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Author Topic: egg laying feed - did I start too early?  (Read 2834 times)
SystemShark
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« on: July 19, 2009, 08:11:05 AM »

Is it possible to start feeding the egg layer crumble (with extra calcium) too early? I had them on starter feed until they ran out and when I went to buy the 2nd level, later then the bag said to start it, the store didn't have it so I just went from starter to egglayer.

They are freerange chickens so they eat other stuff too, bugs/berries around the yard so hopefully that compensates for being on the egg layer.

Also..one of my hens is really quiet, never hear her make any noise... and the other one calls for the rooster in the morning (I keep him inside at night/morning so he dosn't wake everyone up at 4am). they respond to eachother though... so its a weak crow from the hen..is that normal?

Got them March 14th as a few days' old peeps.. so I'm hoping for eggs in the next few weeks - but I'm a bit nervous that I screwed up big with the food.
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doak
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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2009, 05:20:29 PM »

The only thing it may do is leave off some things the growing chicks need.
You are only 4 to 6 weeks from egg laying.
May hatch would give you October eggs.
So the March hatch should give you August eggs.
Does that figure out right?
doak
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doak
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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2009, 06:18:12 PM »

If I remember correctly pullets start to lay on average, 22 weeks +/- of age.
doak
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SystemShark
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2009, 07:42:33 PM »

great thanks for the info!

I'm torn again - the one "hen" (I thought was/is a hen) is crowing allot more and doing more puffed up breast kind of things..its smaller than the foghorn leghorn rooster (that im 100% sure is a rooster)... man I hope we don't have 2 roosters!!! do hens crow very often? or am I just that lucky?
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doak
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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2009, 08:40:20 PM »

Young pullets will crow some time.
Notice two things.
The comb and tail.
Both are more pronounced early on the rooster's.
doak
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Natalie
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« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2009, 10:11:49 PM »

Its completely fine, you really didn't screw up big time.
 I give them Purina Start & Grow until they are 16-20 weeks depending on how many other chickens I have of different ages and then I switch them to the Purina Layer crumbles.
I have all different aged chickens that get integrated from the grower pen to the small coop and then into the main coops so I can only do the best I can to get them on the layer crumbles at the right age but sometimes I have an overlap where its not possible and they start a little earlier.
You didn't switch them over ridiculously early so don't sweat it.

As you said they free range so they are getting all kinds of other protein.
Mine free range too and I also feed all of mine black oil sunflower seeds, I throw a some on the ground for them once a day and sometimes I mix it into their feed as well.
I also feed them yogurt once or twice a week which is good for their gut.
Both of those give them extra protein and as I said the yogurt is good for the gut (they especially need it with all this nasty wet weather we have and the ground being so mucky) and the black oil sunflower seds make their feathers nice and shiny as well as being a healthy treat for them.
Remember to add oyster shells to their food or throw it out to them for free choice so they have nice strong shells otherwise you will have thin shells that break easily.
I just mix mine in with the crumbles.
I give them all of our left over pumpkin guts after carving them out near halloween.
I scoop everything out and give it to them, they go wild overit.
Pumpkin seeds are a natural dewormer and the pumpkins have alot of vitamins.
When the fall season is over I take all the pumpkins and just split them open and leave them to eat out.

As far as their age, the majority of mine started laying between 20-24 weeks but I have had some that were earlier or later.
 I have some pullets that just started laying last week at 20 weeks exactly but I have others, usually my easter eggers that have started as late as 28 weeks.
You can tell when they are starting to get ready to lay, their combs and wattles get bright red and they crouch down when you go to pat them.
Its a subservient pose they do, its the same one they do when the rooster wants to mate with them.
Mine usually started laying within 2 weeks of those signs.

Hens will crow sometimes, especially if there are no other roosters in the flock.
The signs of a rooster aside from having the larger wattles and combs is the saddle feathers on their backs.
While the hens have thick, straight, fluffy feathers at the ends of their backs, right before their taies the boys have thinner, longer feathers that drape down towards the ground.
They also have the long curving tail feathers and the longer legs and bigger feet.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2009, 01:04:35 AM »

I don't start mine on chick starter, I use game bird starter instead.  It has pretty much the same nutrients but no added medications.  If you have Turkeys, Geese, or ducks along with your chickens you don't want to feed medicated food as it will kill them if fed as hatchlings.  I then to to general purpose poultry feed, it has the same ingredients as flock grower without the medications.
Most lay mash or pellets doesn't have medication as it would carry over to the eggs.  If you are feeding a medicated development food you want to switch to a layer mix at about 20-22 weeks of age so that the medications will have worked out of their systems by 24-25 weeks when they start laying. 
Most heavy (dual purpose) breeds will begin laying between 24-28 weeks depending on breed, medium size will start laying around 22-26 weeks, while bantums run pretty much the same as the medium breeds.
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Life is a school.  What have you learned?   Brian      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!
Natalie
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2009, 10:39:12 AM »

I don't use the medications either, I use Purina start& Grow and then move on to the layer crumbles, they make the organic feed but sometimes you have to go to a couple of feed stores to get them, they have trouble keeping it in stock around here.
Everyone is in to the organic thing now.
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SystemShark
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« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2009, 08:35:38 AM »

thanks for the info - I guess i was just getting excited because I was thinking I should have had eggs already...but I guess that isn't supposed to happen until next month sometime.

I just determined that one of the chickens, I thought was a hen, is actually a rooster.

so two roosters and one hen.. all different breeds. Is it bad to have 2 roosters and only 1 hen? I mean I'd rather have more hens for egg production (i wish they were all hens to be honest) but I'd hate to return the roosters now - even tho the crowing is pretty annoying at times. When we originally got them the guy used a magnet to determine their sex and assured me they were all hens :p He said if they turned out to be roosters he would take them back and exchange for hens so I'm thinking of doing that.

What do you guys think?
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Natalie
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« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2009, 09:42:51 AM »

You absolutely need to return one of those roosters for sure or you will have some serious bleep fighting and they will fight to the death.
In a larger flock you need to keep at least 12 hens for every rooster you have. I have 15 hens for each of mine.
If I were you I would consider getting several more hens or he is going to wear that poor thing out. She'll have no feathers left on her back.
 Roosters like to mate around 20 times a day
« Last Edit: July 23, 2009, 03:45:41 PM by Natalie » Logged
Cindi
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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2009, 02:07:50 PM »

If I were you I would consider getting several more hens or he is going to wear that poor thing out. She'll have no feathers left on her back. Roosters like to mate around 20 times a day

Isn't that just a simply remarkable thought!!!  Thank goodness we aren't chickens.  Have that wonderful, most awesome day, lovin' and livin', health.  Cindi
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