what to feed my laying hens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by KristiSheeler, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. KristiSheeler

    KristiSheeler New Egg

    2
    0
    7
    Sep 15, 2011
    This is my second year raising chickens from day old hatchlings. We butchered all our Rhode Island Red's last fall and started fresh again this spring and now they are about 16 weeks old. When will they start to lay eggs? They are free range and I am feeding them a Layer's crumble and was going to start giving them oyster shells. Do I have to wait until they start laying to feed them the oyster shells or should I start now? Will the eggs taste funny if they have been eating thousands and thousands of grasshoppers?
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    If, IF you have ISA Browns or other super early layer, then layer feed is likely OK. That simply fact is that far more of the breeds don't actually lay until 20 weeks, a full month from now. More of the breeds won't really lay until 24 weeks, almost 2 months from now. Few of the breeds really get cranked up until 6 months old.

    Even when they do start, they lay little pullet eggs for a month. Point is simple. Your young chickens really don't need layer feed yet. You've a ways to go. The Flock Raiser or high quality grower type feed is all they need for awhile. The eggs won't taste funny because they're gorging on grass hoppers.
     
  3. KristiSheeler

    KristiSheeler New Egg

    2
    0
    7
    Sep 15, 2011
    perfecto! thanks muchly. grower feed is way cheaper too!
     
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    5,895
    701
    326
    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    The more they free range the more distinct the flavor of eggs, i.e. grasshopper= flavor. Now this "flavor" may take time to get used to if your used to yellow yolk store eggs. I'll admit after winter, when layer pellets is their sole diet excepting table scraps, scrambled orange yolk eggs of spring are potent.

    If your already feeding layer feed then you wont need oyster shell supplement. There may be a shelless, thin shelled egg here and there as they first start laying but that's normal and would happen even with oyster shell.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by