chicken feed do i need anything else

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by kasey08, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. kasey08

    kasey08 Aunt Kasey's Farm

    Mar 29, 2010
    Scottsboro, AL
    i feed my chickens "Tucker Milling Layer feed" it says"no supplements needed" so do i need to feed them anything with it?
  2. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    If your birds are laying age or very nearly so then that's all you need. A little oyster shell on the side might be good depending on what the egg shell strength is when they begin to lay.

    If as most folks find you just gotta give them something else keep all treats to about a half a handful per bird per day.
  3. RIBill

    RIBill Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2010
    In theory, no. Commercial feeds are designed to be a sole ration. Some feeds are better than others. Also, at different times of the year, you will want to increase their protein intake. My feed is only 16% which I feel is a little low. As such, I give them a mix of seeds which bumps their protein and gives them something to do in their bare dirt run.
  4. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    Your chickens will be healthier and their eggs will be healthier for you to eat if you can get some green feed into them. Green feed is the chicken equivalent of the dark leafy greens that are so good for people. It can be grass, kale, collards, chard, spinach, alfalfa, clover, wheat grass, oat grass or other things. It can even be sprouts, if you let the sprouts grow leaves. That's the main thing that isn't in a bag of chicken feed, that's a natural part of their diet. That's what makes animals and chickens raised on pasture healthier and healthier for you to eat.

    A little animal protein or non-soy protein can be good for them, too. If they free range, they eat a lot of bugs to help with that. Plus worms.

    You can also give your chickens a variety of different foods from your kitchen or garden. They can eat most of the foods you can and a balanced diet for them is similar to a balanced diet for you. That just means, don't give them a huge amount of only starchy foods or fatty food all at once and unbalance their diet. At least, don't do that regularly. They are small creatures.

    The main foods to watch out for from your kitchen are chocolate, avocados or a large amount of anything really salty. They can cause problems for the chickens.

    Greens, vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices all have a lot of chemical compounds in them that do good things for people, animals and chickens. Depending on which one it is, they can fight cancer, fight viruses, fight bacteria, boost immune systems, reduce inflammation or provide a better fatty acid balance in the body. Plus, you get a wide variety of vitamins and minerals from them.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Their online analysis does not give lot of information. Maybe they have more detailed information on the bag.

    31116 Layer Pellet 16%
    Pellet ...50#
    CRUDE PROTEIN………….Min 16.00 PCT
    CRUDE FAT…………..……….Min 3.00 PCT
    CRUDE FIBER………………..Max 5.00 PCT

    This is what I get off the Dumor's bag for comparison.

    16% Layer 15% Grower Flock Raiser
    Protein 16 15 20
    Lysine 0.7 0.65 0.95
    Methionine 0.35 0.29 0.35
    Crude Fat 2.5 2.7 3.5
    Crude Fiber 7 5 5
    Min Calcium 3.8 0.6 0.8
    Max Calcium 4.8 1.1 1.3
    Phosphorus 0.5 o.6 0.7
    Min Salt 0.25 0.2 0.35
    Max Salt 0.75 0.4 0.85

    I pretty much agree with what has been said. In a commercial, climate controlled environment where what they eat is tightly controlled, the commercial layer feed at 16% protein and the other additives and ingredients contains all they need to lay a good sized egg and stay healthy enough to lay it. Most of us don't have a tightly climate controlled environment and don't really tightly control everything they eat. I think most of us are better off that way.

    The 16% Layer is a good basis to start with. If you let them free range where they are eating plants, seeds, and various creepy crawlies, they should do well with the 16% layer as their base feed. As A.T. Hagan said, if the egg shells are thin, you can offer oyster shell on the side. If the egg shells are OK, you don't need to but, heck, we do things we don't need to all the time. I don't see offering them free choice oyster shells as hurting anything.

    If you keep them locked up where you pretty much control everything they eat, it can get a lot more complicated. The 16% layer is still a good basis to start with, but whether you need to work on that depends on what else you feed them. The rule of thumb is if they can clean up whatever else you give them in 15 to 20 minutes, you don't have to worry about it. Their diet is still balanced. If you exceed that, and many of us do, then you need to look at what you are giving them and maybe bring it back into balance. That's when it gets a little more complicated. And remember it is not about the percent this or the percent that. It is about the total volume they consume in a day. And conditions change. If they are not laying, like in winter, they don't need as much protein. If they are molting but not laying they do need some protein to grow new feathers. If it is cold, they need more calories to stay warm, but not more protein to stay warm. If they are not laying, they don't need the extra calcium.

    I know I made it sound a lot more complicated than it has to be. If you free range them, I don't think it is complicated at all. If you don't have that option, I suggest keeping the total volume of treats down to something reasonable and vary the treats you give them so it stays fairly balanced. Consider this hand grenades. You don't have to hit the target exactly, just be in the vicinity.
  6. kasey08

    kasey08 Aunt Kasey's Farm

    Mar 29, 2010
    Scottsboro, AL
    ok well it is winter. they are all in different stages right now, some laying, some not old enough and one just stopped laying. and they are in a large cage to many dogs around here. so i need greens to give them everyday or just whenever? the eggs ive gotten are really healthy but i'm thinking about getting oyster shell for the one that is not laying just in case
  7. Ema

    Ema Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2010
    N. Ontario CANADA
    I give mine different vegies and fruits, and BOSS and scratch. I also give them alfalfa pellets mixed with hot water and oatmeal as a green supplement because well, its winter and everything is covered in snow
  8. justtoni44

    justtoni44 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 13, 2010
    what is BOSS?
  9. HogbackMtnChickns

    HogbackMtnChickns Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 21, 2010
    New Castle, Colorado
    BOSS = Black Oil Sunflower Seeds.
  10. sben451

    sben451 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2008
    Anniston, AL
    I also feed Tucker Milling Co. feed, but I buy their 22% mini layer pellets. I rotate letting the three pens of chickens free range most of the day (one pen each day). I also feed BOSS, veggie scraps, and a few handsful of scratch. Most of my hens are finishing growing new feathers after their moult. I also offer oyster shell in each coop. I know the feed bag says it's a complete food, but I feel the variety they get from free ranging, veggie scraps, and BOSS has to benefit their diet.

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