When to start layer feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by chick on a stick, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. chick on a stick

    chick on a stick Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 19, 2011
    My chickens just turned 18 weeks on Friday. I am almost out if there chick starter. Do I start layer feed now, or do I wait until they actually start laying?
  2. homesteadinmama

    homesteadinmama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2011
    Wait til you get an egg then switch. You're almost there!!! [​IMG]
  3. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Quote:I start them on layer feed around 17 weeks, Since you're almost out of chick starter, that's perfect timing to start the layer feed, in my opinion.
  4. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Start them on layer when you get the first egg.
    Starting birds on layer too soon will do more harm than good. I your birds start to lay in the middle of a bag of starter you can just start supplementing oyster shells till you are out of starter.

    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011
  5. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2011
    Switch to layer is ok now. It will not harm the pullets.

    If you stay with starter, just supplement crushed shells when they start laying. There is no sense letting any feed go to waste.
  6. jtr

    jtr Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 6, 2011
    i started mine at 15 weeks just mixxing a little now they are nineteen weeks and starting to lay
  7. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Calcium --

    The egg shell is composed primarily of calcium carbonate. The pullet's requirement for calciumis relatively low during the growing period, but when the first eggs are produced, the needis increased at least four times, with practically all of the increase being used for the productionof eggshells. Inadequate calcium consumption will result in decreased egg production and loweregg shell quality.

    Hens store calcium in medullary bone, a specialized bone capable of rapid calcium turnover. As calcium stores are depleted, bones become brittle. In severe cases, hens are unable tostand. The condition is known as caged-layer fatigue. Birds on the ground or on litter floorsrecycle calcium and phosphorus through consumption of feces, and do not have caged-layer fatigue.

    Calcium can be supplied in the diet as either ground limestone or oyster shell. Particlesize affects calcium availability. Usually the larger the particle size, the longer the particlewill be retained in the upper digestive tract. This means that the larger particles of thecalcium source are released more slowly, and this may be important for the continuity of shellformation, especially in the dark period when birds do not ordinarily eat.

    Periodically, dolomitic limestone is offered to the feed industry. However, dolomitic limestone(which is used in the steel industry) should never be used in poultry diets. Dolomitic limestonecontains at least 10% magnesium, and this complexes with calcium or competes with calcium forabsorption sites in the intestines. The consequence of feeding dolomitic limestone is inducedcalcium deficiency.

    Young birds should not be fed a high calcium layer diet because the calcium/phosphorus ratio will be unbalanced, resulting in increased morbidity or mortality.



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