What to feed older hens not laying as much

Discussion in 'Nutrition - Sponsored by Purina Poultry' started by jmrogers1114, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. jmrogers1114

    jmrogers1114 New Egg

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    Apr 9, 2016
    Central/western Ohio
    Hello, I inherited a flock of chickens when I moved to my new small farm, estimated age about 2-3 years or so. Started with 8 and lost one due to "visceral gout". The department of agriculture vet thought the layer feed was too rich as she had stopped laying and the 16% protein feed overwhelmed her kidneys leading to the gout. I have 7 hens remaining, and they are laying about 30% of what they were last summer, some have stopped altogether. My question is, do I keep them on the 16% layer feed? Although I kept the flock all last winter, and they resumed laying this spring after a break over winter, I am not sure what I am going to do over this winter. I don't want to lose one or more to "gout", and may decide to move them on for the table and start fresh in the spring. This is my first flock of chickens so it's all new to me.

    Thanks for any insights you may have.

    Jan
     
  2. DrPatrickBiggs

    DrPatrickBiggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 20, 2015
    At that age, your hens are beginning their decline in egg production. I would recommend moving those hens to Flock Raiser (20% protein). If you are concerned that this protein level is too high, then go with Purina Start & Grow. Be sure to provide some supplemental oyster shell for those hens that are still laying eggs.
     
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  3. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Actually, it's the calcium that is causing your problem, not the protein.
     
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  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    All flock with 20% protein is what I feed to my mixed age and gender flock. The calcium to high for non layers can cause kidney issues. You are the first I have met to actually experience it though. I like a little more protein to help grow feathers when molting. And it would take EXTREME amounts of protein to cause that problem. I always provide oyster shell on the side and only the layers will use it.
     
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  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    If you go lower than 16%, seems too low to me. Of course I am not a vet. [​IMG]
     
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  6. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    I just noticed you are new here. It's a great learning and sharing community! Lots of people have different ways that work for them. [​IMG] So I am just sharing my experience.
     
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  7. jmrogers1114

    jmrogers1114 New Egg

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    Apr 9, 2016
    Central/western Ohio
    Thank you for the insights. Yes, I believe it is the calcium that is the main problem, so just for clarification, there must be different combinations of protein and calcium in the different "levels of protein" (e.g. 16%, 20% etc) feeds? Is that correct? So I should look for more protein and less calcium? I have been getting the feed at my local Tractor Supply Store, but may have to venture to a different source for feed. As I said, yes, I am very new to this. . .thanks for all the suggestions, I do LOVE this site, it has already helped me so much. Feeling very green. [​IMG] Ha ha ha. [​IMG] I do provide oyster shell on the side by the way, as well.
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Quote:
    Articular gout is from excess protein, visceral gout is from excessive calcium.
    Layer feed is usually about 4% calcium. All other feeds are about 1% (which is sufficient for any birds not actively building egg shells).

    The protein % listed on a bag of feed is the crude protein level. But it is more complicated than that because that crude protein is made up of essential and non-essential amino acids that are needed in various levels by birds for growth, body maintenance and production. Excess protein will be processed by the liver and ends up as ammonia in the bedding. If not breeding or molting, 16% is adequate.
     
  9. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Ah, I didn't realize there were 2 kinds of gout. Thanks for the info.
     

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