A few questions

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by bigspringshatchery, Jul 4, 2010.

  1. bigspringshatchery

    bigspringshatchery Songster

    Jun 26, 2010
    Roanoke Alabama
    Instead of making two of three topics I'll ask my questions in one post.
    1. I started using a nipple waterer about three weeks ago. I have two nipples on a five gallon bucket. With ten RIRs. And I'm worried they ain't getting enough water out of the nipples. Am I just worring to much or would you put one or two of their old jug waterers in the pen.

    2. Question on layer feed. I've been feeding layer mash or crumbles for about a year and a half. But ppl keep telling me to switch to pellets. Are they better or are they the same. I was told the chickens won't waste as much.

    3. My chickens have thin eggs shells but I'm feeding oyster shell so I'm thinking they might need more protein. What is some stuff that I can feed em to build up protein.

    Thanks for all yalls help.
  2. Lesa

    Lesa Songster

    May 28, 2008
    Upstate NY
    You might try an experiment. Put an old jug type waterer in the coop and see if they all go crazy for it. If they do- they are probably thirsty... Don't know what kind of weather you are having- but it is mighty hot here. I would try and make sure they are getting enough... I think the crumbles vs pellets is a personal choice. If you switch it might take awhile for them to adjust. If you want to add protein- sunflower seeds are an easy way to do it. I mix the seeds with oyster shell and throw a few handfuls on the ground. I think they eat more oyster shell this way (by accident). They don't seem to touch it otherwise...Good luck!
  3. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Songster

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    Maybe you could give them some cottage cheese also, it has both calcium and protein. Mine aren't laying yet but they seem to love the cottage cheese, especially during the hot part of the day as it is cold. Their all time favorite treat seems to be fresh peaches and cold watermelon. As far as the water issue, it never hurts to give them a choice...I would put a jug waterer back in and see what happens. On the pellets vs crumbles question...check the ingredient list on both bags, that will tell you if one is 'better' than the other. If you decide to try the pellets, I would mix the two first to give the chickens a chance to get used to them. Once they are used to eating pellets you could put one feeder with pellets and one feeder with crumbles and compare...what gets eaten first, how much is wasted, etc.
  4. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    I don't know about converting to nipple waterers but will take a shot at the other 2 questions.

    Chickens also have a preference when it comes to pellets or crumbles. (I haven't fed mash in so many years I can't remember what the adult birds did with it.) My birds really do seem to prefer crumbles and, my understanding is, they are really the same product just processed differently. The 2nd problem in the last 2 batches of pellets I bought was just too high of a percentage of fines. Maybe they don't waste the pellets but they sure waste the fines [​IMG].

    Thin eggs shells shouldn't have much to do with protein. In fact, a higher protein diet may just encourage higher egg production which will deplete available calcium for egg shells even more. There seems to be an issue of oyster shells being too large if they are not crushed properly. That may be a problem and better crushing may be a solution.

    I have to say that cottage does sound like a good idea and I know the hens like it. Still, it is kind of an expensive feed if it accounts for very much of the diet but so would some other choices.

    Critters need vitamin D to adequately make use of calcium in their diets. Sunshine helps for the manufacture of vitamin D in our bodies but I've wondered how that works for something like a chicken who spends her life in a feather coat [​IMG]. The comb must play an important role. Also, a lot of vitamin D is lost in the yolks of their eggs.

    Other than commercial fortified feed, they aren't going to get much vitamin D from a common diet. And certainly not from foraging plants or being fed veggies. Fish might help and so would beef liver.

    . . . just some ideas.


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