Completely Confused about Food

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by terbear1967, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. terbear1967

    terbear1967 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 14, 2010
    Williamsburg, VA
    Hi there. I've been looking for answers to my questions here on BYC and all I'm doing is making myself even more confused. [​IMG]
    We are feeding our 4 layers scratch and pellets mixed together in a container, that's left out at all times for them to eat whenever they want. Should we keep the food out at all times for them?
    Additionally, we leave out for them to eat whenever, a container of oyster shells crumbles. As snacks, we give them cabbage, lettuce, and Cherrios. We allow them out of their run/coop about 4 hours a day to go out to play and eat insects, grass and leaves, etc.
    Am I missing something we should be feeding them? What is better for them - cracked corn or scratch?
    Thanks for any assistance you can provide.

  2. pongoid

    pongoid Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 8, 2010
    Can you feed Chickens left over pizza. As I said in another thread, a lady veterinarian told me you can feed them pretty much anything.
    As a kid she fed them chicken bones and eggshells just fine.
  3. cterbizan

    cterbizan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 14, 2010
    Scratch is better for them but should be used as a treat and not a feeding. Esp. if it is hot outside scratch can raise their body temp and make them even hotter. For treats here is a treat chart if you don't already have it.
    keep my food outside at all times in an automatic feeder. It is ok as long has you don't have cornish x or any meat chickens like that I have been told you need to watch their eating. I also keep a container of oyster shell out there.
  4. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Quote:Well, it's really easy! Let me help.....By pellets, I am thinking you mean 16% protein layer pellets. Now, to a chicken, scratch is just like candy, and scratch is different grains mixed up. Cracked corn is the same--just like candy. So chickens are just like kids--they will always take the candy first.

    NOw, I'm not sure of your climate, but right now it's hot. So I don't give scratch in the summer as a treat because it raises body temps. I just use that in the winter time, before night fall, to bring up their body temps when it gets colder. (I'm in Ohio though.)

    Your treats of cabbage and lettuce and Cheerios are just fine. You're doing just the right thing with the oyster shell by leaving a dish out so they can have it as they need it.

    I also keep a constant food supply in my feed dishes of layer pellets.

    Sounds like you're doing a great job!
  5. terbear1967

    terbear1967 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 14, 2010
    Williamsburg, VA
    Okay, just so I understand,
    Cracked corn and scratch should be given as a treat only. It's blazing hot here in the summer, so I shouldn't give them scratch at all because it raises their body temperature. Scratch is okay in the colder months, as a treat, and like you I will probably give it to them right before they go to bed.
    Pellets should be their constant food source, and leaving it in a container to eat at their free-will is fine. (They are layers and meat chickens, but we use them as layers only.)
    Is there anything else we should be feeding them on a constant daily basis? I feel like they're missing out on some vitamins or something.
    Also, we only got two eggs today, and normally we get at least three. Do you think it could be beacuse of the heat?

    Thanks everyone so much!! [​IMG]
  6. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    Scratch can be given any season in moderation.
  7. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Feeding Scratch Grain will not raise the body temperature ( unless you over feed it and make your bird overly fat ).

    Most Scratch Grain has little more than 8% protein and can really drop the protein percentage of there layer feed.
    Now I don't know what the protein percentage of your layer is so I will give you a example of what I mean.

    Lets say your layer is a 18% protein and your scratch grain in 8% protein and you mix it 75% layer and 25% scratch..

    • 18 ÷ 100 = .18% protein per pound of feed
    • 8 ÷ 100 = .08 % protein per pound of feed

    • .18 x 75 = 13.5% protein
    • .08 x 25 = 2% protein

    • 13.5 + 2 = 15..5% protein

    •Now your feed that was 18% protein is now 15.5% protein.....

    If you like to feed scratch you can do one of two things.

    • 1 - Feed less scratch
    • 2 - Feed a higher protein scratch ( I use a 14% protein all grain pigeon feed )

    I like to mix a all grain pigeon feed in my feed mix. It adds extra carbohydrates and keeps the bird more active plus the pigeon grain has grains that are good for chickens that aren't normally found in normal layer feed...


    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 14, 2008
    Wow, haven't seen the "scratch raises their body temp" myth in a long time. Thought it had finally been put to rest.
    Chickens, like people, have a normal body temperature that is regulated by their biology. What they eat has no bearing on their body temperature. If they aren't ill their temperature will stay right around normal.
    Think about it, are there foods that raise your body temp?
  9. claud

    claud Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    Sounds like you are doing great.
    The only thing is I wouldn't put scratch in with their layer pellets. It should be used just as a treat and also my birds will scratch all the layer pellets out to get to the corn/scratch.
    They love pizza and pretty much anything you'd eat plus some. Great for fridge clean-out day minus the furry and unidentifiable stuff. I am just careful not to give them more than they will eat before sundown - leftover scraps attract unwanted critters.
  10. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Quote:It pops up now and then.


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