Originally Posted by Egghead_Jr
Are you looking to feed soy free? Organic? Products with more animal protein? I guess I don't know what your trying to accomplish.
Unless you say what your looking for you'll get a plethora of responses.
Let's say you want a good feed that is soy free- Agway makes Hearty Hen. That's one example of a non overpriced feed that would accomplish a persons desire not to feed soy. You'd have to be more specific in goal to get answers and opinions to that aim.
I purchase a quality feed in my opinion that is from a local mill so fresh and has the higher protein I desire. It happens to be under $13 a 50lbs bag too. Main ingredient corn meal, contains soymeal and no animal protein. Healthy birds which works for me.
What he said on the price I can not imagine paying $30 for 40 pound of chicken feed. You can put your general location in your signature and MAYBE someone will know if there is a local feed mill. I buy local, Poulin Grains, 2 towns north of me. The price changes every time I buy but it is always in the $11 to $15/50 pound range. I guess it just depends on the price of the ingredients they use. Scratch is similar price, it should not be more than 10% of their diet. But they love it, some people refer to it as "chicken crack". Mine also love Black Oil Sunflower Seed (BOSS). But it is EXPENSIVE! Well more than double what feed costs. But they don't get much, maybe 1/4 - 1/3 cup each morning to share for 16 chickens. You can train your chickens to com when called if you train them to this sort of treat. Some people feed meal worms to their chickens but I've not tried that (they are spoiled enough already) and they are expensive unless you raise them yourself.
Also, chickens are naturally anything BUT vegetarian. They eat bugs, they eat grubs, they eat worms, they eat earwigs. Give them almost anything that isn't spoiled from your kitchen. They can not chew (scares as hen's teeth you know ) so whatever it is has to be sized to swallow or that they can peck apart. My wife doesn't eat the fat on meat, but the chickens love it. Bacon grease that has solidified? They are on it like white on rice (don't feed too much rice, it is actually not a very good food source for chickens OR people). If you have corn on the cob, give the cob to the chickens, they will make sure nothing is left on it. Mine don't care for lettuce or carrots or cucumber peel, but they love the rest of the cucumber. And apples, actually pretty much any fruit. Figure out what they like by giving them everything. Chickens living on a solely commercial feed lay eggs with pale yolks just like factory farm chickens. Chickens fed a varied diet lay eggs with much more yellow/orange yolks.
Originally Posted by KDOGG331
Thanks so much for all the info guys! I don't really care so much about GMO because I know it's all just hype and it's just changing the genes to make them more disease resistant and stuff which i think is good. But I can definitely understand organic because the pesticides and all that is definitely bad but I'm nit entirely convinced it's such a direct correlation. I mean, the chickens absorb the feed nit necessarily pass it.
That's a good idea about feeding other poultry feed too though, I never thought of that before haha
As for chick feed, oh yeah, I'd definitely start with chick starter but I feel like there's less options with that or no?
So grower feed is necessary? Some brands it seems don't have grower?
And is layer only when they start laying or as they get older?
Also as for the oyster shells, are they necessary? Because I read on one feed and it said to not feed any other grains or oyster with it.
That last bit is probably because they are loading up their feed with calcium. I personally would NOT buy it. However it works, chickens seem to know EVERYTHING they need to know (other than they can not hatch non fertile, or plastic eggs nor can they hatch pine shavings). When they are ready to start laying (anywhere from 16 weeks to 6 month or more) you will know: their combs and wattles get bigger and redder and their face around the eyes will get redder. They will probably start to squat if you put your hand over their backs), put the oyster shell in a separate container attached to the wall high enough up they don't scratch too much of the bedding into it (they can fling the stuff FAR!) They will eat it when they need it and (you can see when they need more), just like they will eat grit (also in a separate container) or find grit sized stones on the ground when they need it. Don't put these in their feeder, they will likely just toss it out when picking out the food unless they need it in which case they will stop by the oyster shell container as often as they like.