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Chicken Feed Hazards

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ClareScifi, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just received this helpful reply from a Ph.D. in poultry, and I thought it was quite helpful, with good info about how to prevent certain diseases/health hazards, so I am sharing it:


    Feed for laying hens is too high in calcium for cocks, although many seem to get by fine. However, two potentential problems exist by feeding lay feed to either males or females not in egg production:
    1) Rickets -- this is potential problem in growing birds.
    2) Kidney problems -- this is what you would want to worry about in your rooster.

    If possible, it is best to feed him a separate diet than your lay hens. Best choice would be a chicken grower feed. Game bird feed is OK but is higher in protein. If your rooster is full grown, he wouldn't need this extra protein.

    Wetting down mash and providing it in that form is never good in my opinion because:
    1) Is heavier and denser in the crop (if bird is predisposed to crop problems, this would only exacerbate it)
    2) Can go moldy if not careful. This is not good for birds to eat moldy feed.

    I suggest the book by Christine Heinrichs on raising chickens. It is not specifically about male chickens but gives a good basic overview of raising backyard poultry.
    It can be found at this URL:
    http://voyageurpress.com/
     
  2. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have been told that that adding apple cider vinegar to chickens' water will help the hens absorb the calcium in their laying mash. But if one is feeding a rooster laying mash, too, wouldn't the apple cider vinegar in the water be bad for him, since the laying mash already has far too much calcium in it, causing him to absorb even more of it, rather than excreting it?
     
  3. Leslieb118

    Leslieb118 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Since I keep my rooster in with my hens, I feed Flock Raiser crumbles and have oyster shell available separately at all times for the girls. I put ACV in their water once or twice a week.
     
  4. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, so Flock Raiser comes in crumbles? That is good to know! All I could find at the one farm store I went to yesterday was "All Flock," which was in pellet form, and I think pellets may be too hard on my rooster's crop, unless I mash them up. When I run out of this, I will call the other farm store to see whether they carry the Flock Raiser crumbles. Good to know!

    Do you have any problems with your roo eating the free-choice oystershell? I'm pretty sure I saw my boy eat some of the oystershell yesterday! He's such a chowhound. Hard to keep stuff separate and out of his beak!
     
  5. Leslieb118

    Leslieb118 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Purina makes Flock Raiser and TSC keeps it with their Purina products, not in the area of general poultry products. It's with the Purina horse feed and other Purina poultry products. It's in a green bag.
    I've never noticed my rooster eating the oyster shell. I have seen the hens eat it though, so I know they're getting it and their shells are very hard to crack sometimes!
     
  6. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What is TSC?

    Do you have any white leghorns?

    An expert told me yesterday that my Silver-Laced Sebright Bantam and Barred Rock should have no trouble on Flock Raiser with supplemental calcium, but that my 2 part white leghorns, who are 23 weeks old today and have been laying about a month, will do better on layer mash with the calcium mixed in, for best egg production.

    So I was wondering whether you have any part white leghorns on this diet you have described?

    Clare
     
  7. Leslieb118

    Leslieb118 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    TSC is Tractor Supply Company. It's a Farm implement/feed/clothing/you name it store, lol.
    I don't have leghorns..yet. I say yet because I have 22 eggs in an incubator at my son's school due to hatch on friday. They just went into lockdown this morning. Some are from my EE hen, and some are from someone I bought hatching eggs from. There are leghorns in that group of eggs. My flock consists of EEs, Golden Comets, and a Bantam Frizzle. My girls for sure eat the oyster shell.
     
  8. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How fun to hatch eggs! I've never used an incubator. That would be so interesting. My sweet hen hatched stepeggs last fall. The little chicks were such a blast. My leghorn girls are very sweet and cute. One of them really loves the rooster and will squat for him in invitation.

    I've tried a new approach today that seems to be working so far.

    Yesterday's didn't work. I had put the Roo in the best enclosed pen with his new calcium-free food and the hens in the more open run. If they fly out, they won't peck anyone, or so my thinking went. Their food was in there with them. I tried to let the hens in with the boy off and on, but it was a cumbersome approach and he got mad at being in high confinement and told me off about it.

    So today I let the girls out early this morning to free-range and eat plenty of their calcium-enriched food, before I let the Roo out. I put only the Roo's food in the run, leaving all the doors to the run and coop open so they would all have full access to the entire run/coop area.

    Then ever so often I let the girls outside, one or two at a time, especially the leghorns who need the most calcium in their diet. Their food and ACV-enriched water is outside of the run, where the roo can't get to it, since I don't let him out for fear he might peck someone.

    Today he is quite happy with my approach. It's taken quite a bit of thinking and coordination to figure it all out, and I have to be here to rotate the hens, so he doesn't get too lonely, but so far it seems to be working and my roo is happy as a clam, taking a gleeful dust bath in the pine shavings in the coop right now, a very good sign of contentment on his part. The girls are taking a normal dust bath in the dirt and sand I bought them. I can't get the roo interested in a normal dust bath. He's always preferred bathing in the pine shavings. They all have so much personality!
     
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    In all practicality, it's nearly impossible for a rooster living with his hens to be fed a separate diet than they are, so if they eat layer pellets, that's what he eats. The only rooster I ever had who ate a diet without extra calcium was my handicapped BR rooster, Zane, who ate Knockout Game Bird Feed (11 grain feed we use as our scratch), which is 12% protein.

    All my roosters eat layer feed with their hens- I won't feed Purina on a regular basis because it's vegetarian feed and much more expensive than the Tucker Milling feed that we use, which still contains good animal protein. My roosters are 3 and 5 years old and no signs of any health issues with them from eating regular layer feed. None of my other roosters ever suffered any damage from eating with the hens, either, that we could ascertain. Sure, they do not need the extra calcium, but they live with the hens and eat what they eat.


    ETA: I even see my roosters eating the limestone calcium/oyster shell out of the hopper on occasion, though not often.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  10. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Interesting, SpeckledHen! That makes me feel better EXCEPT for the fact that my roo suffers from a bad disease called "Piggy Syndrome!" He eats everything, just like "Mikey" and in great quantities.

    I chalk this up to having had to raise him indoors. He was nearly pecked to death when he hatched by his StepMama and brother. I had worried he had a disorder that the StepMama sensed and was trying to kill off, but I don't think so. He was just a rowdy little roo, going in a million directions, and he unnerved her, because he wouldn't mind and stay under her breast. She had never been a Mama before and all this feistiness was new to her. Also, one eye hadn't opened, so he was a bit of a sickly looking chick upon hatching, but when I gave him vitamins and electrolytes he perked right up and that eye opened within 30 minutes of drinking his vitamin water.

    Anyway, I tried and tried to reintroduce him, but his StepMama and roo brothers would not allow it. They charged him and would have pecked him to death, although his sisters seemed to like him just fine.

    So I would put him in a cage and take him out to the coop so he could see them and be near them but not be hurt by them. But at night, since it was cold and on cold days during the winter (he hatched on September 25), I kept him in the house in the solarium which was full of plants. Because he was bored not having siblings to play with, he explored and devoured all of my plants, stripping them of their leaves. He substituted eating for socializing, I think, and that's how he got the"Piggy Disorder." The good nutrition from the greens he devoured resulted in him being the first of the 3 roos to crow, precociously and perfectly the first time!

    He still loves to eat. The vet told me he may have a genetic tendency toward pendulous crop and never to put out a whole bunch of food at one time, but to make it available in very small quantities so he won't stuff himself. Once he got into the wild birdseed and really feasted, puffing out his crop in such a scary fashion. It went down, but I sure don't want a repeat episode. So far he seems to be doing fine on his new pellets, which I haven't crushed up. The doctor said he thought mash was best for him, since he thought he wouldn't eat as much mash at one time as he would crumbles or pellets, but I haven't gotten around to mashing it yet.

    I'd love to find All Flock, Flock Raiser, or Chick Grower in mash form so I don't have to mash it myself.
     

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