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Ask Jackie headline

Click here to ask Jackie a question!
Jackie Clay answers questions for BHM Subscribers & Customers
on any aspect of low-tech, self-reliant living.

Jackie Clay

Q and A: Feed for laying hens and broody hens

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Feed for laying hens

I would like to make my own layer chicken feed instead of buying premixed from the farm store, do you have a recipe for this?

Monroe, Oregon

Here is my recommended ration just for laying hens:

Coarsely ground mixed grains including corn, barley, oats — 53.5 pounds
Wheat bran or rice bran — 17 pounds
Soybean meal or cottonseed meal — 15 pounds
Meat meal, fish meal or soybean meal if not available — 3 pounds
Alfalfa meal — 4 pounds
Bone meal — 2 pounds
Milk powder (not needed if vitamin supplement is balanced) — 2 pounds
Ground limestone, oyster shell — 3 pounds
Trace mineral salt — .5 pound
Vitamin supplements supplying 200,000 I.U. vitamin A, 80,000 I.U. vitamin D3, and 100 mg. riboflavin

Giving a total of 100 pounds — Jackie

Broody hen

I have a broody hen. I have taken her out of the nest box a few times though the last time she didn’t even stay out to eat or drink just headed back in. Any suggestions how to get her to stop sitting and start laying again?

Erica Kardelis
Helper, Utah

Some hens can be very persistent. Where are they when I want to set a clutch of eggs? To break up her setting, remove any eggs and take her out of the box. If necessary, completely shut the box off. You could also try moving her to another area for a couple of days. I’ve put hens in the goat barn, the hay shed, and other poultry houses. The change usually breaks up this habit. — Jackie

5 Responses to “Q and A: Feed for laying hens and broody hens”

  1. erica Says:

    Someone told me to stick golf balls under her!

  2. Dan Says:

    We had a hen that went broody. We just put a reusable gel ice pack in the nest and after two days she got the idea. Still lays in the box but doesn’t sit on them.

  3. Angela Says:

    I have read numerous times that if you put a broody hen in a wire cage with a wire floor and no bedding material it will break her.

  4. Susan Says:

    The old timers would turn a tub over them (propped up slightly with a brick) so they would be totally in the dark with the exception of the light from the elevated side. They would be provided shallow pans of water but no food for 2-3 days. When they were turned out they would begin to molt then resume their egg cycle.

  5. erica Says:

    I tried the golf balls, no effect.
    I tried ice packs, no help.
    I moved her out of the enclosure. The only place I had to put her was under a pine tree in my front yard that has fencing around it to keep the deer from pruning it. That seemed to work, she was so freaked out that she stopped being all fluffed out. She spent the first night in the tree and then used the tree to let herself out. I let her stay out but, didn’t let her back in with the flock. I even tried putting some empty eggshells where she seemed to be nesting. I was thinking she would she them as her job done and the kids had already left for college. She just ate the shells. The next morning, I didn’t see her hanging around the chicken enclosure and it turns out that she got herself back in! But she also isn’t broody anymore and might even be laying again.

    So, thanks for all the help.

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