein needs to be 20/113= .177 (17.8 %) to get that 20 grams of protein into her.

    There could be a number of reasons why 16% feed didn't support your hens' production; it may have been a poor ration lacking in specific amino acids, the hens may not have put on enough weight before production to sustain production, the outside temperatures may have been too high which led to reduced consumption, they may have been eating too much other forage or scratch and offsetting the nutrition in their regular ration, your hens may be fairly large breeds requiring more protein than a standard dual-purpose hen, or the caloric content of the feed may have been too low to sustain reproduction in cold weather (there is a limit to the amount of calories that they can take in each day and they may have been using all of them to maintain versus reproduce).

    But it's not necessarily the case that layer pellets cause poor production versus other types of feeds. You need to feed the level of protein that is appropriate to their stage of growth, level of production, and level of feed consumption. It doesn't need to be as exacting as I described, but a general understanding goes a long way towards deciding what to feed them.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. NestingHillsSC

    NestingHillsSC Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,049
    143
    218
    Jan 6, 2012
    Tennessee
    This is all true. You ask everybody here and it's all different. You feed your chickens what is best for them. I experimented and found flock raiser no matter the cause best suits my chickens under all there situations. So that's what I go with.

    New people come here for opinions and that's exactly what they are getting. Weather good, bad or indifferent. It's all a test on what works for your breed, weather, how much area they have...the list goes on and on. All we can do, the people who's had success raising chickens is to share our knowledge with people. Free knowledge is priceless. It's like being handed a check for $1,000,000.00 that we don't deserve. We should thank God himself for all the people here willing to share what they know.

    I am never to smart to learn new things. I read everything people say on here. Does it all work or fit my situation. No. But none the less I still take everything into consideration. Weather I agree or not. We all have to make our own choices on what we think is best.

    I don't know why I went on the tangent. [​IMG]
     
    6 people like this.
  6. ll

    ll Chillin' With My Peeps

    They need alot of fresh water to help make an egg.
    I read occasionally sprinkling pepper on their food does something [​IMG]

    Is game bird food cheaper or comparable?
     
  7. Quyen Le

    Quyen Le Chillin' With My Peeps

    323
    10
    101
    Jul 9, 2012
    Game bird food is more expensive but higher in protein. Some game bird starter is at 28%, some at 30% protein and they both sold here $22.99 for 50 lbs bag.
     
  8. RWise

    RWise Chillin' With My Peeps

    259
    2
    91
    Dec 25, 2012
    Oakhurst Oklahoma
    My girls wont touch layer food, I ended up dumping it out, they do like the whole grains that I feed them!
     
  9. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    22,037
    606
    448
    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana

    The game bird feed that I buy is WAY cheaper than lay pellets or any other poultry feed. It's made at a local mill in my area.
     
  10. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    22,037
    606
    448
    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana

    Exactly! What works for me may not work for the next person. I have my own documented results when feeding different types of feed. I did an experiment when I noticed the decline in egg production when I fed my hens Lay Pellets and switched to Game Bird. I did this on 3 different occasions to make sure that it wasn't a fluke. I fed my hens Game Bird pellets and documented EVERY DAY the number of eggs that they layed. I did this for an extended period of time. I switched them back to Lay Pellets and I documented EVERY DAY the number of eggs that they layed. I did this 3 times and EVERY SINGLE TIME, the results showed the when I fed them LAY PELLETS, there was a drastic decline in egg production. And when I fed them GAME BIRD PELLETS, the egg production increased DRASTICALLY and the size of the eggs were HUGE with an increased amount of protein with the Game Bird Pellets. Egg production almost doubled. So, my documentation is based on an actual experiment. So, I don't listen to what people tell me what to feed and I don't pay attention to or listen to theories. I listen to my hens and their egg laying tells me that they do better on Game Bird Pellets at 26% protein. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013
    2 people like this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by