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How do you know if supplemental feed is necessary

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Good afternoon and thank you for taking the time to speak with us.  I was wondering, how do you know if a supplemental scratch feed is necessary?  Also, what are your thoughts in mixing grit/oyster shell in with the layered feed.  Do you feel it is more appropriate to offer these separate from their food?

 

Thank you again

post #2 of 4

The feeding instructions on almost every bag of feed have a statement to the effect, "this is a complete feed and no supplements are needed".  The feed company knows what nutrients make up their feed and what age birds it is intended for.

Chickens like scratch but it should be kept to less than 5% of total intake. It satisfies the desire to scratch but supplies little in the line of protein and vitamins.

My best advice is to never mix feed with oyster shell. O.S. and grit should be in separate containers.

I direct you to a discussion on the topic.

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1021258/ready-to-lay

Post #s 2, 6 and 9 will answer a lot of your questions about calcium.

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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post #3 of 4
Scratch is more for entertaining, IMO... I feed a grain mix and they don't get "scratch" because they free range... In a confined environment, I would give them scratch just to relieve boredom, if anything... If you give them wheat, corn, and Millet as scratch, it can compliment their diet, but too much and they will miss out on the nutrients in what I assume is a feed crumble that you are giving them...

As far as Oyster shell, you don't need it if they already have a layer feed; its calculated into the feed. If you are mixing your own however, you can give them a dish on the side or mix it in with the grain. I have no issues with putting it in my feed; if they don't need it, it stays in the bottom of the feeder, and no chicks or rois get accidentally overdosed by sharing the same feed smile.png
http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/990759/chickens-in-permaculture

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1008185/lets-talk-relocation

3rd generation of Colorado ranchers, raising organic alfalfa, corn, Red Angus cattle, Suffolk sheep and of course, chickens! Comitted to a lifetime of health without chemicals, I am entirely dependent on what God has given me to nurture soil, plant, and animal. Sharing...
Reply
http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/990759/chickens-in-permaculture

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1008185/lets-talk-relocation

3rd generation of Colorado ranchers, raising organic alfalfa, corn, Red Angus cattle, Suffolk sheep and of course, chickens! Comitted to a lifetime of health without chemicals, I am entirely dependent on what God has given me to nurture soil, plant, and animal. Sharing...
Reply
post #4 of 4
I like oats as scratch as its about 12% protein compared to about 8% for corn.....and the hens love it.
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