Corn scratch

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by tav1, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. tav1

    tav1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know corn is a treat. ..what's a normal feeding for this? Or treat.

    A little more for the colder day coming
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Treats such as corn, scratch, table scraps, and greens should not make up any more than a collective 15% of the diet, or 20% if you are feeding high protein items like meat or dairy (however meat and dairy should be feed no more than once or twice a week). Corn is very low protein and in its plain form not a great nutrient, I wouldn't exceed 5-10%.
     
  3. tav1

    tav1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just useing your basic layer food....table scraps time to time.
    Once in a while scratch and bird feed.
    Do you want to spoil them in the winter months
     
  4. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Who decided that table scraps and greens are treats and should not be more than 15% of a chickens diet? What are the problems if they have greens and table scraps available at all times? My grandparents have a farm that has been passed down the family for generations in Germany and their chickens in their run have a huge compost pile which constantly has greens from the crop fields and table scraps added to it and is available to the chickens all day everyday. They also get fed layer feed twice a day(it is not left out as free choice for them) and they lay with a high efficiency and have the most beautiful orange yolks. Something I do not see here from our farm fresh/free range eggs including from my own which have layer pellets free choice and scraps in my opinion not nearly enough.
     
  5. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop


    Because commerical feeds are carefully formulated with required minimums of each nutrients such as proteins, carboyhydrates, and fats - the three nutrients which impart the most energy and are some of the most important parts of the bird's diet - in the perfect amounts, and over feeding of other foodstuffs can alter these necessary intakes. The more treats that are fed, the less of this formulated feed they are eating. This is especially an issue since some values - such as protein - are already mixed at a bare minimum requirement level. Most feeds, even those made by small companies, are mixed using the commercial notion of "how small of an amount of X nutrient will result in an acceptable production level without spending even a cent more than necessary?" not "If I add more of X nutrient, even though it costs more, will it improve the bird's health and allow for higher nutrient intake should an individual bird require it?" This is why issues like featherpicking and egg eating are common in many backyard flocks, especially during molting season; individual breeds in individual health states often have varying nutritional requirements, but all are fed the same commercial mixed feed with bare minimum nutrition, using nutritional guidelines based on tests done on Leghorns and Sex Links in confined, temperature controlled, light controlled cages units.

    So take this fact - the fact that feed often already contains only the bare minimum and cost effective levels of nutrients - and then consider just how much over feeding of table scraps and treats can mess with the required intake levels of poultry. I don't have my nutrition guide on me right now, and I have not memorized the required levels of carbohydrates or fats of adult laying hens right now, but I have memorized protein levels. So let's take a looks at the protein levels of a few common types of treats and greenstuffs, and compare it to the protein levels required by an adult laying hen and the protein levels available in their main commercial laying ration.

    Let's use a hypothetical scenario. There are two Barred Rock hens in a yard. They are two years old and currently laying an average of 5 eggs per week. The yard is spacious and they are afforded clean water at all times. They are not currently under stress and they do not have any health conditions. So, your average and ideal backyard chickens.

    They have protein requirements between 16-18%. Their layer feed affords them 16% protein. While they may utilize more if it was given, they do not have any especially high protein requirements at the moment, so 16% is an adequate minimum. It will keep their production steady and their weight healthy. They are currently eating about 1/2 pounds of feed per day, or 1/4 pounds per bird per day. They eat a total of about 3 pounds (1.5 per bird) of feed a week. They are fed this layer ration ad libitum.

    Now let's say one day they are given lettuce as a treat. They are given enough lettuce that it makes up 1/2 of their diet that day, or 50%. On a normal day, when they are fed no treats, they would eat about 1/2 pounds, or 1.5 cups, of layer ration, collectively. Today they only eat 1/4 pound, or 0.75 cups, of layer ration, and 1/4 pound, or about 1.5 cups, of lettuce, collectively. The approximate amount of protein they would consume on a normal day is about 36 grams. But, lettuce contains far less protein than layer feed. The entire 1.5 pounds contains only about 1.5 grams of protein. So instead of consuming 36 grams of protein that day, they consume only about 19.5. That's scarcely more than the requirement of one hen! This lack of protein can easily result in weight loss, feather picking, and egg eating.

    Let's take another example. Next week, we're planning to feed these two Barred Rock hens mealworms. The mealworms will make up 50% of their diet that day. Once again, on a normal day, with no treats or supplements, the hens should eat about 1/2 pound (1.5 cups) layer ration collectively. But today, they eat only 50% layer ration, or 1/4 pound (0.75 cups). The other 50% consists of 1/4 pound (or 1 cup) of mealworms. Mealworms are about 50% protein, so converted, the mealworms alone are providing about 56 grams of protein. Add in the 18 grams of protein from the layer ration they eat that day, and these girls just ate a whopping 74 grams of protein! That is far too much, and the poor girl's kidneys and livers will be working very hard to remove all that excess protein.

    This is just one example of the effects of variances of one nutrient due to the addition of one ingredient to their diet. Obviously effect and amounts can vary drastically between flocks and feedstuffs, but hopefully this gives you an idea of just how much more than 10-20% treats can affect a bird's nutritional intake and health.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2015
  6. tav1

    tav1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All's i have is 3 ben....for the eggs only.
    I have,a gal. Pellet feeder full all the time
    (Eat when they want) and scraps when it get them.
     
  7. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well it is pretty obvious to me that chickens get those nutrients from other foods as well not just from commercial feeds. As I said my grandparents hens get very minimal commercial feed fed to them twice a day and they look and act every bit as healthy as my chickens which have commercial feed available at all times. They lay just as many eggs and the yolks are much deeper orange. Chickens know what nutrients they need and how much of it. An example of that would be when you have oysters shells available at all times. They take in as much as they need and no more. In my opinion the same goes for other nutrients as well.

    I am not one to go by others rules. I base my judgement's on my experiences and on the health of my birds. I don't follow the rule of interior and exterior square footage per bird. I judge how many birds I can have in my coop and run by their health and happiness. The same goes for feeding my birds.

    Are you against free ranging your birds too? That could become more than 15% of their diet as well.
     
  8. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop


    While other foods can contribute those nutrients to their diet, there is no food with the exact, perfect dietary balances they need. Those dietary values come from plain feeds, like corn or insects, but they need to be blended to be properly formulated for chickens. And humans can overeat just the same as humans. In the same way that humans can overeat fats or sugars and become fat, a hen can easily overeat or undereat protein and become too fat or too skinny. And a bird can remain seemingly healthy on the outside while still undergoing internal damage. It may not have an immediate effect on them but it can very easily shorten their lives in the long run.

    I judge partly by my own rules as well, but in my opinion the key to anything is combining anecdotal and scientific evidence. One without the other can cause problems with ease, even if they may not be noticeable right away.

    I am in favor of free ranging. I free range my birds. Not in the true sense, with no fences whatsoever, but with 4,000 square feet they have access to all the nutrients and materials they would without a fence. I have yet to meet a hen who can free range more than 15% of their own feed, and certainly I would see a bird who can gather 20% a world class free ranger. 10% or even lower is normal and average. I mean, maybe in Florida or Hawaii or another area where you see populations of feral fowl, you might have a better free ranger, but there's a reason the majority of wild birds in those areas are gamefowl and crosses thereof. They lay little, eat little, and are generally wildtype in body and metabolism, which is why they can subsist on their own gathered feed. A plain laying hen, e.g. a Leghorn, would not live near so long in such condition.
     
  9. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    Here's a great PDF with all the info you should need to work them out a well rounded diet. If you need further assistance, I have more where those came from :)

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sou...W0lDjw&usg=AFQjCNHYmq4uewpuUyS7U-bPe_cBbJU3jg

    I don't really increase the corn in winter, but I do ferment my feed more in winter. I actually decreased the corn in my ration and replaced 15% of it with sorghum, for more crude energy.

    If you're feeding an all grain or self mixed diet, the corn shouldn't exceed 25% if the ratio, IMO.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2015
  10. bigt447

    bigt447 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use oats most often as my scratch as it has about 12% protein compared to corn at around 8%. I have 18% layer available at all times. They also love crickets as a treat. 10 hens average 8 eggs daily.
     

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