When to change to layer feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by LightenUp, Sep 4, 2009.

  1. LightenUp

    LightenUp Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 17, 2009
    Laketown, Utah
    I have five hens. One is one week older than the rest and started laying last week! (she's a leghorn) My other four turned 20 weeks old on Sept 2, and my golden sex link layed her first egg yesterday! My question is, when do I change to layer feed? Also, at my local IFA, it seems to me that they have a few selections, for example, layer mash and then some others that I don't remember. Which do I start with and do I mix it with existing food for a while? Should I start giving them oyster shell also? And scratch? They have free run of my yard, so they are eating lots of bugs and greens. I also give them squashes and other veggies from my garden.
    Thanks so much for your help!
    Robin
     
  2. hungryhensfarm

    hungryhensfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 24, 2009
    Alabama
    [​IMG]I've always switched any of my girls to layer at or around 20 weeks of age. That's what I recommend.
     
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Layer feed is usually started in the 18 to 20 week range, or when you get your first egg; whichever comes first.

    I prefer layer pellets because they waste less. You should mix with your current feed if at all possible.

    Offer oyster shell on the side. The layer pellets I use has calcium added, but only 4% and I found I like the stronger eggshells I get when offering OS.

    I don't offer scratch in the summertime. Right now mine are getting scratch grains (cracked corn with other grains). When it gets really cold I'll switch to what we call plain scratch. It's finely ground corn and my chickens love it mixed with warm water to make a mash.

    Congrats on your first eggs. [​IMG]
    ETA: Layer feed is a necessity. Scratch is not. It's chicken candy.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2009
  4. LightenUp

    LightenUp Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 17, 2009
    Laketown, Utah
    Thank you all for your help!
    I went and picked some up today.
    I'm sure my girls will be very happy when I feed them in the morning!
    Robin
     
  5. gone chicken crazy

    gone chicken crazy New Egg

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    Sep 30, 2008
    Bremerton, WA
    I learned a lesson this past month. I have 10 chickens ( about 11 months old). They have been consistantly providing me with 6-9 eggs per day ( a very good return!) They have been fed the same layer feed ever since they started laying until I stopped by a different feed store and bought a different brand of feed (I was in the area, and it was cheaper!).
    I didn't realize how different a change in their food made. I have only been getting 3-4 eggs per day! I didn't know why at first, so I went back to my regular feed store to ask the owner about this (He has raised chickens in this area for 3 generations, so he is a great resource for me). I asked him what could have caused this drastic drop in egg production. The first thing he asked me was, "Have you changed what you are feeding them?" Feeling guilty about buying from a different source, I sheepishy admitted that I had. Then he gave me a big speech about the quality of the feed being important (not just trying to get the cheapest deal) and not switching on them (they can be picky eaters and not liking change). Now I really believe him! I bought 2 bags of HIS feed and vow to stick with it. I hope my girls forgive me for trying to go "cheep, cheep" (no pun intended!)
    Just thought I would offer that info. Hope your local feed store has a good source! Have fun with those girls and congrats on your new eggs!!
     

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