boney chickens ?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Jacklynn, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. Jacklynn

    Jacklynn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Okay, all of my chickens feel boney. I haven't had them for long. A friend of mine told me to just feed my chickens cracked corn in the winter and in the spring, summer and fall to feed them layer mash mixed with cracked corn.

    All of my chickens get unlimited cracked corn. They also get rabbit pellets, not much, but as a treat.

    My friend said if you can feel the breast bone easily that means your chickens are too thin. You can feel it on all of mine. What am I doing wrong ? [​IMG]
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    No offense, but your friend is a terrible source of information on chickens. Do yourself a favor, the next time they tell you anything about chickens - smile, nod, say 'OK' and ignore anything you just heard.
    Quote:Unless your chickens are free ranging in a lush forest/meadow setting with an incredible variety of insects, vegetation and seed, to supplement only cracked corn your birds are STARVING TO DEATH.
    First of all, cracked corn - any grain that has had the hull broken loses nutrition rapidly.
    Corn can be 2.5%-9% protein. Furthermore the proteins are incomplete and deficient in lysine and tryptophan. Lysine is essential for chickens.
    Chickens need at least 15% protein. I feed between 16% and 24% depending on what they are for(meat or eggs) and how fast and big I want them to get.
    Corn has virtually no calcium. Layers need MUCH more.
    You can mix your own feed which requires a tremendous variety of foodstuffs including something like fishmeal for protein OR use a grower ration for young birds and layer ration for layers.
    The suggestion of layer mash in the spring summer and fall isn't too bad unless all your birds aren't layers.
    Layer feed is only for layers. The high calcium is bad for younger birds.

    To feed only cracked corn to chickens is like you living entirely on ice cream. How long do you think you would live?

    I don't want to offend but please educate yourself in poultry nutrition unless you want to see your birds slowly emaciate.

    To get you started, here's some reading material for you.
    http://www.lionsgrip.com/feedinstruc.html
    http://animalscience.ucdavis.edu/avian/feedingchickens.pdf
    http://www.lionsgrip.com/protein.html

    Friends aren't necessarily the best sources of information, they are only friends.
    A friend of mine, who raised chickens a long time, told me this week that she loved brown eggs because the yolks were such a rich orange and white eggs had pale yellow yolks. Not being one to let misinformation fester, I had to let her know dark yolks were from free ranging on pasture, not the color of the shell. Probably the reason she thought that is her experience with factory battery hen white eggs from the grocery store and her free range brown layers.
    See how anecdotal evidence can have unintended affects
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011
  3. nittanyxi

    nittanyxi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, feeding chickens only cracked corn is a recipe for disaster. they need at least a base food that has 16% protien. I feed mine 20% protien in the winter and 16-18 in the summer.
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Old timers around here usually mean cracked corn when they say "chicken feed." The older fellow at the feed store suggested cracked corn when I was looking for unmedicated grower or game bird feed. Around here, corn, table scraps and free range have been a typical chicken's diet for generations. Sometimes "the old ways" are simply not the best ways. This is a good example of the problem with advice from a typical feed store.

    Might be a good idea to get a bag of BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds) as a treat or supplement, to up their nutrition for a while. Good protein source.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2011
  5. kentucky jay

    kentucky jay Out Of The Brooder

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    you are in canada and im sure its pretty darn cold up there !!!!!!! dont stop corn but switch to hole kernel corn , but only as a treat !!!!!! gotta get them birds some proper nutrients !!!! layer feed ( mash or pellets ) is better than just cracked corn !!! you may wanna look into the list of foods chickens can eat ..(first post in feeding and watering your flock) ......greens , fruits veggies ,,,,etc......... the whole kernel corn will provide natural heat , but not as a sole food supply , they need more than that !!!!!!! im not gonna slam the bad info you got , its already been done .......lol ....but you gotta get some other foods for them or they will die !!!!! good luck , and keep us posted on your bird's progress !!!!!
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:Thanks. Everyone should keep reminding me not to slam. I never mean to offend. I worked in a brutal industry for 30 years with mean, spiteful, insensitive people. I developed a very thick skin and I constantly have to remind myself that society at large is not that crude nor as blunt as I. I do appreciate the fact that 98% of the people I encounter at BYC are WAAY more genteel than those I've encountered throughout my life or in other forums.
    Keep working on my demeanor - I need the therapy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011
  7. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All good advice, but I'd also give them a good going over for parasites as they could be contributing to the problem.
     
  8. crtrlovr

    crtrlovr Still chillin' with my peeps

    Quote:Thanks. Everyone should keep reminding me not to slam. I never mean to offend. I worked in a brutal industry for 30 years with mean, spiteful, insensitive people. I developed a very thick skin and I constantly have to remind myself that society at large is not that crude nor as blunt as I. I do appreciate the fact that 98% of the people I encounter at BYC are WAAY more genteel than those I've encountered throughout my life or in other forums.
    Keep working on my demeanor - I need the therapy.

    Here's some of the best therapy I know... [​IMG] [​IMG]

    And yes, OP, your chickens need PROTEIN, and as kittymomma said, may have some parasites contributing to their thinness. Get some food with at least 20% protein and you can also offer other protein sources such as scrambled eggs ( mine LOVE scrambled eggs, and will knock each other down to get to them!), and some calcium sources too such as kale or collard greens ( much appreciated in these winter months when the grass isn't growing). You may want to get some Wazine and worm them for roundworms, then in a couple of weeks use some Eprinex pour-on for cattle to get rid of any other types of worms or external pests such as lice or mites. 5 drops for full-size birds, or 3 drops on bantams, on the skin at the back of the neck usually works wonders.
     
  9. knjinnm

    knjinnm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Hi,
    Is there an issue with jumping from a cracked corn diet to a 20% protein diet all at once?

    Joe
     
  10. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Quick changes of diet can be a temporary digestive issue. But more important is complete nutrition.
    Day 1 maybe 1/2 corn and 1/2 grower or layer depending on their age. From then on complete ration with corn or whatever as scratch/treat. You could go slower but good nutrition is more important than abrupt change. They'll reward you for it.

    And again, I never meant to hurt anyones feelings. I really only want to help. It's just that when someone tells me X is simple and X is all I have to do. I think, how many thriving chickens does this person have and for how long? And if it is a large healthy flock, I need to watch them feed what they're telling me to feed.

    Is Cedar Crest a fairly mild climate? and Are yours free pasturing? That would make some difference. But if confined they need a complete ration.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011

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