Best feed for a ragtag flock?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by EverythingZen, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. EverythingZen

    EverythingZen Songster

    Nov 29, 2017
    my flock consists of:
    3.5 adult muscovies (1 is 3 month old hen who will become the 3rd wife to the drake when she’s ready)
    2 x 3 month old bantam Wyandottes (1 cockerel and 1 hen)
    2 x 3 month old isa Browns (1 cockerel and 1 hen)
    The chicken hens may get broody, obviously, in time. Any chicks from the isa who are female will stay because we want eggs.
    I’ve got a clutch of muscovies due any day and we will raise them for a couple of months and then sell them, as we’ve done numerous times before.

    They all free range together, all day every day. I work in a fruit and veg shop so I have access to an unlimited supply of fresh produce scraps and such. I throw out a few cups of duck pellets and starter crumble every day with kitchen and shop scraps.

    Given the ages and needs of this flock, do you think they are getting everything they need? Their health is really quite outstanding, all are growing superbly. I don’t want to seperate them to feed and don’t really want to be counting protein content etc when they just eat what they want anyway, and seem to be thriving. With so many babies on the horizon though, I can’t help but worry a little. I guess I’m just looking for reassurance from experienced keepers that all the needs are being met. Thanks peeps
    trumpeting_angel and Abdalnassir like this.
  2. Timothy Menezes

    Timothy Menezes Songster

    Nov 27, 2017
    Monterey, California
    Sounds like what your feeding them is working out great. I would definitely put a bowl of oyster shells in there for the laying hens to keep up their calcium levels if you haven't already done so.

    What brand is the Duck Food? And is it starter, grower, layer, or finisher?

    For a mixed flock like you have, most use an All Flock feed with calcium on the side for the layers. My local feed mill sells it for $15 a bag. The Purina and Nutrena name brand stuff sells for a few bucks more.

    Also many will supply some Niacin (vitamin B) for juvanile ducks during their rapid growth stage for healthy bones / ligaments. If your Duck food is a starter/grower then it's got plenty for your juvanile ducks. In all likelihood they are getting plenty of it with all the veggies your giving them.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
    Abdalnassir likes this.
  3. Mosey2003

    Mosey2003 Crowing

    Apr 13, 2016
    NC IL
    Starter crumble is fine. An All Flock feed would also be a good choice. Just make sure you put out a dish of oyster shell that they can access at will.
    Abdalnassir likes this.
  4. EverythingZen

    EverythingZen Songster

    Nov 29, 2017
    Is the oyster shell still needed for flocks that free range?
    Thanks heaps for the replies.
  5. EverythingZen

    EverythingZen Songster

    Nov 29, 2017
    This bag I have now is super vite for a mixed flock. I usually use a local stock feed supplier but I can’t always get to the produce place.
  6. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Crowing

    Oct 20, 2014
    Yes, unless you have oysters hanging around ... ;)

    Or lots of snails ... but still the shells are kinda big ... they need the calcium from the shells to make egg shells, you could give them the broken up egg shells back with their feed, but they still may need more calcium ...
  7. ChocolateMouse

    ChocolateMouse Crowing

    Jul 29, 2013
    Cleveland OH
    Yeah, you are only missing oyster shells/calcium. Without it your hens will go hungry for calcium and will start laying thin or no shelled eggs. Otherwise it sounds good. And all flock is also a simpler option.
  8. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

    Jul 31, 2018
    Catalonia, Spain
    My Coop
    Probably not. Chickens seem to have managed just fine without it for centuries.
    If you keep chickens in a coop and run then extra calcium is important.
    The chickens here free range and I do supply extra calcium; they don't touch it as far as I've seen.
    A feed at 18% protein and 1% calcium is fine for a mixed flock.
    If you free range you shouldn't need, bags of grit, extra calcium, DE, ACV, nappies, saddle coats, peck blocks, behavior therapists, peepers, nipple waterer, coop heaters,chicken toys.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  9. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Crowing

    Oct 20, 2014
    True ... however they didn't typically lay as many eggs per year either ... Isa Browns lay quite a few eggs ...
  10. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    The all flock usually has the higher niacin that the ducks need.

    And it isn't so high in calcium that you need to worry about the chicks and roosters etc.

    I would put calcium on the side.

    Usually broodies are pretty fiercely protective.

    As a result when I know hatch is close I put a small chick feeder full of chick feed and a small chick waterer (somehow placed so as not to be knocked over...wedged up against a wall works) by the broody. Usually the broody won't let anyone else near the feeder.

    For the broody muscovy I put farm grade nutritional yeast on top of the chick starter, the chicks get it plain.

    But if everyone is all scrambled up (as to how they are brooding) I sometimes just stick with the all flock.

    The chick started with the higher protein will get the ducklings and chicks to grow a bit faster.

    However, I have found that the ducklings and chicks on the all flock are healthy, they just don't increase in size quite as fast.

    So... whatever works for you.

    But... if you use chick starter with muscovy ducklings, you do need to add some niacin.. and that is why I add the farm grade nutritional yeast.

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