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Can there be too much greens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Chicken Judy, Jan 26, 2015.

  1. Chicken Judy

    Chicken Judy Out Of The Brooder

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    Just wondering if you can give your chickens too much greens. They have layer food available all day but I give them lots of Kale and cabbage. Could I be giving too many greens. They are all laying good. I have 8 RIR's and get 6,7,8 eggs a day.
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Only if its results in sustained reduction of your layer ration followed by soft eggs and reduction of productivity. My birds with access to greens consume a great deal more food per day but they manage to balance intake out to sustain health and egg production. First thing to watch for is where green intake might compromise calcium uptake. I have not seen such but some plants do contain components (phytates) that limit availability of calcium although I have not seen where it impacts calcium coming from other components of the diet..
     
  3. glib

    glib Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are some phytates in greens. There are far more phytates (orders of magnitude more) in grains.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Do the phytates in the grains tie up calcium of the non-grain components while processed by the intestinal tract of chickens? I am not well versed in calcium issues where you got to have a lot to form egg shells.
     
  5. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Note: I'm assuming your hens are in a run without free access to pasture or backyard. I'm also assuming that they aren't eating more than a head of cabbage and 15 large stalks of kale a day.

    Yes, chickens can end up with too much greens, but I don't see how if your layer feed is properly balanced with not too much more than 7.5% alfalfa or grass meal, which would be in addition to the kale and cabbage.

    Chickens who have balanced layer feed available at their pleasure (ad libitum) can self regulate their intake according to the studies I've researched. In that situation, chickens will not overeat on the kale or the cabbage. For whatever reason, it's not in their nature. However, if you only gave them kale and cabbage all day with only 1/2 an ounce of layer feed per hen in their feeder, then, yes, they could be getting too much greens -- not to mention not enough other nutrients.
    With the way you're feeding them, your chickens are livin' the dream! [​IMG] And you are getting great Omega 3 boosted eggs!
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Chicken Judy

    Chicken Judy Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the input. I have been letting them out in the yard for about an hour when the weather is good. They get the Kale everyday but cabbage about two times a week. I usually feed the kale in the afternoon so I am sure they are eating their layer feed. I'll throw some sunflower seeds and oatmeal out too. Today they got a treat of one apple, one orange and two baked potatoes. Yes, they are living the life.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    You may be diluting their protein tho. layer feed it pretty low protein if feeding other nonprotein foods.

    I like to feed a 'flock raiser' 20% protein crumble to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and all molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat.

    Animal protein (mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided during molting and if I see any feather eating.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    The higher protein crumble offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer.
     
  8. Chicken Judy

    Chicken Judy Out Of The Brooder

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    Question: Why do you rinse the egg shells? I fix boiled eggs for my husband and just dry and crush. If I have not boiled them, as in for cooking etc., what should I do. Thanks for the info. I will switch their feed too as I am almost out of layer crumbles. I have oyster shell and egg shells available at all times too.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I rinse the excess raw whites out of the shell so nothing (mold, mildew, etc) starts to grow on them, egg white is an excellent microbial growth medium.
    Boiled eggs shells don't need to be rinsed, but I find them a little tougher to crush up.
     

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