Confused on feeding ....

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by momofthehouse, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. momofthehouse

    momofthehouse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I need help on feeding and how much water I should make available for our chickens.

    • I will get chicks first and feed them the mediated chick feed...but for how long???
    • I also read that around 17 weeks to give chickens some sort of laying feed?
    • along with calcium? (ie clean eggs shells or can I buy this in case I dont have egg shells?) Grit?
    • Do I keep giving them the laying feed or do I switch them at some point?
    • What do the roosters eat?
    • What "scraps" can I throw out to them or treats when they free range? I know corn and watermelon but that is all I know.

    So any food ideas I would love for you to share! Thanks!
     
  2. LRH97

    LRH97 Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    I'm sure some people would tell you a specific time to start giving layer feed, however I just switch from starter to layer when I get my first egg. I give my girls oyster shell (calcium) from time to time. If you free range, the birds will probably find grit themselves, but if you feed quite a bit of scraps, I would maybe put a little in the coop just in case. The layer feed is easy for them to digest and they don't really need grit, if that's all you feed. My roos are quite content eating the layer crumbles. As for scraps, pretty much any vegetables are good (my girls' favorites are carrots and cabbage), and even some cut-up meats. Hope I helped!
     
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  3. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Your birds should have cool, fresh, clean water available to them 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, no exceptions, ever. Withholding either water of feed is how commercial flocks are force molted to get them all back into the egg laying grove at the same time. Needless to say a hen in the molt doesn't lay very many (if any) eggs.
     
  4. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They need water constantly, they should never run out of that and it needs to be kept from freezing in winter, with the chick starter you have to see if your chicks were vaccinated, if they were then you feed the non medicated feed, if not then the medicated feed is ok, I switched mine from the chick feed to an All Flock type feed and once they started to lay eggs I supplemented with oyster shells, I occasionally give them grit and they go outside and pick around on their own when there isn't snow. The only real advantage to layer feed is it contains the calcium so you don't need to supplement with oyster shells or egg shells, the only other difference that I know of is the protein, most layer ration I have seen is 16% protein, the All Flock I feed is 18 and I think Grower is in the low 20s, my birds seem to be ok with the all flock, I feed that because it is cheaper than layer even with the supplement of oyster shells because they don't go through them very fast, also I like the idea of all flock because I keep a couple roosters and they don't need the extra calcium. As far as left overs I have found my chickens will eat pretty much anything I want to throw them.
     
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  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Medicated starter is fed for 6-8 weeks or when you run out around that time. Grower feed can be fed for the life of the chicken with no need of layer feed. The difference in the two is added calcium. I no longer use layer feed. With chickens of varying ages in them summer and keeping of roosters they all are getting that added calcium if on layer feed and is not good for them if not laying eggs. By supplying oyster shell free choice in separate dish only the laying hens will eat it. Well, they all will peck at it at first but eventually any substantial eating of it will only be by the laying hens.

    Our local feed store carries starter/grower that only comes in crumbles. When the new years chickens get to size I like to feed pellets as it is less wasteful. My chickens throw the crumbles onto ground then don't eat it. You can not feed them until they do eat what's on the ground but it's easier for me just to give them pellets for less waste. For pellet feed of proper protein level I simply use turkey and gamebird finisher.

    I don't use medicated starter here so the feeding regiment is simple. 50# bag starter/grower when brooding chicks, when pellets run out for layers and roosters all the birds are on this one feed with oyster shells on the side in layer pen. When my brooded chicks get to 12 weeks or so, when the last bag of starter/grower runs out, everybody gets gamebird finisher pellets. Oyster shells on the side in layer pen. When the new birds are 20 weeks or so (point of lay), older birds from layer pen are sold or eaten and they move in to that pen, cockerels not already eaten are selected to replace existing roosters or eaten as roasters. Oyster shell on the side free choice.
     
  6. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

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    I want to move where you all pay less for 18-20% grower feed than 16% layer. Anything with higher protein is more expensive here.
     
  7. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Yeah right? I want to know why the same nutritional content in gamebird finisher 16% protein is a dollar more than layer feed 16% protein. Same price as the starter grower non medicated 18% protein.
     
  8. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We can get 1 type of layer which is about a dollar per 50 lb bag cheaper than the all flock however it is a crumble feed and I prefer to stay with the all flock pellets.

    I also don't like the roosters and other birds that may not be laying at the time consuming the calcium when they don't need it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
  9. Laci D Hill

    Laci D Hill Out Of The Brooder

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    Would an All Purpose livestock pellet be a good chicken/duck feed? It comes in 12&16%.
     
  10. momofthehouse

    momofthehouse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am confused why you wrote this? I dont see where anyone mentioned that they are withholding food or water?
     

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