Best Winter Chicken Foods

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by leasmom, Oct 26, 2008.

  1. leasmom

    leasmom Songster

    May 25, 2008
    I have had chickens now since May so this is my first year entering winter...I have both a hen and 6 pullets and 8 chicks that are two months old or so. I try to feed them as naturally as possible. They are cooped birds but I give them grass, weeds, cabbages, corn, lettuce, etc. as well as their feed mixed with scratch feed, bird seed, both whole and regular oats, dried corn etc. in the scratch and bird seed. I wanted to know...what do you feed your chickens during the winter...
  2. ibpboo

    ibpboo Where Chickens Ride Horses

    Jul 9, 2007
    always changing
    Sounds like you are doing a good job feeding them already.
  3. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm 10 Years

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    Where do you live and how cold does it get there? I think you're doing just fine.
  4. It sounds like you are already doing great job.
    I live in New England and we get very cold winters here.
    I give some scratch or cracked corn to help keep them warm. Cracked corn is in scratch as well as sold seperately.
    I give them hot mash on those cold mornings as well as sometimes before they go into the coop at night to help keep them warm.
    The cracked corn raises their body temperatures and works well in winter, you should not give it in the warmer weather though.
    Also, this should only comprise like 10 percent of their diet, you don't want it to take the place of their layer feed that contains all their vitamins and minerals.
    To give them hot mash, you mix layer crumbles and any of these things you have laying around,
    the crumbles, cracked corn, scratch,oats etc. and pour very hot water over it and stir.
    It makes a nice hot mash which in itself is comforting and the corn helps their body temps. and they are still getting their layer food.
    I think it helps reduce the stress on them and keeps them happy and laying.
  5. leasmom

    leasmom Songster

    May 25, 2008
    I live in Michigan. Last night I fixed them some oatmeal, grits, cornmeal, kale, sweet potatoes, and cucumbers together...the babies I gave them oatmeal and grits mixed together to see if they'd eat it. They loved it. But I let it cool cause I didn't know you could give hot foods to chickens. I am definately still giving them their feed too. What about oats, does that warm them up or cool them off?
  6. I think it just fills them up, it doesn't change their body temperature.
    The only thing I know of that will raise their body temp is the cracked corn and thats why we don't give it in the summer, they can get overheated.
    By the time you mix the mash and bring it outside to the cold its cool enough for them to eat, still warm but not too hot.
    Its a comfort food type of thing, along with the corn to keep them warmer.
    Everything you are giving them is good for them, but make sure its not more than 20 percent of their food.
    Some say 10 percent if its just scratch and corn we are talking about but since you are adding other foods its probably a higher ratio.
    The growing chickens need protein and the older ones need calcium.
    If they are near laying age or laying already they should be on a layer feed, the calcium is very important.
    Also, are you offering them grit?
    I think you said they don't free range so if you are giving them anything other than chicken feed you need to offer them grit so they can grind it up and digest it.
    When they free range and eat grass and all that stuff they also pick up pebbles to grind up that food.
    Otherwise they can end up with trouble in their crop.
    Usually you give them oyster shell as well for the ones that are laying.
    You can mix it in their feed or give it free choice from a dish and they will eat what they need.
    I mix mine in the feed and they can still pick out what they need, but if I do free choice they tip the dishes over.
  7. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Crowing Premium Member

    Mar 25, 2008
    Thanks for asking this! I also am finding this very interesting as all I've known to feed mine is a warm bowl of oatmeal, so this is great advice to know! [​IMG]
  8. leasmom

    leasmom Songster

    May 25, 2008
    Yes, I give them both oyster shell and grit mixed into the feed. Thats good to know about the proportions. Thanks.
  9. SandraMort

    SandraMort Songster

    Jul 7, 2008
    I don't have the link to it but I've seen several posts here debunking the corn -> warmer temperature myth.
  10. I haven't seen it, but as you know that you can find anything you want to show each side of everything.
    For every one you find for debunking it, you can find at least one proving it.
    I go with what all the experience old timers have to say, if they have been doing it this long and have had success I am all for their sage advice.

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