When to Transition to Layer Feed if Not Laying

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by NCchics, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. NCchics

    NCchics Just Hatched

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    Jan 4, 2017
    Could really use some help in knowing what's best for my chickens. We have 6 chickens who are each a little over 22 weeks: Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, and Easter Eggers. None have layed eggs yet, but we've been told by some that we should go ahead and switch to layer feed and that will help them make the transition. But I have also read that the higher amounts of calcium can be toxic if they're not laying yet...any thoughts or experience in this department? Has anyone else had chickens this old that didn't lay and found that they were still healthy after switching to layer feed? We've invested so much into these gals and our son has become quite attached, so as a first time chicken owner, I'm nervous to do anything that could harm them. Thanks in advance for any help!!
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    If you want to use layer feed (it is not actually necessary at any point in their life cycle) you will be best served to transition once all of the birds are actively laying. Until then, or as an alternative at all times, feed grower ration and offer oyster shell on the side so that any bird that does start to lay and needs extra calcium can take what she needs at will. I opt for this approach at all times as I prefer the nutrition offered by grower ration over that offered by most layer rations....and because it is easier when feeding a mixed flock (laying birds and non laying due to age, gender, molt, broodiness, etc)
     
  3. NCchics

    NCchics Just Hatched

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    Awesome advice - thank you so much!!!
     
  4. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    I meant to add -- switching to layer feed will not bring them into production -- the use of layer feed is to provide the calcium needs of a bird actively shelling and expelling eggs (calcium is not just in the shell but also helps with the muscle contractions associated with expulsion). Extra calcium will not cause them to start to lay.
    Your birds are not at all "late" in starting to lay -- while many in these breeds do start laying at or before 22 weeks, there is a wide range of "norm" when it comes to them starting to lay - up to and exceeding 28 weeks.

    Welcome to BYC and the adventure of chicken keeping!
     

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