Can I feed layers cracked corn only?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by baptistbirdman, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. baptistbirdman

    baptistbirdman In the Brooder

    Feb 25, 2010
    I'm looking to cut down my egg costs and since commercial feed is so expensive, I was wondering about a cracked corn diet. I'm willing to live with a drop in egg production since we already have WAY more than we can eat. I know I can try to sell the eggs, but I'm thinking more present day than long term at this rate. My flock is about 15 hens and 2 roosters and I'm getting on average about a dozen a day. Thanks for your help.
  2. SpeckledHills

    SpeckledHills Songster 10 Years

    May 25, 2008
    Without a well-rounded diet, they will be vulnerable to a number of illnesses and other health problems.
    Corn is kind of equivalent to "chicken-candy" when fed as a sole ration. It provides energy, but is missing many important nutrients.

    Other things you could add to help provide a more well-rounded but healthy diet could include some form of processed (not raw) soybeans, cracked wheat, barley or oats. And add a vitamin & mineral supplement, plus make some additional form of calcium available for them to eat as their bodies feel need.

    You can indeed save a lot on feed by using alternatives to commercially mixed feeds, but you do need to take care to not leave the chickens' systems suffering from malnutrition.

    *****There is some really good info on homemade chicken feeds at:
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2010
  3. justbugged

    justbugged Head of the Night Crew for WA State

    Jan 27, 2009
    I wouldn't feed just cracked corn. I only use it as a treat. Corn has very little nutrition by it's self. It is a little like feeding your kids only candy rather than vegetables and grains. You could check the forum here I know that there are a number of members that formulate their own feed mixes. I would check with as many sources as you can, and see if you can find a more affordable feed that contains the vitamins and minerals the birds need.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2010
  4. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

    Feb 15, 2010
    So. Cal.
    I confer with the others. Cracked corn doesn't have any nutritional value. The commercial feeds are formulated to be complete diets.
  5. SilkiesAndSuch

    SilkiesAndSuch Silkie Daddy

    Jan 27, 2010
    They definitely need other things in their diet for their health. Your own health would suffer greatly if you only ate one thing. Even if what you ate everyday was broccoli, you wouldn't receive other necessary nutrients not found in the broccoli. [​IMG] Good luck [​IMG]
  6. Duchessk75

    Duchessk75 In the Brooder

    Feb 25, 2010
    1.9 Acres Ohio
    I learned the hard way when it came to cracked corn. I started mixing it in with their layer pellets, about half and half. A few days after that, my chickens started cracking and eating their eggs!! I switched back to strictly layer pellets, and supplement their diet with garden scraps. I still notice a decrease in the eggs I'm collecting, cause its hard to break them of the habit once they start, but not nearly as bad as what it was. I literally went from 18 eggs a day to 6, now I'm back up to a dozen a day.
  7. RedRoosterFarm

    RedRoosterFarm **LOVE MY SERAMAS**

    Mar 25, 2010
    Eatonville, Washington
    in Washington at my feed store we have the LAYER and then there is an ALL PURPOSE. It has everything they need for all kinds of birds. I feed the layer to my purebreds when I want to sell the eggs to incubate and the all purpose for my turkeys,geese,ducks and chickens free ranging. I believe its lower protin. I feed the cracked corn for treats. I did buy 1 year for a few months a cob with all kinds of stuff. It was like $5.00 compared to 13.00 but egg production dropped and the birds were always sick or droopy it seemed. Now im on track with the feed. Babies got medicated starter/grower. and so on.
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    I free range, so my results may differ from those who don't...but I usually add cracked corn, oats, BOSS, at different times throughout the year to supplement and augment their layer ration. During peak laying times I usually use straight mash but when lay is down they don't need that level of nutrition.

    I've never had any illnesses in my flocks using this method. Chickens aren't as fragile as folks make out...and, if they are, they need to work on getting hardier breeds and trying to boost immune systems naturally.

    Just provide some oyster shell for calcium if your ration of mash is low. Adding whole grains to a formulated feed now and again can save money and give them more variety in their diets. I often throw it in their deep litter so they get the fun of picking it out and I get my litter turned well this way.

    My grandmother only fed whole corn to her flock and cornmeal to chicks...her chickens were healthy and hardy.
  9. zazouse

    zazouse Crowing

    Sep 7, 2009
    Southeast texas
    As the others have posted it's a bad deal, they can also get very fat from to much corn that can effect their egg laying, it's hard on body parts like legs and heart too.

    If you want to cut down cost start feeding the surplus eggs back to your chickens and other pets if you have them.

    I Always have surplus eggs cause i am always raising up new layers ,so when they start laying the eggs are usually small and i do not sell small eggs, so i feed them back to the animals.

    You could sell half your flock and use that extra money to feed them , if they are past their first year of laying , it is possible that their egg production will start dropping, then you'll be feeding freeloaders.
  10. hunterjumper999

    hunterjumper999 Songster

    Dec 26, 2008
    Box Springs
    in the summer we free range and suppliment each pen ( 2-3 hens) with a 3 cup scoop of pellets in the evening.

    winter we feed a 1/4 layer 1/2 scratch and 1/4 corn.

    Also, I got a bag of game cock feed and spred it in my horses old manure pile. Its about 3-4 fooot of plants and stalks and we plan to mow this down for the birds when it seems to be at its peak.

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