Worried about too much calcium

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by lauraclaire, Nov 20, 2009.

  1. lauraclaire

    lauraclaire Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 9, 2009
    Bloomfield Hills
    I have 6 pullets that I have been feeding Countryside Naturals layer feed for the past 6 weeks. One of my girls has been laying for 3 weeks now (yippee!), but the other 5 are complete slackers and have yet to lay an egg. I didn't realize until after I got the feed that it is supplemented with calcium. My question is, is this feed dangerous to the kidneys of the girls who are NOT laying yet? They all look very healthy and happy but I would like to hear from some of the experts on this forum. Thanks!
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    I'll be interested in the other responses to this too. I've always heard not to feed the layer feed until they are laying so you are perhaps right to be concerned. I have a mixed-age flock, so plan to leave them on Flock Raiser, supplemented with Oyster Shell until the youngest is laying, just to be on the safe side.
  3. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Some poultry scientists actually recommend switching to the higher calcium layer feed a couple of weeks before the onset of laying. But, I probably shouldn't say that here since so often we are tempted to think that layer feed "makes" them lay. Perhaps, we can feed it to nonlaying pullets and there will be a benefit. There is probably very little difference between layer feed and pullet developer feed, except for the percentage of calcium. Layer feed won't make them lay.

    Note the "developer," "pre-layer," and the "5% to 50% production" feed calcium levels in Table 1, Feeding the Commercial Egg-Type Replacement Pullet. You probably can't go by that "15 weeks," however. These are production pullets and geared up to kick into production pretty much all at once and early compared to dual-purpose birds.

    The calcium in the feed is used by the laying hen to produce eggshells. At about 18 or 20 weeks of age, the pullet is probably storing a good deal of the excess calcium in the medullary bone and other bones of her skeleton. She no longer has developing kidneys and can probably void any extra that isn't stored or used for eggshell production.

    I wouldn't worry much about it unless the wait for eggs runs on for months and months.

    . . . just my 2ยข

  4. lauraclaire

    lauraclaire Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 9, 2009
    Bloomfield Hills
    thanks for the info! I think I will keep feeding them what I have and hope the 5 slackers get to laying in the next few weeks. If not, I'll think about switching to a whole grain feed and supplement with calcium. I guess this is yet another reason to read the ENTIRE ingredient list before ordering something!

    I would love to hear from more of you if there are any other opinions out there about this.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2009

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