Best Feed For Chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by c0dywhite, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. c0dywhite

    c0dywhite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a few questions...
    1. What is the best feed for hens&roosters during winter& cold months?
    2. Does warm oatmeal help them lay?
    3. Is warm water better for the chickens, is cold water better for the chickens, or does it really matter, as long as its fresh&clean.?
    -thanks!!
     
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    You will get many different responses to the first question. Many folks swear by certain brands. I trust the scientists who design the feed and feed my hens a 16% layer for most of the year. I tend to up to 18% during the molt as I feel they need the extra protein to grow new feathers. Also in the winter I give the more treats from the kitchen since they have limited ranging opportunities.

    I don't know if oatmeal will make them lay, but it certainly won't hinder them (if used only as a supplement to their proper feed). Mine love cooked warm oatmeal on cold mornings.

    On the water question...mine don't seem to show any preference according to temperature. It would stand to reason that water that wasn't ice cold, but somewhat warmer, would be good for them on cold days - I'm sure research has been done on this. I think mainly it would reduce calorie burning as their bodies wouldn't have to spend energy warming the cold water they just drank. Just some of my ramblings. Best of luck with your flock.
     
  3. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    (1) You would be better off feeding a mixed flock (cocks and hens) a Game Bird Feed or a All Flock, in the winter I like to keep the protein right around 18 to 20 percent.
    (2) Rolled Oats (oat meal) is't really going to help make them lay, in the winter you need plenty of water, light and a good feed to keep them laying in the winter.
    (3) Your better off offering cold water, hot water freezes faster than cold water and when offering hot water or foods you are risking the chance of the bird getting "chilled" and bringing on health problems.


    Chris
     
  4. c0dywhite

    c0dywhite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the info! I usually feed them cracks corn & scratch grain, but I'm going to make a special trip to Tractor Supply Co. & look around. I like to feed my chickens scraps outta the kitchen too, they love it. Thanks again!!
     
  5. HouseCat

    HouseCat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Most animals will turn their nose up at water above 70F. That being said, I make an alfalfa tea with water that's around 75F by the time it gets out to the coop and my chickens love it- especially on cold nights.
    As far as feed goes, I keep on feeder full of All-Flock, one feeder full of scratch, and one feeder full of whole corn. I think the notion that chicken scratch is "junk food for chickens" is BS. Layer/All-Flock ration is basically 95% chicken scratch grains that have been processed and fortified with vitamin and minerals. I buy ration in the winter because my chickens don't leave to coop but during the summer when thet free range, they eat mostly scratch and corn. Now I'm sure if you keep your chickens confined, they may turn cannibalistic without supplemental protein. If you want to learn more about it, check out this article from Mother Earth News:

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/ask-our-experts/save-money-on-chicken-feed-zb0z10zblon.aspx
     
  6. WestVermont

    WestVermont Out Of The Brooder

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    Here is a great site with lots of information.... http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/.... according to this lady cracked corn should not make up more than 10% of a flock or chickens diet as their health will suffer do to lack of nutrition. I have spent hours reading and following her stuff and she loves her chickens and does well by them and also shares her vets advice on topics. hope this helps. I go through a 50 lb bag of feed ever few days and would love to cut my cost but only if I can do so in a safe and healthy way for my flock of 26.
     
  7. c0dywhite

    c0dywhite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Organ Cave, WV
    I mainly feed my chickens cracked corn, but my chickens also eat scraps & they free roam. I think my chickens are healthy bc I let them out every morning, give then fresh water, & in spring my chickens lay eggs. I got a few this winter, but not many. My roosters even crow quite a bit & I think a crowing rooster is a happy rooster! I thank all y'all for y'all advice & websites & I'll check em out. Thanks!!
     
  8. HouseCat

    HouseCat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Corn is no more junk food for chickens than it is junk food for us humans (although the boys @ Purina would love you to believe different). If it was true, layer ration wouldn't consist of 80+% processed corn (and we all know how good processed food is). Your chickens are not going to keel over from the diet you are giving them, they just won't be around-the-clock-egg machines. If you're willing to sacrifice eggs, then so be it. I follow a few Chicken bloggers too but, in the end, they are mostly Opinion pieces peppered with hand-me-down information. Some of the information is good and some is nothing more than Old World superstition. I could start up a blog tonight, calling myself the Chicken dude but just because I tell you to slap your chickens in the face every night while they roost to help knock the eggs out of them doesn't make it so. "Don't Believe Everything that You Read" was true 100 years ago and even more true today. Just because the Kool-Aid is made, doesn't mean you have to drink it.
     
  9. c0dywhite

    c0dywhite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Then what's your Opinion on what I should feed my chickens.
     
  10. HouseCat

    HouseCat Chillin' With My Peeps

    I don't know your situation (free range, caged-run, close confinement) but I can tell you what I feed my chickens. My situation is: my chickens are free range during spring/summer/fall and coop-bound all winter. My chickens have access to 3 36inch feeders year round. The 1st feeder is full of straight corn (whole corn for the standards, cracked corn/popcorn for the bantams). The 2nd feeder is stocked with fresh scratch that I get from the Co-Op. The 3rd is filled with Purina All-Flock mixed 50/50 with scratch. I empty the 3rd feeder every night and refill it every morning so that the mice only have access to the "cheap feed". There are also pans of grit and oyster shell/limestone scattered around the coop. Chickens aren't stupid and will eat according to what they need. If you seed you hens starting to eat alot of feathers and especially plucking blood feathers off of eachother, it's time to bump up their protein. Wet cat/dog food works good for the initial boost. Then i will stop cutting the All-Flock with scratch and give that to them straight as well. I'm sure you're no dumby and can tell whether or not your chickens are happy and alert.
    I've got around 40 hens and am still getting 20-30 eggs a day during the dead of winter. Some of my SS Hamburgs are working on their 4th year and still lay 3-5 eggs/week. I don't think there is anything wrong with what you're currently feeding your chicks, I would just make sure they had access to a fortified ration just in case they have any deficiencies.
    But you're right. In the end I'm not an Avian Vet and this is only my opinion. My vet told me that bird are not mammals and, therefore, are very different creatures. A general veterinary degree only touches on bird health and that most general (cat & dog) veterinarians don't know much more than your average chicken farmers.
     

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