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What Type Of Feed For Chickens?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Okay, so I am going to ask a question that has probably been asked before, but I am unable to find any posts pertaining to it.  I have 3 chickens, guessing about 16 to 18 weeks old.  One RIR, one barred rock, and one white rock.  My RIR started laying about 2 weeks ago and my barred rock has started squatting and checking out the nest box so I think she will go very soon.  I am sure the other will be shortly behind because she was the smallest when I got them around the 1st of June. 

This is my question.  I bought 3 bags of food when I got these chickens a few months ago.  A 50 lb bag of Grow and Feed, a 50 lb bag of Scratch Grains and just recently a 25 lb bag of layer pellets.  Every since I got them I have been mixing these 3 together fairly equally and placing in their hanging feeder from Tractor Supply (great investment).  Some people say on here to never give scratch in summer due to the heat that builds up internally in the chickens and others say don't worry about it, they have been feeding theirs scratch for years with no problems.  I am at a point where I am getting ready to purchase some more feed and obviously considering my RIR is already laying and my other 2 will be soon, do they need just laying pellets, or pellets supplemented with scratch.  Do I need to stop the Grow and Feed?  They free range in my fenced in yard, about 1 acre, during the daytime if that helps any.  Should I give the pellets after laying or just before they start laying?

There are just a lot of different feeds and I get a different answer from different people.  Some have said just keep mixing the 3 and that will be fine, but obviously I am trying to see what is the most economical so I dont have to buy so many different types of feed.  All answers are greatly appreciated and I hope this helps someone else as much as it will help me.  It can be quite confusing.  By the way, the shells and eggs are great from my RIR, so I have never given oyster shells or any of that because so far the eggs are great.  Any advice is greatly appreciated.  Thanks again, this forum is great.

Merely pretending to be a farmer!
1-Rhode Island Red, 1-Barred Rock, 1-White Rock
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Merely pretending to be a farmer!
1-Rhode Island Red, 1-Barred Rock, 1-White Rock
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post #2 of 13

I really don't know but I would assume if the grower feed isn't medicated you could still use that with the other two. I can't give scratch here in the summer or even now because we had 107 deg. today. Other areas probably doesn't matter all that much. If your only looking to feed them the one kind of feed I would do the layer pellets.

post #3 of 13

At the ages they are now you can start giving them either the layer pellets or Flock Raiser.  Even though her eggs are fine now, with time they will utilize all the calcium in their feed and start using it from their bones if not fed supplemental calcium. Most people have free choice oyster shell out 24/7 for their girls and this keeps the roosters if you have any from getting too much calcium as well.

I personally don't keep any feed over 2 weeks and dump any uneaten feed every other day, especially in the summer. Winter temps keep it a bit longer and it will store better if kept in air tight containers in the cool.  Make sure to keep an eye on any feed that looks dusty or changes in smell.

I feed scratch year round, I just use more oat based in summer time and corn base in winter time...but as you said, personal preference for most smile.

Happily married to a very wonderful husband, proud mom of 2, 3 American Buff Orps,1 American Black Orp, 6 English Orps(3 Blue, 3 Black), 3 Buckeyes, 12 Black Copper Marans, 3 Cuckoo Marans, 4 Lavender Orps,  2 Buff Laced Brahmas 6 dogs(2 Poms, 2 Border Collies, 1 Border mix,1 Labrador Ret), 10 cats

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Happily married to a very wonderful husband, proud mom of 2, 3 American Buff Orps,1 American Black Orp, 6 English Orps(3 Blue, 3 Black), 3 Buckeyes, 12 Black Copper Marans, 3 Cuckoo Marans, 4 Lavender Orps,  2 Buff Laced Brahmas 6 dogs(2 Poms, 2 Border Collies, 1 Border mix,1 Labrador Ret), 10 cats

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post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

Sorry, forgot in the original post, but all 3 are hens.  So I am assuming the suggestion is to put some oyster shell in either way even though there is no problem.  Do I mix this in with the food or put it somewhere seperate.  I will have to find the flock raiser.  The only thing at my local feed store in Fayetteville NC is Start and Grow, Scratch Grains, and Layer Pellets.  Haven't seen anything else, but I will check.  I just didnt know if the laying pellets themselves would be sufficient.  The chickens are healthy so if I keep with the Start and Grow, they will be giants.  lol.  All suggestions are appreciated here.  Remember, they do free range during the day.  I see them pecking in the grass constantly and I cant imagine them constantly getting something.   If so, then I guess there are alot of bugs.  My wife asked me the other day if they are constantly eating or just pecking.  How much oyster shells is sufficient for 3 hens.

Merely pretending to be a farmer!
1-Rhode Island Red, 1-Barred Rock, 1-White Rock
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Merely pretending to be a farmer!
1-Rhode Island Red, 1-Barred Rock, 1-White Rock
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post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Oh yeah, and the grow and feed is not medicated.  It is the Purina kind in a bright yellow bag I think.  I am just trying to figure out if I can one bag of feed specifically or if  I still need to buy 3.  Sounds like the scratch and layer is a common thing and I need to discard the grow and feed.

Merely pretending to be a farmer!
1-Rhode Island Red, 1-Barred Rock, 1-White Rock
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Merely pretending to be a farmer!
1-Rhode Island Red, 1-Barred Rock, 1-White Rock
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post #6 of 13

I only give my laying hens layer feed, mostly because it's the easiest for me to buy. I do now have different aged hens so if I'm thinking right, I might try the flock raiser and then the oyster shell for the laying ones for their shells. Last time I was at the feed store I asked an employee about the flock raiser and he said that's what you feed to a meatie before your going to process it??????Not sure about that.

post #7 of 13

This makes me nervous. Our pullets are 17 weeks old and have no nest boxes yet. We're working on the new coop with a nice set of nest boxes but won't be done for at least a few more days. I am hoping they hold it for a bit longer! Maybe I'll put a cardboard box w/ straw in the coop just in case...

My Chicken Blog
My NEW coop!
germophobic farmwife and mom to 3 homeschooled kids, 1 dog, 2 cats, 2 rabbits, and 12 chickens (4 red stars, 2 golden comets, 3 black australorps and 3 easter eggers)

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My Chicken Blog
My NEW coop!
germophobic farmwife and mom to 3 homeschooled kids, 1 dog, 2 cats, 2 rabbits, and 12 chickens (4 red stars, 2 golden comets, 3 black australorps and 3 easter eggers)

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post #8 of 13

Probably a good idea, although Easter egg hunts in September are fun too.big_smile

post #9 of 13

There's no grass at all in the run and I don't know if they'll lay in the sand-and if they do it would probably get broken, eaten or pooped on. BUT if an egg appears maybe it will spur dh to get the coop done faster. He's been very busy (harvest coming on quickly) and hasn't been able to work on it as much as I'd like.

My Chicken Blog
My NEW coop!
germophobic farmwife and mom to 3 homeschooled kids, 1 dog, 2 cats, 2 rabbits, and 12 chickens (4 red stars, 2 golden comets, 3 black australorps and 3 easter eggers)

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My Chicken Blog
My NEW coop!
germophobic farmwife and mom to 3 homeschooled kids, 1 dog, 2 cats, 2 rabbits, and 12 chickens (4 red stars, 2 golden comets, 3 black australorps and 3 easter eggers)

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post #10 of 13

Jason you can go with either layer or grower and they'll be fine. As far as scratch goes it's a treat. I don't mix it into my feed just use as a treat in the evenings and it should be 10% or less of their diet.   Besides if you pass out scratch as a treat it will teach your girls to come a runnin when you call and they will follow you anywhere to get it,this makes locking them in their run alot easier. If you decide to keep them on grower just make sure it's not medicated and they will be fine. the extra protien won't hurt them and will help with feather growing and laying IMO. I have noticed that on the grower they seem to eat a little less so the extra $1.50 I pay for the grower is pretty much a wash as far as cost is concerned.  Just make sure you offer oyster shell on the side for calcium, I just screwed a little plastic bowl to the coop wall and the girls take what they need. I also offer oyster shell with layer because some girls seem to need more than others. It's cheap around here about ten bucks for fifty pounds and last me about 9-12 months.


Gale65 At 17 weeks you probaby still have a little time before they start laying but having a nest box availabe for them to start checking out is not a bad idea. Just a thought tho a 5 gallon bucket on it's side will work for a nest box too and is a lot easier to clean unless your just planing to replace the box when it get dirty.

If  you ain't the lead dog the view never changes!
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If  you ain't the lead dog the view never changes!
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