Corn. Is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by r709shackleford, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. r709shackleford

    r709shackleford Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 11, 2012
    Southcentral Alaska
    I feed my chickens regular 16%, and corn. Lots of table scraps. I usually use cracked corn, and the whole corn, I spread in their coop and run to give them something to do.

    In Alaska, I buy cracked corn for about $14/50lbs, and $9/ uncracked corn.
    Since the recent price spike, the cracked is about $15-$17 and the uncracked is around $13-14.

    I noticed on the ingredient lists the regular 16% feed has a lot more ingredients and minerals in the feed. Corn seems to have very little of anything. I know my chickens love their corn, but it seems be economically smarter to feed them just feed and table scraps.

    My question:
    Is corn a necessity in their diet, or is that something that can be omitted entirely?
    Maybe fed to them on occasion?

    My reasoning, is that if it have very little of anything, I can just feed them the regular feed and save money.
    Let me know your thoughts on this.

  2. corn is a treat, they don't have to have it.
  3. Trefoil

    Trefoil Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 7, 2011
    There is corn in the layer feed anyway.
  4. humphrey farms

    humphrey farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2012
    Naples Maine
    We give corn every night before roosting to help get them through the long cold winter nights. We dont heat our coop. Plus they do love corn fresh or dried!!!
  5. sushicat2000

    sushicat2000 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 11, 2012
    Corn is good right before they sleep if its cold out because it keeps them warm somehow (I think its something about how they digest corn) but its just a treat so you don't need to give it to the chickens regularly.
  6. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    The first ingredient in most layer feeds is corn. 16% layer feed is towards the bottom of having enough protein to meet their needs. When you feed corn you just dilute that even further. It's like telling the feed mill to mix you a 16% ration, but then telling them to dump extra corn in the mix. The end result isn't a 16% ration.

    If you want to add some scratch on the side then an 18% or 20% ration would be more appropriate. Usually this is done to extend a ration when you already have a supply of cheap and plentiful corn (you're supplying your own cheap corn for the ration rather than paying a premium for it in the mix). It doesn't make much sense otherwise.

    Table scraps should be given in moderation too for the same reason. If you give them no more than what they can clean up in 15-20 minutes it won't dilute their regular ration too much.
  7. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    The same could be said of their layer feed though. It is high in energy and easily digested.

    If you are feeding scratch and scraps on the side, that should be taken into account when choosing their layer feed. A higher protein feed should be chosen to ensure you aren't diluting the protein in the ration too much. If you were grinding your own feed to create a specific layer ration with a certain amount of protein you wouldn't carefully mix it in the correct proportions to get the desired level of protein and then dilute it by adding extra corn or other low protein grains.

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