A Commercial Feed that Chickens actually Like?

rotagen

Chirping
Dec 17, 2019
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55
63
I'm just wanting to hear folks' experience with different feeds and wondering if anyone has done "taste tests" to determine which food their flock prefers ?

I know much of my problem is I'm a softy and I give them treats. But the actual chicken feed (I've tried a few different brands)...layer feed and such... it's always last on their list and they only eat it when they're real hungry.

In my experience , (I've never done any formal testing) the one that all chickens seem to like somewhat is any of the Purina chick feeds. It could be that they need to eat more of it though, which would mean there's not a whole lot of nutrients in there. But I'm thinking they actually did some taste-testing to determine which formulation the birds prefer. They've certainly got the scientists.

I'm looking for something that they actually "go to". Thanks!
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Apr 9, 2016
14,342
19,982
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California's Redwood Coast
the one that all chickens seem to like somewhat is any of the Purina chick feeds. It could be that they need to eat more of it though, which would mean there's not a whole lot of nutrients in there
Layer feed only had 16% protein most starters are 22%.. All chickens prefer the higher protein feeds. I use Purina Flock Raiser..

Lay off the treats! High reward snacks like corn, meal worms, seeds.. are like chips and candy bars.. fun to eat but high in calorie while being low in nutrients (vitamins, minerals, amino acids).

Giving treats at no more than 10% of total daily intake.. isn't being a softy. It's enjoying interacting with your flock! ;)

Anything more than that could actually be harming them and is also not being a softy but more of an enabler (if not a pusher) that doesn't care enough about their longevity (OR have enough resolve YET) to tell their greedy little beaks they have to eat their dinner first before dessert or snacks. That's parenting at it's finest.. having the wisdom to do what you KNOW is best while those sweet little fluff balls manipulate you into thinking they're gonna starve if you don't give them their hearts desire. :smack

You can try the Purina flock raiser or the starter if you like that.. Your birds will be getting MORE nutrients and they ONLY eat to meat their ENERGY aka calorie need.. So they won't eat more of it.. compared to layer they MIGHT actually eat less volume or weight.. as the oyster shell in layer would be on the side instead of mixed in.. They won't eat more anyways when it's their regular offering.. If you bring it out like a treat they will fill up on as such.

Couple things I do to help combat things just for ideas.. Only feed is offered for the the earlier day.. after ALL ladies have finished laying so no one misses out (or at least an hour before roost time) is about when I offer my snacks. They had access to the ration and pasture first all day. By keeping a routine, this also the only time they rush and crowd me meaning my training was successful!

Another thing that has worked well.. The flock raiser I use is crumbles.. to offer a high nutrient snack I purchase turkey or game bird PELLETS and toss those out for them to forage for. Win, win.. the birds are excited for a treat and their nutrition is being boosted instead of diminished! Since I breed and hatch nutrition is something I have obsessed about.. In studies, 22% protein gave the highest hatch rates which to me says more nutrition in the eggs my family is consuming. Eggs still 34% protein and 64% fat (by energy) but the micro nutrients that is are increased.

For what it's worth.. "layer" feed is the industry standard with MINIMUM protein etc to sustain a light bodied bird like Leghorn is laying condition. I don't keep chickens to aim for minimums or to match industry standards. Keeping a small flock is already more costly than buying eggs or meat at the market. Even though the flock raiser or "higher" protein feeds tend to be a bit more expensive.. since making the switch.. my older birds have much softer molts and return to lay sooner, BECAUSE they have more nutrients on board in the first place. And remember my family is getting more nutrients as well! So you DO get what pay for sometimes.

I don't mean to poo poo layer.. It is used and valued as a resource by MANY. But you asked the question, YES 100% there are totally some rations flocks prefer.. and if YOU have the resources, I would make the switch to a higher nutrient feed. Noting that some changes are best made gradually with chickens being creatures of habit.

One more idea.. another one of my favorite ways to offer enrichment which is what treats truly are meant to be.. wet their standard feed and offer as a mash. Studies show it is better digested/absorbed when moist. Again the birds think of it as a treat but it's just their feed. :D

All posts are intended in kindness and to be supportive, so add in imaginary smiley faces if needed or something came out wrong. Hope you are enjoying BYC! :frow
 

rotagen

Chirping
Dec 17, 2019
60
55
63
Wow thanks, great info.

I'm gonna try that flock raiser if I can find it, I have some molting hens right now and they're the type that seem to lose almost all their feathers at once. I haven't seen it at my local tractor supply so I will have to call around no doubt.

I think sunflower seeds and meal worms - while "treats", are very healthy. Sunflower is very high in protein and full of vitamin e, minerals, etc...and meal worms obviously are full of protein with some fats. Raisins on the other hand - just sugar and maybe some potassium and perhaps one or two antioxidants...that have already been oxidized during the drying process.

If they're like most other animals including humans, the fat content is what makes them excited, while not necessarily the best thing for them. Also sunflower seeds have a decent amount of omega-3 I'm pretty sure.

Great info and I'll give it a go...I think layer feed is their least favorite...probably tastes like grape nut cereal to them, and calcium can be provided with oyster shell.

On a personal note, when I stopped eating cereal for breakfast and switched to eggs and high protein - my health got 100% better. I was lucky enough to have a good biochem prof. in undergrad who basically went through the reasons why eggs are pretty much the perfect food, its a cell...duh...so ya think it might have what cells need? They have the much maligned cholesterol (which a lack of which can cause mental illness...also shown by a biochemist who wrote a best selling book on her experience being a vegetarian, and others)..but they also have lecithin which is how your body removes cholesterol.

There's other reasons not to eat cereal, one biggie is I'm a celiac (gluten allergy) , but even if I weren't, the amount of roundup in many cereal brands is insane...cheerios was the worst - crazy parts per billion of roundup, in fact all non-organic oat products are the worst. When cheerios started advertising "gluten free" I tried it and got pretty sick thought it was gluten, later I saw the roundup data.
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
10,656
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North Carolina Sandhills
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My in-town flock did and my current flock does eat whatever feed I put in their feeder.

Because that's their food, it's what they have.

I never cooked special meals for picky kids and I'm not going to worry about picky chickens. ;) :D 🤣

Because I give them a lot of vegetable trimmings and have a fair amount of green, growing stuff in their pen I use a higher-protein feed to ensure that their needs are met.

I give VERY limited access to things like scratch, starchy table scraps, and other treat foods but I do give them meaty bones to pick over, and such higher-quality table scraps (I do not consider that kind of food "treats").
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
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I'm gonna try that flock raiser if I can find it, I have some molting hens right now and they're the type that seem to lose almost all their feathers at once. I haven't seen it at my local tractor supply so I will have to call around no doubt.

Great info and I'll give it a go...I think layer feed is their least favorite...probably tastes like grape nut cereal to them, and calcium can be provided with oyster shell.

Don't get too caught up in the name of the feed. Flock raiser, all flock, different brands of grower, etc. often have similar formulations as far as protein and calcium % - so as long as what you find meets your target number, nutritionally it's fine. Flock raiser is 20% protein I believe, I personally feel anything between 17-20% protein is fine for most chickens.

My flock seems to like their layer feed and even switching new birds onto it has never been an issue. :confused: I also feed grower as well in the morning and most of them prefer that, but eat both feeds without issue.
 

GC-Raptor

Free Ranging
5 Years
Jul 26, 2016
5,683
11,693
671
Connecticut, USA
I never had a commercial feed my Chicks, Pullets, Hens didn't like, crumbles or pellets. With pellets I mixed with Scratch Grains and scattered on dry ground to introduce it when I used to feed a layers feed.
The only time they didn't like feed is when it got stale at 5 months old.
I've tried DuMOR Starter Grower, Manna Pro Starter-Grower, Nutrena Country Feeds Starter Grower and Naturewise Starter Grower, Feather Fixer, Hearty Hen, and Purina Medicated and Non-Medicated Start and Grow, Omega 3 and Flock Raiser.
All were liked as long as they're fresh.

I only feed a Medicated Start and Grow feed for the first 10 weeks, no treats, no kitchen or table scraps, no veggies or meal worms and no Scratch Grains till 10 weeks old.
I can see them hesitant to eat a commercial feed if you give lots of other stuff to eat. GC
 

Fallenone05

Songster
6 Years
Oct 7, 2015
650
875
226
SE Oklahoma
My birds get All Flock feed or occasionally they'll get Hearty Hen feed from Nutrena. Their last feed purchase was the Hearty Hen and they immediately took to it.

https://www.nutrenaworld.com/product/naturewise-hearty-hen

I usually don't like the smell of chicken feed or animal feed, but this one smells really good to me and my birds love it. They've eaten anything from the Nutrena brand I've ever got them - All Flock and Meat Bird (for when my whole flock is going through a hard molt) especially.

I also offer calcium on the side and treats are limited to a cup per day for 8 birds when they're out foraging. On the weekend it's sometimes a little more since I let them out super early and lure them back to me with treats when I can't find them... Because they're usually under the shed, dirt bathing.

I give them access to their pellets 24/7. They have a goat trough that's full until they eat that bare, then they get a folgers coffee can added back. I bought two 40lb bags of feed and they're definitely working their way through it.

Storage is in a metal trash can right by the chicken coop. They know the sound of the lids being opened on those and come running to me when they hear it too 😂
 

black_cat

♥♥Lover of Leghorns♥♥
Premium Feather Member
May 21, 2020
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My birds have liked every brand of layer feed that I've given to them (and it can vary because it depends on what's in stock when we run out) and they always eat it up. They have full access to it in the daytime, and are closed into their coop at night. They're always hungry in the morning and go right to the feeder. I agree that if you feed a lower protein feed, they'll eat more.
 

mustangjayyyme

Chirping
Dec 21, 2020
35
126
66
Seabrook, TX
Our chicks are almost 10 weeks...and I wanted to spoil them so I got Scratch & Peck Feeds...and now they're not a big fan of the crumbles 🤣🤣🤣 so I mixed that with another starter as they go through the scratch and Peck so fast. So it lasts a lot longer! And they still go nuts for it!
 

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