I had a thought this morning, or more an observation actually. I have been getting weaker eggs lately, the shells are breaking easily and the yolks less rich in color. This has corresponded to 2 things; 1. I penned the birds because I got tired of stepping in poo (they have a huge yard though and always have vegetation growing) and 2. I had to go cheap and buy the regular laying pellets from Dumor, which is made by Purina. They get free-choice oyster shell and DE.
Now, I have no problem with the feeds in general, the hens seem healthy enough, but frankly, if I want eggs like those in the store I might as well buy them there, it’s about the same price and far less work. At least my hens get bugs and fresh produce regularly, but it’s not the same. Before, I had them penned and got rich, yummy eggs by feeding birdseed, a very high quality birdseed. We also went through less feed, but we were feeding the wild birds too which was irksome. Lately, though, I have noticed that the wild birds want nothing to do with the chickens feed; odd how switching to layer ration made the wild birds leave the food alone. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? My hens don’t really want it either. It’s mostly soy and corn, and the by-products at that. No wonder they don’t like it!
So, I am going back to feeding birdseed as soon as I can. I like the ones with sunflower seed. The hens did really excellent with nijer seed, though it is really expensive and you have to dole it out only in amounts they can eat in about an hour or the wild birds will eat a lot of it when the hens are done. I buy birdseed without corn or soy, and that is more expensive, then I mix it with oats and wheat if I can find it. Any whole seed seems better than the layer mixes or scratch grains. What you eat really does make a marked difference, and sometimes it’s more obvious in animals where you control almost every aspect of their existence.