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Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by jackrooster, Oct 14, 2010.
Can chickens eat whole grain.......or is it bad for them ??
I mix my own feed:
hard red wheat
black oil sunflower seeds
oats (whole or rolled)
salt noniodized free choice
oyster shell free choice
grit free choice
Also fellow BYC'er Organics North has his recipe on his BYC page.
Gotta pay attention to protein percent!!! Aim for at least 16% for layers, chicks and growers 17% and higher. Some like 20% forever. Here's a link with the percentages:
You bet they love whole grains! I sprout my wheat, oats and BOSS.. Live food the way nature intended it.. Thats what whole grains are..
A couple of caveats::
1. It may take some time for your birds to adjust to whole grains.
2. Be sure you have plenty of high quality grit available to the birds 24x7...
If you are using whole grains as a treat or as your own scratch. Stick to the higher protein grains such as the wheat and the BOSS... That way you do not dilute the protein of your feed with "candy"..
(Chickens are Sweet and I mix our own feeds and go to great effort to be sure our flocks are getting balanced diets..)
I notice free choice salt? Chris09 whom's opinion I respect was recommending to not free choice salt..
What do you see happening???? Birds eating a lot? Right amount? or too little? Real real real curious to what happens in "real life"..
They peck at it a little bit, but not much until I take a big solidified chunk of it (moist air makes it clump) out of their salt pan, and put it on top of their grit container (which they pay close attention to).
Then over a period of a couple of days it disappears. About 50 birds eat about a 3 inch diameter flattened pancake of it in about a day or two.
My other two pens with 11 birds and 19 birds go through it more slowly. Actually it does get pecked at every day, but in minute quantities.
But they DO enjoy it. I worry they will go for blood (salty) if they don't have it. I also put out some of those red brick mineral blocks. But I haven't noticed them going for those at all. I don't think I will rebuy them.
They really don't go overboard. I have tried dumping out a LOT of salt in their grit pan, and they just move it onto the ground. They self-regulate.
Thanks for sharing!
As long as they have access to grit--either fed or in outside dirt--there shouldn't be a problem.
Ok. Stupid question to follow. At what age can they eat (intact) whole grains and things like BOSS? I just have no concept of how big of an item they can swallow. Mine are 8-10 weeks but 2 are small even though they are supposed to be regular sized Speckled Sussex and a Blue Cochin. I don't know if they are runts or bantams but they aren't the size they are supposed to be at this age. Does your answer depend on size of bird as well as age? (See, I told you it was stupid.)
I fed crumbles to my chicks until they were about (?I think) 4-5 weeks old. Then I switched them to homemade mix.
Also, instead of black oil sun seeds I used dehulled bulk bin grocery store unsalted sunflower seeds at first.
The first couple days they just get home ground feed,,Then they get small sprouts such as clover sprouts. Also getting introduced to soil in the brooder having the opportunity to pick though lettuce plant root balls.. By about 4 weeks they are eating sprouted wheat, BOSS and oats as part of their diet.
Of course offering the appropriate sized chick grit from the start.
My chicks are mom hen raised and as soon as I through momma some scratch she has baby over pecking at it to. I feed flock raiser as main feed and babys handle that just fine. My hen and baby's are in a tractor so ground is ready for grit at all times