The silly weather this Fall has been messing with my birds too. They started sitting eggs and hatching chicks in Aug. and Sept.! It was a colder summer here in western PA and when we hit the warm Indian Summer the hens thought it was time to hatch eggs, sigh.
Do your hens need to be wormed? Buy a Halloween pumpkin . Cut it in half and lay it out for the birds. Pumpkin seeds are a natural wormer for chickens. Put grit out for them too. They need it if they are eating pumpkin. The grit not only helps grind up the pumpkin, the grit which passes out of the bird helps keep pathogens from adhering to the gastrointestinal tract. I get my granite grit from Agway. Here's research paper I wrote a while back. All 4 posts. Feeding schedule is on the 2nd page of the PDF in post 4. :
Also sprout some oats for your birds. Feed them sprouted oats which are 4 thru 7 days old. 1 tthru 3 days old is grain feed, fed as part of their daily ration. On the 4th day, a nutritional change happens in the sprout and it becomes green feed. Fed as a supplement to the daily ration, 4-7 day old sprouts are known for bringing hens into layand helping the cocks create more robust sperm, which hopefully results in more robust chicks.
There is no nutritional advantage to feeding oats older than 7 days. However, there is a chance the older sprouts than 7 days may go sour and be ruined. Your sprouted oats should always smell fresh and clean and feel crisp in your hand. If they smell foul or feel slimy the they are foul. Throw them out and start again.
Feed 1 cubic inch per day per bird. If you happen to feed them past bowel tolerance and they poop gets a bit soft, just back off the quanitity a bit and they will firm up again, smile.
I get my oats from Plotspike. They are not GMO, but specially line bred, created by Louisiana State University back at the turn of the century. I use Plotspike Forage Oats and buy them at Tractor Supply Company. 24.99 for 50 lbs. about 1/2 that for 25 lbs. (which is plenty). URL below has excellent history and "how to" on sprouting oats. Read pages 24 thru 29.
Why forage oats and what are they? Forage oats are the kind of seeds which farmers and hunters plant in feed plots for their grazing animals and wildlife. Feed oats are oats which are fed in the barn to animals. I always tell folk to feed forage oats because I have found that the historical type to feed and because in times gone by, feed oats were often dipped in an antifungal solution to keep them from molding. This also kept them from sprouting and they would just get slimy instead of sprouting. Plus , personally, I believe the overall quality of nutrition in the forage oats is higher. These forage oats from Plotspike were specially developed and to be delicious to wildlife. I do not have research to support this but overall I believe the quality of nutrition to be higher in this smaller specially bred grain than in feed oats bought in quantity from unknown sources. http://www.plotspike.com
On another note, if your birds are starting to molt, get some Nutrena Feather Fixer feed. It is specially made and just excellent for helping birds get thru the molt. They grow back in just lovely! Tractor Supply : circa 15.99 for 40 lbs.
Do not feed to birds under 16 weeks old. I am feeding it to my molting birds right now after hearing the glowing reports from other BYCer's. Wow, what a difference from other years. My stud cock is just glowing and his feathers are stunning as they grow back in. I have the birds younger than 16 weeks in a different coop/run. http://www.nutrenaworld.com/products/poultry/naturewise-poultry/feather-fixer/
Edited by 3riverschick - 11/15/15 at 6:54am