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a question about feeding different foods to hens

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Hi I have five two-year-old hens and four nine month old hens. They share a rodent-proof feeder that contains layers pellets. I bought a bag of growers pellets and wondered if it is okay to supplement their diet with growers pellets say once or twice a week? Or to mix layers and growers together? I did research before but everybody says different things and now the hens have been through a moult (which is why I gave them extra protein) I wanted to check again. I also have a bag of chick crumb and wondered if I could give them some of that sometimes too. Any advice would be happily recieved. I don't want to do harm by trying to to right!

I don't feed my hens kitchen scraps but I do hang up cabbages or dandelions often for them.

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You will find the chick crumb just drops to the bottom, so they don't eat it anyway. I'd just throw it away or bury it in the compost heap. Worth checking if your rearers has significantly more protein than layers, because if not it's not worth doing. However, here we do add rearers to the layers pellets in very small quantities (1 or 2%). The reason is that rearers here (growers they are called) contains probiotics and the layers doesn't. This then keeps their digestive systems in good order and they get the maximum benefit from what they eat, rather than it just passing through partially digested. You can see the poos are less 'grainy' and cecal poos increase (digestive enzymes stored in the cecal ducts which are periodically emptied; brown paste) It also contains more vitamins and minerals. BUT we have had problems with a pair of Marans who decided the rearers tasted better and discarded all the layers pellets onto the floor, simply by picking the individual pellets up and tasting them. The danger of feeding it once or twice a week is they might just stop eating the layers at all? Possibly a case of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", so making a change is potentially far more trouble than it's worth; chickens can be very picky.

That's a lot of hens to be sharing one feeder. Are you sure all the youngsters are eating properly?

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