Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ijon, Dec 1, 2016.

  1. ijon

    ijon Songster

    Jan 11, 2012
    What is the major drawback of feeding a lot of corn to hens? I been picking up corn in my fields after harvest. I am getting what the combine missed. I have a lot. My hens are pigs with the laying mash.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016

  2. 5acresandadream

    5acresandadream In the Brooder

    Oct 31, 2016
    North Eastern USA
    It can make them fat lol fat hens don't lay well. But if it'd only for awhile and not all year it's ptob OK. Just still offer their layer feed and calcium on the side.
  3. Corn can be given on cold nights before they go in to roost.....Other than that it will make them fat.........Once a week as a tossed out scratch.......

  4. amynrichie

    amynrichie Songster

    Jan 29, 2013
    Nebraska Panhandle
    I have a lot of corn that got spilled off of the grain cart. We use it for scratch only. In the evenings, or any time I want to call the chickens in to lock them up,I throw a scoop or two out for them. I keep the chicken feed as their primary diet though.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    How do you manage feeding your chickens? Do you provide everything they eat or do they forage a lot? If they forage much you’ve lost all hope of micromanaging their feed intake.

    If you look at the ingredients list on your Laying Mash it probably has a lot of corn in it. Corn provides a lot of nutrients. Many people on this forum seem to obsess over protein levels and forget everything else. They are all important but I’ll mainly talk about protein. The nutrient level in corn depends on different things, type of corn and how mature it is when harvested. Normally field corn which I think you are growing has over 16% protein when it is milk stage but that gets down to maybe the 11% range when it is totally mature. I’ll also assume you are talking about mature corn.

    As a general rule of thumb if you limit how much you feed them of any treats to a total of 10% of their daily intake and the rest they eat is that Laying Mash they are close enough to maintaining a balanced diet. That doesn’t matter if you are talking about a really low protein treat like some stuff from the kitchen or garden or some really high protein source like cat food or other meat products. Another rule of thumb is that if they can clean it up in about 10 to 20 minutes it will constitute about 10% of their total diet. That assumes they go crazy over it like most flocks do over corn.

    The Laying Mash probably has a total percent protein of around 16%. That is on the label too. They are probably using mature field corn with about an 11% contribution to the total protein so they are adding other components to raise the average protein content to 16%. They balance all the ingredients to get all the various nutritional requirements to where they need to be.

    Whether yours forage a lot or not, I’d try to limit the total additional corn, above what is already in the Laying Mash, to that 10%. You could feed them a higher protein treat to balance out protein levels if you feed them more, but how does that affect calcium, fiber, fats, sodium, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, and all the other nutrients they need?

    The biggest danger to feeding them a lot of corn is that you upset their balanced diet that they need.

  6. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    If I had an endless supply of "free" corn (or other cereal grain) I would be mixing my own feed. Not terribly practical if you are feeding 4 hens but if you have considerably more worth the trouble. Start with the mill you frequent. You should be able to buy ingredients you don't grow there. They will have a premixed vit/min blend maybe even a pelletized product with added protein. On a related note ADM. makes a poultry product just for blending with scratch grains to make a complete ration. Think Calf Manna... Use that as a guide.your rinky dink mill will have a nutritionist on staff who will formulate a feed for you less the corn. The problem will be the ingredients will separate out and they can pick out what they want and leave the fines in the feeders.

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