In order to produce an egg each day, laying hens need high levels of calcium, vitamins, and minerals. As adults, hens require different nutrients as opposed to when they were growing chicks. Now, much of their energy is devoted to egg production rather than growth.
Many of these valuable nutrients are transferred directly to the egg during its formation. Therefore, it’s important that hens are receiving a balanced ration in a layer feed. Introducing layer pellets to your flock once they are mature is considered an important step towards maintaining your production of farm fresh eggs!
Despite this, many people who raise laying hens struggle with knowing the proper time to introduce their hens to laying pellets. Your flock’s specific goals will determine the best layer pellets for your hens. It’s important to choose a complete layer feed before introducing the new pellets.
Laying hens are considered mature or adults by 18 weeks of age. Around this time, hens begin to produce and lay eggs. During this milestone, it is recommended to then switch from a starter-grower feed to a chicken layer feed such as MannaPro’s Organic Layer Pellets.
Ideally, you should make your layer feed selection by the time the hens are 16 weeks of age so you’re ready to make the feed transition at week 18. Digestive upset can occur if the feed is not introduced gradually. When birds reach 18 weeks of age or whenever the first egg arrives, begin the gradual transition towards a layer feed.
Many hens will consume mixed feed without noticing a change. Once laying hens are eating both feeds, it is recommended to stop feeding the starter-grower and make the complete switch to layer feed. The majority of hens will adjust within a couple of days, but a full transition could take a couple weeks depending on your flock.
Once the transition is made, its best to stick to a routine! Free-ranging birds can be offered complete layer feed before they go out each morning. This allows the birds to consume their essential nutrients before filling up on plants or insects. We recommend providing free-choice layer feed to your flock. Switching out the feed each morning can assist in maintaining a routine.
MannaPro recommends introducing Organic Layer Pellets into your mature laying chickens’ diet around 16 weeks of age. This feed is composed of 16% protein and is USDA certified. It is free from pesticides, medications or genetically modified ingredients.
As always, consult with your local Stockdale’s feed and animal health specialist to help selectthe right layer pellets for your flock!