When to switch to layer feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by curly_kate, Jul 17, 2008.

  1. curly_kate

    curly_kate In the Brooder

    Jun 20, 2008
    Aurora, IN
    Our chicks are about 14 weeks now, and my husband just bought them layer feed because he thinks it will get them to lay eggs. I also have been scattering oyster shells in their run every day, if they want them. Acc. to the Encyclopedia of Country Living, "there can't be such a thing as too much calcium in a chicken's diet," but I've seen otherwise on the boards here. So my question is, can you "convince" a chicken to start laying with more calcium, or should you wait until you see an egg, or until they get to a certain age, before you start with the layer feed? Will it hurt them to give them oyster shells or layer feed now? If nothing else, I'll hang on to the bag and buy another bag of grower feed.

    Help, please! [​IMG]
  2. lurky

    lurky Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    They should be on grower feed until you start getting eggs and then you can put them on layer. Starting layer now can have the reverse effect as they won't be getting what they need now.
  3. kiya4jah

    kiya4jah In the Brooder

    May 13, 2008
    I agree, you definitly want to keep them on grower feed. You can harm them if you put them on layer too soon. Chickens rarley lay at 14 weeks. Giveing them time to mature will pay off in the long run. You can't hurry nature.[​IMG]
  4. lovemychicks9

    lovemychicks9 Songster

    Apr 29, 2008
    South Carolina
    Oh if it were only that easy!!!! No unfortunatly you can not "convince " them to lay with layer pellets, they will when they are ready. They need to be on grower or chick starter until you see the first egg or at least until they are about 20 weeks. Layer feed if I am not mistaken has more calcuim then they need and I belive the protien is lower then the starter. Also they do not need the oyster shell either, take it away until they start laying and if you are giving treats trade the oyster shell for grit instead.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2008
  5. curly_kate

    curly_kate In the Brooder

    Jun 20, 2008
    Aurora, IN
    Thanks, you guys! That definitely clears things up.
  6. ZooMummzy

    ZooMummzy Queen of the Zoo

    Mar 31, 2008
    Philomath, Oregon
    Well I listened, stupidly, to the girls at the feed store and put my hens on layer crumble at 12 weeks. They are doing fine, all very healthy and happy pullets, but I wish I had checked here first. I'm not switching back now but it probably is best to wait like everyone says.

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