When to switch from grower to layer?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by SassyKat6181, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. SassyKat6181

    SassyKat6181 Songster

    Aug 30, 2010
    Western Mass
    I have 6 Barred Rock and 6 Black Sexlink hens that are 18 weeks old. I just put the last 35# of the starter/grower in the coop. This should last them about 2 weeks. I am a bit confused as to when I should switch them to layer. I understand that the extra calcium if they are not laying yet is harmful, but I have read that they might lay soft shelled eggs if they don't have the calcium.......So, when do I switch??? Thanks
  2. Hottchick

    Hottchick Songster

    Jul 29, 2010
    I have one girl that is older than the rest and is laying. Instead of switching feed I put out a bowl of the pullet calcium. I have seen her eating some and her eggs are really hard.
  3. Tdub4chiks

    Tdub4chiks Songster

    Jul 8, 2010
    Constantia, NY
    My girls didn't start laying until they were over 27 wks old (xmas eve). I still have grower left, so I just supplement with oyster shell until I need to go buy more feed. Then I will switch to layer. That is what I've learned here on BYC.
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    If using layer feed, don't start feeding it to them until they lay eggs. If you have other feed left over, mix it in together.

    My regimen is thus: medicated chick starter until chicks are 8 wks old. Grower/finisher the rest of their lives. I keep crushed oyster shell out all the time, free choice.

    My flock is comprised of different ages because I'm always hatching and integrating new members. Chicks get moved from brooders to "grow out" coop/run sorts of lodging for about two weeks, then I let them out to join everybody else. I would not be able to keep the youngsters from getting into layer feed, and the laying hens really like grower/finisher, so it would be too difficult to feed different types of feed.
  5. nittanyxi

    nittanyxi Songster

    Apr 24, 2010
    I don't feel layer feed at all anymore. I can only get layer feed with 16% protien and I like to give them 18-20 so I give them Grower feed and a supply of oyster shells for calcium. They all look healthy and lay great.
  6. Far as I can tell by studying the tags on the bags, the big difference is indeed the calcium.
    Layer includes it, while grower feed requires you provide it as a supplement. Do the math or what is more convenient to your program.
  7. SassyKat6181

    SassyKat6181 Songster

    Aug 30, 2010
    Western Mass
    Ok, so I can continue with the grower and supplement them either with oyster shell or feed them back the baked/crushed egg shells? I am paying $15 for a 50# bag of Blue Seal. Not sure what the layer sells for, but it only comes in mash or pellets and my girls seem to do better with the crumbles. Thanks
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    That's what I would do. Don't start with layer until they lay. The first eggs won't be soft because their bodies have calcium that hasn't been used up by laying. Whatever grower you have left over can be mixed in over time. When it's cold and water sometime freezes, I give mine 1/2 layer 1/2 grower late afternoon mixed with water. Sends them to bed well hydrated and warm.
    And always give oyster shell separately and free choice. The layers will find and use it.
    That sounds a little high for grower feed but may be right for your area. Feed prices around here vary tremendously. Shop around.
    I have to get high protein grower from one supplier and layer from another.

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