Skandi Rogers wrote:In my experienc you don't NEED (see later sometimes you do) to, but you get more eggs if you do. I generally don't feed layer feed as I was mixing ducks and chickens, so I feed a concentrated pig feed, which was also for growing ducks. and mixed that with local grains. I did one year try mixing my own entirely but my chickens are fussy and do not eat everything so they do not receive a balanced diet on free choice mixed goods. and this showed in their eggs, half the normal production.
What I have found is that modern production hens NEED to have 16% layer feed, you put them on less even with open free range and they simply don't lay, and when they do lay the eggs are deformed and watery. However the marans, landhøns and giant jerseys all managed to lay perfectly good eggs on homemade feed.
Mine were kept with open free range access totally unfenced, they had scrub land and overgrown field close to their coop with lots of fallen logs, berries, and free access to the compost heaps. we have a wet cool climate plenty of bugs flies FROGS (they love frog) and other creepies. They were not fed any animal products other than what they could catch (legality issues)