What feed is best for egg production
I've always fed laying mash and scratch grains with some whole grain corn. I read an article this week that suggested for maximum egg laying no scratch grains or corn should be fed. Any ideas on that theory? Is there a type of laying mash that's better than others and are the laying pellets as good as the mash? Sorry for all the questions in one post, I'm fairly new to this, I have 10 egg layers, 4 pullets redish in color, 4 Americauna's and 2 old girls I'm not sure what they are!
Yes the theory is that a feed formulated to the needs of laying hens will perform better than a random assortment of grains (scratch grains & corn) Since such a laying ration is formulated to meet all the needs of the hens any additions just throw the ration out of balance so it is no longer optimal for the job.
Originally Posted by warcrise
There are two problems with mash feed, the components of the mash can become "unmixed" so the mash ration is not the same to all birds, and there is usually more waste feed with mash since anything that they drop from their beak is too small for them to pick back up to eat. Pellets deal with both these problems.
Since I have no ideal of what feed products are available in Pakistan I can not offer any advise about specific feeds but I would be looking for layer pellets if it were me. Good Luck!
Is there a feed to chick ratio for best egg production?? We have seven layers we got from someone else about three months ago, three RIR, two barred rocks or (Domenic's), and two partridge rocks. They were all laying one egg a day when we first got them. About a month ago I got a RIR rooster and now our two barred rocks have went broody!! So that's two that's not laying. I have been feeding a 50/50 mix of laying mash and scratch feed, plus they are free rang chickens. Our egg production fell way off, two to three a day. Got to doing a nest search and found the nest with 16 eggs in it. Gathered all the eggs and started leaving the hens in the pen until around noon before letting them out. Still only two to three eggs a day. after a week or so of hunting a nest I found another one with 14 eggs in it. The other day when I turned them out at noon I waited and watched to see if any were going to how me where their nest was, but none of the girls went to no specific place. Still getting one or two eggs out of the nesting boxes and have not found another nest outside the pen yet. will someone please tell me what I'm doing wrong and what I need to do to get the rest of the girls back on track. I am new to raising chickens and I have to do research to help me out. Hope I have explained this situation so all can understand it and will be able to help me...PLEASE!!!
First of all, cut out the scratch feed. Laying feeds are complete rations that should be fed alone. The only time I would include scratch is if you are seeing some very cold temperatures and then I would use it as a supplement to provide some additional energy. A second point to make is that birds don't lay forever. These are pure bred birds from what you describe and not commercial, hybrids. The commercial strains lay more than the purebreds and purebreds, even those known for egg production lay at their highest level in the spring. While you may have been getting an egg per day, chickens cannot perpetually lay and egg a day either. It takes about 25.5 hours for an egg to form so even though they can lay an egg a day for a while, they will eventually take a day off. Commercial white egg layers can lay 280 to 300 eggs per year and brown egg layers a little less. One thing you don't mention is the age of your birds. Older birds (over one year) tend to lay more their first year and then production falls lower each year of their life. Egg size tends to go up, but number goes down. Finally, purebred birds have a greater tendency to go broody and they don't lay when they are broody. They also don't lay when they are molting as they need the nutrients to grow new feathers and don't have enough to lay eggs and grow feathers at the same time. I hope this helps.
Back when I had chickens, I fed just enough scratch to keep the chickens tame. I would call them and then throw a handful out on the ground and they would run to me when I called and felt that they were safe to wander around my feet. Chickens are much easier to deal with when they aren't uneasy about your presence.
There is less waste with laying pellets. If they spill the pellets, they will pick them up off the ground. With mash, it gets mixed into the dirt and is gone. So laying pellets is what I fed to my layers and it's what my egg laying ducks get.
The quality of laying feed varies by the company that makes it. Each company has it's own formula and each company gets it's ingredients from a different source. The laying mash and the laying pellets should be exactly the same feed if they come from the same company. Pellets are the mash pressed into a pellet.
Not intended as an insult if you already know: I keep oyster shell and grit in separate containers available all the time. Laying pellets contain calcium, but I keep extra available if the birds want it. It doesn't spoil and weather doesn't hurt it so it can simply sit out there and they can eat it if they want it or leave it if they don't need it.
Rich has provided some very good information for you.
I do feed laying crumbles....as it's just a personal preferrence. My birds have never been big on pellets. I also do a lot of grains "free choice". (oats, cracked corn, wheat, what-ever is available at the time). If they want them, fine....they free range and are supplimented with layer crumbles.
Also, I feed back all of their egg shells and such for calcium, and vegetables from the garden. Watermelon rinds are a favorite. Since they do free-range, they pretty much get what they need from their surroundings. But, it's always a good idea to keep some sort of suppliment available if they are confined.
Also, my egg production has tanked from the heat.....just something to keep in mind.
Last edited by Angela; 08-09-2011 at 12:19 PM.
Some points about mash versus pellets. Pellets are more expensive to make than mash as the feed has to be compressed through a die to be formed. Crumbles are essentially broken up pellets. If you use a mash, make sure your feeders are properly adjusted so that there is only a very small amount of mash available to the birds (especially in a tube type feeder). If they are given access to very deep feed, they tend to dig it out and waste a greater amount of it. Goosedragon made a good point that mash can sometimes separate into it's component parts, but sometimes the cost differences justify the use of one type over the other. Personally I have been feeding pellets for the past several years.
I also feed nothing but pellets for both landfowl & waterfowl. I feel the lack of waste justifies the extra cost. Any bird will learn to eat them when they get hungry enough. They're mixed with starter crumbles at a few weeks old & when they begin to disappear, they're fed exclusively.
Bad day in Dover, Rich ?
Thanks very much for all the replies. As for the age I'm not sure, probably no more than a couple years old. The guy that gave me the seven hens (these are there ones that the two are sitting) Didn't say and I didn't think to ask. Oregon Swedes, no insult taken, I know it works, but didn't know to put it out as get when they want it thing, thanks!!
Y'all have answered a lot of questions and I am very grateful.
The older the birds, the less they will lay. Most commercial chicken houses keep birds for one or at the most two laying cycles. Then they are replaced. The reason is that the production falls off and it costs too much to keep the birds through the molting period which can last a couple of months.
Evy, I've been ok but just got off the forums for a while. Sometimes I just get involved with the students and faculty in the department and forget to check in. I'll try to do better. Finally had a Smew go to nest but she was pushed off her nest by a black snake. You'd figure if a snake was going to attack a duck nest it would get the most valuable nest it could. It left a nearby ring teal alone to get to the smew. Oh well. Do you miss your wild ducks? Rich
Evy, I've been ok but just got off the forums for a while. Sometimes I just get involved with the students and faculty in the department and forget to check in. I'll try to do better. Finally had a Smew go to nest but she was pushed off her nest by a black snake. You'd figure if a snake was going to attack a duck nest it would get the most valuable nest it could. It left a nearby ring teal alone to get to the smew. Oh well. Do you miss your wild ducks? Rich[/QUOTE]
Yes, I do miss them. Kept the odd-colored Woodies & a couple pr. of Mandys. I'm planning to winter the Calls in the ''big'' pen with them. It'll cut having to fight frozen water to one pen. That, I can deal with, hopefully.
Evy, We do the SAME. We do give Scratch Grain for a TREAT. AND we get 6 to 9 eggs daily from 14 Hens. Regards, Aria
Was picking peaches & thinking about you. That branch Lloyd grafted onto the Spy tree is LOADED with fruit this year. Wish he could see it.
Last edited by Evy; 08-16-2011 at 08:03 PM.