Keep female growers off layers’ rations
How long would pullets have to be on layers’ pellets for kidney damage to occur? What are the signs of kidney damage in chickens? I was sold eight to 10-week-old Light Sussex and a Pekin bantam pullet as point of lay chickens. As a result, my pullets were on layers’ pellets for six weeks before I switched them on to growers’ pellets. I am now planning to keep both pullets on growers’ pellets with a separate side dish of crushed oyster shell until they are both laying. Is this the right course of action?
VICTORIA ROBERTS SAYS:
Oh dear, you won’t be going back to that supplier again, I imagine. I have stated before that a layer ration should not be fed to female growers as it can cause kidney damage due to excess calcium in non-laying chickens. The signs of kidney damage include lethargy, being off food, depression and an unwillingness to move. The excess calcium can cause stones to form in the ureters — which is very painful. Visceral gout may happen too as part of kidney failure, which is where urate crystals are deposited on the abdominal viscera. This is also painful. By putting these two birds back on a grower ration, you will certainly be helping them, but I would add cider vinegar to their water at a dose of 75ml:500ml for several weeks. Good luck.
Female growers should not be given layers’ rations