Calcium source

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Ozzy1, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. Ozzy1

    Ozzy1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 4, 2013
    Hey guys! [​IMG]

    I currently feed my two month old flock - two pullets and two cockerels, I think - a home made mixed grain diet.When the hens start laying, should I mix some limestone flour into the feed for calcium, and let the cockerels eat it too, or should I offer it seperately? And also, should I be using limestone flour, or oyster shell as most people seem to do? And how quickly will they get through either source?

    Thanks!
     
  2. loveourbirds

    loveourbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    limestone flower is just a cheap source of calcium, most of it blows away. it can also cause issues with to much calcium for your roosters especially. oyster shell is probably the best source since your chickens can sort it out if they need it, and ignore it if they dont. if your chickens are free range, they are probably getting enough calcium from grass and weeds around your yard.

    just curious, what grains are you using in what proportions? you can really mess chickens up by using the wrong things at the wrong time. for instance: if the daytime temps are over 80*f and half of your mix is corn, your chickens wont do well. in the winter time some people add extra corn for warmth generated during digestion. Another issue with mixing your own feeds is vitamin E deficiency, if you have at least 15% whole wheat in the mix you should be fine.

    im only telling you this because i messed up some chickens in the beginning. i was mixing 18% layer crumble with corn, oats, black oil sunflowers, and some calf manna to raise the protein, grit and oystershell. the chickens looked great but weren't laying well, chicks hatched with tons of neurological problems. so be careful what you do.
     
  3. Ozzy1

    Ozzy1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 4, 2013
    Thanks for the reply. As they're only chicks right now, we only let them free range a few hours each day under supervision, however I might build a larger run for them on the grass. I didn't know about grass providing calcium actually.

    So what I'll do is just supplement with some free choice oyster grit.

    THe temperatures here right now are about 70 degrees farenheit I think in the day, and there's a fair amount of cornmeal in the mix.

    The mix is about 20% whole wheat, 20% cornmeal, 20%% soya beans, 20% lentils, 10% sesame seeds and 10% sunflower seeds. There's also a few human grade vitamin tablets crushed in there.

    We've almost run out of the first batch we mixed up a couple of months ago when the chicks were born, so we're gonna mix some more up this weekend. Any suggestions on how to improve the feed?
     
  4. loveourbirds

    loveourbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    let me check into your mix a little farther. if anything the fat content is high, but im afraid to comment until i check on lentils and sesame seeds.

    mixing your own feed can be way more effecient, or it can cost you way more in hidden costs. i will see what i can come up with for you.
     
  5. loveourbirds

    loveourbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ok, ive done some research and compared it to my own notes. your protein may be just a touch low, if you get a lot of small eggs, and the chickens seem small compared to others the same age, raise the protein a little.

    there is some concerns on feeding soybeans to chickens. it appears cooked is fine, but raw may actually rob nutrients and protein absorption. you may want to do your own research on this. i would add in some rabbit pellets (for alfalfa) and switch the soy to hog pellets or bowles rangebird pellets if they are available to you. calf manna will work well for the hog or rangebird pellets too, but its a little higher usually. i would also add in about 2% sorghum seed or 5% total weight wet molasses.

    i mentioned fat content earlier, if your chickens seem to be getting fat, add some oats.

    in the winter time it may be better to go with a larger cracked corn. most of the old timers say it helps keep them warmer.

    if your feed is working well for you though, it may be best not to change it. these are just suggestions.
     
  6. Ozzy1

    Ozzy1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 4, 2013
    Thank you for that. :)
    So my revised mix is now:
    20% whole wheat, 20% cracked corn, 10% roasted soybean, 10% soybean meal, 10% lentils, 10% sesame seeds, 10% sunflower seeds, and 10% oats.
    I make that 21.6% protein.
    I'll have to look into the wet molasses some more, but I've decided I don't want to feed sorghum seed.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013

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