Which chicken feed is better for laying hens

purdue777

Chirping
10 Years
Sep 16, 2009
18
9
84
We have always fed our hens 16% layer pellets until now. My husband has started purchasing what they call 18% Poultry feed, which is for any kind of poultry. Is this good for the hens? Better to use 16% or 18%, or does it matter? Need to know ASAP, hubby on his way to buy more 18%! Thanks.
 

theoldchick

The Chicken Whisperer
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
May 11, 2010
31,899
18,009
867
Layer feeds are designed to provide optimum nutrition for birds laying eggs for consumption. Layer feeds contain 16% protein and have increased levels of Calcium, for proper shell development. Layer feeds should be fed starting around 18 weeks of age, or when the first egg is laid, whichever comes first.

The protein has little to do with egg production. Proper minerals fed at the proper ratio is what is important for the laying hen. I feed Purina layer pellets to my laying stock with about 10 % of various other foods. However, molting chickens would appreciate the added protein.

http://articles.extension.org/pages/69065/feeding-chickens-for-egg-production
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,823
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On the MN prairie.
I feed an all flock, and will add oyster shell on the side when needed. That way I can have multiple aged birds all together. I don't believe the higher protein is going to hurt them. Just get some oyster shell and feed on the side so they can get the calcium they need.
 

purdue777

Chirping
10 Years
Sep 16, 2009
18
9
84
Thanks for your prompt replies! I think we will continue with getting the 18% layer feed then. But another issue has been occurring and I hope someone can educate me on this: Several of our chickens are laying eggs with "bumps" on them. I have been told elsewhere that the bumps indicate we are giving them too much calcium. Is that possible? If that is a problem, and the eggs are somehow defective, what is the solution to that? Is it in the feed? They only get a small amount of store-bought feed and scratch per day, the rest of the time they are free-ranging outside.
 

RWise

Songster
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
1,270
1,009
216
Oakhurst Oklahoma
I free range my birds, and use game bird chow with oyster shell on the side. With it on the side they can get it as they need\want it rather than having it fourced on them to get the protein. My girls get plenty from bugs, snakes and mice they catch, when the weather is good.
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,823
32,851
1,092
On the MN prairie.
Honestly, I have never worried about the bumps or any other things that give an egg character. Layer feed is always available, but my chickens free range most of the time spring, summer and fall. No egg laying issues. Try not to over think this, and enjoy your chickens.
 

chickens really

Crazy Mother of Goats
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 8, 2015
62,662
109,111
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The Funny Farm....Alberta, Canada
We have always fed our hens 16% layer pellets until now. My husband has started purchasing what they call 18% Poultry feed, which is for any kind of poultry. Is this good for the hens? Better to use 16% or 18%, or does it matter? Need to know ASAP, hubby on his way to buy more 18%! Thanks.
That sounds great to me..Then Provide Oyster shell separate in another dish...
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
97,866
134,435
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SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I like to use a higher protein feed to off set foraging and treats. Higher protein can also help boost production rates and helps get them through molting faster.
Yeppers!


I feed an all flock, and will add oyster shell on the side when needed. That way I can have multiple aged birds all together. I don't believe the higher protein is going to hurt them. Just get some oyster shell and feed on the side so they can get the calcium they need.
Same here.

Honestly, I have never worried about the bumps or any other things that give an egg character. Layer feed is always available, but my chickens free range most of the time spring, summer and fall. No egg laying issues. Try not to over think this, and enjoy your chickens.
Wait, what, @bobbi-j ?....do you feed both layer and all-flock?
 

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