We've been buying Purina brand chicken and duck feed for several years, mainly because that is one of the few feed brands available in our area. I was worried when I heard that egg production among hens fed Purina brands was down due to suspicious tampering by Purina with their formulas. Of course, this information left me concerned and wondering, Should we stop feeding them Purina? I reviewed the ingredients in their bags of chicken and duck feed and did some reading online. I watched numerous hobby farmers share their views on the matter. There were debates on both sides of the issue.
Since our hens had not changed their behaviors, we chose to stay with Purina. I'm here to tell you that our hens picked up their egg-laying right on cue after taking their usual (normal) early winter break when all of them were molting. It gets cold here, and the daylight hours decrease, causing a natural decrease in egg production on area farms, especially if you don't provide supplemental light (like us). A couple weeks after their molt when the number of daylight hours began to increase, our hens started laying again right on schedule. The quantity of eggs matches last year at this time. Little White Bird (an Americauna) laid the first egg in early January, just like she did in years past (she lays the prized green eggs), and the rest of the hens have been ramping up since then. We're up to 4-7 eggs a day now.
Here is the evidence. Two days' worth of eggs from 11 laying hens (8 chickens and 3 ducks). One egg is a duck egg. They don't all lay every day in the winter, especially since we don't provide supplemental light. The ducks are typically slower to start laying again.
I'm pleased to see we're getting the same quantity of eggs now as we did this time last year from these hens. It's more eggs than our family can eat, so the extras go to our neighbor, Brian, who loves getting farm-fresh eggs.
I would also like to note that Purina is one of the few brands offering duck feed, which has a higher protein content required for young ducks. Baby ducks need a much higher protein content so their legs grow strong. As soon as we switched to Purina, they got stronger and are very healthy now. As adult ducks, they continue to thrive on Purina chicken feed or mixed flock feed.
Our family isn't worried about Purina's quality or anything suspicious happening with their feed. Everything has been normal for us here on the farm.
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