Feeding a balanced diet.

By Lots A Cluckin · Oct 27, 2013 · Updated Mar 13, 2014 · ·
  1. Lots A Cluckin
    To have a healthy bird you must feed it healthy meals! For Orpingtons like mine that means high protein foods so they can build muscle
    instead of fat. Most chicken feed is only 16% protein and that is an exceptionally small amount of protein for growing and producing Orpingtons.


    This feeding mix works great with all chicken breeds especially the big breeds, I just used Orpingtons as an example because that is what I raise.

    Along with free-ranging daily for greens and bugs, here is what I feed all of my Orpingtons on a daily basis:
    These measurements fill a 7lb. feeder.
    4 cups Purina Layena
    4 cups Purina Flock Raiser
    1 cup Cracked Corn
    1/2 cup Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
    1/4 - 1/2 cup Calf-Manna.


    For a hen in lay I would recommend also adding free-choice oyster shell for calcium needed to produce eggs.

    Calf-Manna is my very favorite supplement that we have added recently. It contains tons of wonderful healthy ingredients and vitamins that are crucial for growing a bird the size of these Orpingtons.

    Here are the ingredients that are in Calf-Manna: Crude Protein Min 25.00%
    Soybean meal, corn, hominy feed, feeding oatmeal, dried whey, dehydrated alfalfa meal,
    linseed meal, brewer’s dried yeast, vegetable oil, fenugreek seed, anise oil, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, biotin.

    I also give them a daily treat mix consisting:
    2 cups Cracked Corn
    1/2- 3/4 cup Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
    1/4 cup Calf-Manna


    For the treat mix I just put 4-5 piles on the ground in their run so they can get it before they go in for the night.

    They also get other treats when available:
    Watermelon, Tomato's, Apples, Pears, Bread, among other table scraps that we may have.


    Another step we have recently taken to keeping healthy birds is Apple Cider Vinegar!
    ACV has many advantages to it: It contains many vitamins, minerals and other nutrients and substances to improve the health of your flock.
    It also improves the digestive health of your chickens by maintaining proper pH balance in the digestive tract. Increases egg production, kills germs that cause respiratory illnesses among chickens, and keeps your chickens’ water free of harmful bacteria.


    Another great advantage to using ACV that I have heard about is that since it lowers the pH level in the chickens, it also lowers in the
    pH level in the eggs they lay which means you may have a higher female to male ratio when it comes to hatching chicks! More pullets are always better!

    Be sure to purchase organic unfiltered, unpasteurized, naturally fermented ACV for its medicinal features. ACV ranges in color from light golden to orange. You’ll know you’ve found the right stuff if you see sediment, referred to as the "mother of vinegar" in the bottom of the bottle.

    Do NOT buy white distilled or distilled Apple Cider vinegar, as it has none of the beneficial elements listed above.
    We add 2 tablespoons per gallon of water daily.
    And that is just a few of the ways we keep our Orpingtons happy and healthy at Lots 'A' Cluckin' Farm!


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  1. ChristieBuffOrp
    OMGodness!!! I went out and purchased the products you recommended which you've been feeding your Orpington's. I was absolutely astounded how they basically attacked and devoured the feed mixture. I can't thank you enough for sharing this fabulous recipe as my Orpington's simply love it and must have needed the additional nutrition. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
  2. gypsy767
    Good article. I would also like to know how many birds you are feeding the amounts mentioned above. I have 16 buff orpington's...no roosters.
  3. PlaidBattleAxe
    Great article!
  4. A1momof3
    Ok so I was having a problem with feather eating so as soon as I read your article I went and got that I needed and made it up for my flock and they loved it. Now my question is how often do you give this to them? How much do you give say a flock of 30-40? I know with horses it is important to only give them just so much of the BOSS, like no more than 2 pounds a day so I am sure it is even more important with chickens. Just curious if any one know.
  5. Jewellan
    Wow! Great information. But could I use an Organic Layer and flock feed instead of the Purina? Then add the other ingredients that you have mentioned? Or are organic feeds really that beneficial to the eggs that they lay? What I mean to say is this ... Do commercial feeds add elements to the eggs that make the eggs less healthy? Or are the commercial feeds more healthy for the chickens while being less healthy to the humans who eat the eggs? ???
  6. Linda49
    At what age do you start feeding this mix to your birds? Is it safe for very young (8 weeks) pullets? Thanks!
  7. dannyisforreal
    can chickens eat pumpkin seeds? because i have a feeling i have like 50 pumpkins that were planted late...
  8. bantybabylover
    thank you for the info, i do us avc but i believe i will switch to probiotics, the heat seems to deplete the girls so i will be adding lytes too. our problem has been the feed they are on does not satisfy them, i have a feeling you may have the magic mix
  9. rosiesgirls
    I was wondering how many birds are in your flock, too. Knowing how many birds are eating the amounts you mention would help determine amounts others should expect to feed their own chickens. Thanks for a very helpful article!
  10. RezChamp
    Yup... Judging by your birds you got a good source of nutrition for them.
  11. RezChamp
    Re: PH / sex ratio.... It appears to be so.....although "science" may(or may not) have " data.
    That being said, I have a tendency to believe about 1/2 of what I see. I do what makes sense to my experience/s. I do suspect that science is correct in saying that sex is determined by the female.
    Environment too. The environment in the female as well as the environment in which the female lives(on many levels).
    Point in question, high acid internal(caused by external influences/factors)environment in humans is conducive to cancer(science says so anyhow).
    so yeah...
    It does appear to be true that internal environment of the female host as affected by ingesting of/from the surrounding (outer) environment, would have a great deal to do with determining the sex of the offspring.
    According to science there are biological entities that have their sex determined by Temp level. Alligators is one.....according to science......
    Who knows?????..maybe the same thing applies to chickens and all other birds since they are more closely related to alligators than humans. I haven't read anything in regards to that.
    I don't know though........
    In conclusion: I am going to put a tad more ACV in the water for the chickens after I let the cocks in with the hens and experiment with sex ratios. Probably nothing till next spring.
  12. RezChamp
    In the winter my Nana used to hang a wire from the rafters of the coop holding a rabbit about 18-20" from the floor. The 15-20 +or- chickens would get exercise and protein by jumping up to peck at it. Good eggs.
    In the summer we would throw the odd fish in the run. No flavour transfer.
    When I started raising chickens I let them eat pretty well whatever they wanted on roaming the entire grounds which is about 10 acres or so of 1/2 & 1/2 deciduous woods and meadow surrounded by open feilds. Their free range diet also included what was left after a hunt(I hunt a lot). Mind you there ain't much left even the innards are utilized.
    Your way appears to be less work for me since my pigeon food is guaranteed 20-25% protein To which I add more corn for winter.
    Praises to ACV.
  13. carlsaSC
    I would ask how many birds are you feeding/treating with these mixes?
  14. Michael Apple
    PH levels vary from the crop, to the intestinal tract, to the caeca. Probiotics, particularly those of the Lactobacillus strains are very beneficial and micro flora can be compromised with the regular use of ACV. Calcium levels are also depleted by ACV. I would recommend regular use of probiotics over that of ACV: http://poultryone.com/articles/probiotics-html
    There are many other trials recorded regarding the benefits of regular use of probiotics.
  15. ChristieBuffOrp
    Lovely Orpington's! Thank you for sharing this wonderful information. Presently my Orpington's free range a great deal of the time (until their run is finished), I feed them Rock-N-Rooster premium five-grain scratch. Which consists of Whole Corn, Milo, Whole Popcorn, Whole Wheat, Blackoil Sunflower Seeds and Vegetable Oil. I believe I'll start adding the Calf-Manna to it for the extra protein as well. I also dry out their eggs shells, crush them and let them eat them as opposed to the oyster shells. An acquaintance who raises chickens suggested this tip. Also I only add a teaspoon of Braggs ACV to a gallon of water and maybe I will up this as well. Phew long winded aren't I? LOL Have a Glorious Day!
  16. texaspolloloco
    Good info. Thanks.
    P.S. Very beautiful Orpingtons!
  17. cluckcluckluke
    Great article.
    The only question I have is you say you want your Orps to be muscle, not fat, yet you feed them A LOT of sunflower seeds and corn. I have always know corn and sunflower seeds to be very oily/ fatty. They are good for the Winter when birds need to bulk up to keep warmer. Are Orps better at regulating these feeds or something???
  18. Yard full o' rocks
    I cut my 22% layer ration with a 10% mix of whole oats, calf manna and wild bird food (or scratch).....works well. I do however have a question....can you please site the scientific studies done to support the statement that lower pH results in a higher female to male ratio at hatch? The sex in poultry is determined by the female, not the male....so I am very interested to know how and why pH can affect the ratio. I would think that if this were the case that hatcheries and egg producers would be working diligently to insure their hens always had a lower pH to insure a higher percentage of female offspring
  19. memechick
    What beautiful birds you have! I learned something new today ... I will be picking up some Calf-Manna. Thank you.
  20. Ashdoes
    Really great article. I also like calf-manna added daily. Seems to keep the birds laying well, and feathered nicely, resulting in less damage from the rooster.
  21. MarcoPollo
    Beautiful Orpingtons! Thank you for this extra-protein recipe.
  22. tlsandm
    Nicely done! I like the Calf-Manna idea. Thank you.
  23. MichStep
    I really enjoyed reading this!
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  25. Lots A Cluckin
    I dont have the need to feed Fermented feed nor sprouted feed I feel they are getting enough nutrition from everything I do feed them. As far as I know neither are bad for chickens.
  26. beverly evans
    You work so hard at feeding your birds the very best, but you neither feed them fermented feed nor sprouted feed. Why not? I read soy and tomatoes are not good for chickens?? THX
  27. desertegg
    Thank You!

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