Am I feeding them right?

FarmGirl13

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 26, 2013
48
2
34
I have seven hens and one roster, I've been feeding them just plane chicken scratch from Southern States. But recently I read that sunflower seed are a good source of protein for them, so I started adding some to the scratch I feed them. They also get let out of their run every other day to eat bugs and plants.

Is this a good diet for them? Or should I consider adding some more to their diet?
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Johnn

Crowing
8 Years
Sep 5, 2011
8,670
653
346
Mine are always free range but over the summer period when there is lots of bugs ect, I feed them mixed corn (i think that is the same as "scratch" but I am in the UK) then when it comes to the other seasons they are on Layers Pellets. I think the diet that you are feeding is OK as long as there is enough stuff out there now to supply them with nutrients. I think you should give them a pot of grit/oyster shells for calcium. At the minute mine are eating Mixed corn mixed in with Layers Pellets.
 

FarmGirl13

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 26, 2013
48
2
34
Thank you for your reply. I will see if I can't find some [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]oyster shells at the feed store. [/FONT]
 

Keltara

Songster
8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
1,670
79
173
Small Town U.S.A., Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
"Chicken Scratch' is a treat for chickens. It's good that you free range every other day, but on the days that you don't, you should actually offer "Chicken Feed". It will meet the nutritional requirements for you flock. Scratch will not meet their nutritional needs.
 
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FarmGirl13

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 26, 2013
48
2
34
Would mixing the sunflower seeds in with the scratch be better? I also have hay in there coop that they scratch around in and eat the bugs.
 

Keltara

Songster
8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
1,670
79
173
Small Town U.S.A., Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Would mixing the sunflower seeds in with the scratch be better? I also have hay in there coop that they scratch around in and eat the bugs.
No. If you want their nutritional needs met, you need to feed them "Chicken Feed". I don't know what state you live in, but if you live where winter is cold and snowy, you'll need to feed them "Chicken Feed" in those months as well. Chicken scratch is not nutritional enough for them. You need to get the appropriate food for the age of your chickens. Scratch is low in protein and high in fat.

If your hens are laying eggs, then they need to be on "Layer Feed". Scratch will not meet their needs.
 

FarmGirl13

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 26, 2013
48
2
34
Alright, I'll look at the feed store to see what chicken feeds they have. Should I look for anything in particular in the feed?
 

Johnn

Crowing
8 Years
Sep 5, 2011
8,670
653
346
I don't feed mine Layer pellets through the Summer months but I do the rest. They can find better nutrition for themselves when they free range than what they put in layers feed.
 

Johnn

Crowing
8 Years
Sep 5, 2011
8,670
653
346
Although I do think that they should be fed Layers feed on the days they don't free range.
 

Keltara

Songster
8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
1,670
79
173
Small Town U.S.A., Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Alright, I'll look at the feed store to see what chicken feeds they have. Should I look for anything in particular in the feed?
Yes. If they are laying eggs already, then look for "Layer Feed". It can come both in crumble or pellets. Crumble seems to have more waste than pellets. Always offer it to them. Even when they are free ranging. My chickens free range 365 days a year from dawn till dusk (even in the snow). When there are greens and bugs for them during the green seasons, they eat very little commercial feed, but it is always available. They will always choose nature over commercial. My summer feed bill is FRACTIONAL compared to the winter season. So always have it available to them and they will only utilize it when they "need" it.
 

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