Digestible forms of Corn

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by junkyardog, Dec 3, 2015.

  1. junkyardog

    junkyardog New Egg

    Oct 3, 2015
    Goshen, New York
    I understand chickens need to gain some extra weight to help build fat stores in the body which insulates from cold.
    I see people like corn as it is calorie dense and chickens like it.

    As I went to buy corn for my chickens I realized I didn't know which form was the most digestible. Whole, cracked, flaked, steamed, from a can? Looked around web got a lot of different answers. If it is not digestible it will pass thru and no caloric gains will be had.

    I also read this a lot: "giving your hens a small amount of corn before bedtime helps them to keep warm during the night."

    I don't understand any of the science behind this except that more calories means increased fat levels which usually means a better insulated bird.

    If you feed the chickens corn before they go to sleep won't the blood in the body go toward the stomach to help digestion? Does this pull the circulating blood away from other body parts?

    It seemed like some people think that digesting is like making heat inside the body...

    I still don't know which form of corn to supplement with.

    Ideas? Thoughts?
  2. prostar

    prostar Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 23, 2015
    Sunny SoCal
    My girls (and guy) get all sorts of fun corn bits. Corn in their scratch, I've even given them whole corn cobs (was growing corn in my garden lol). They'd get the leftover cob when hubs and had corn on the cob...(rinse off excess spices and stuff)

    If you do canned corn watch what's added to it...

    I don't know the science behind it but I've also heard the "corn heats the chickens up" and end up being mindful in the hot hot days of summer. Corn, how does it work?
  3. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    The fat on a chicken accumulates mainly on the rump in the form of a pad. This pad does little over all to insulate the bird over all. Too much fat in the pad will hinder the hen laying eggs. You really don't want too fat a hen. The feathers in their down coat does a wonderful job insulating them.

    The science behind corn and heating up chickens is a topic that causes a lot of talk, but has little experimentation behind it. The best I have come away with is that the act of digestion does add a little heat and the extra calories provide more energy for the metabolism to keep the body warm. I would think any high energy feed would do the same. Whole kernel dry corn would make the gizzard work harder and give them the heat from that.

    As to the blood being drawn to the stomach. Chickens will, if they can, go to roost with a full crop to digest while they sleep. Its what they do. Like us the other body parts of a chicken don't need a whole lot of blood during sleep.
  4. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Others may give a more scientific explanation, but corn does not create extra heat.

    If it did, I would be miserable during the summer corn season, or at least more miserable, since I love fresh corn and do not do well in the heat...

    The benefits of feeding extra corn, if any, will be the added inexpensive calories.

    Calories are just a measurement tool, like inches or ounces. They measure the energy a food or beverage provides -- from the carbohydrate, fat, protein, and alcohol it contains.

    Calories are the fuel you need to work and play. You even need calories to rest and sleep! Foods and beverages vary in how many calories and nutrients they contain. When choosing what to eat and drink, it's important to get the right mix -- enough nutrients, but not too many calories.
    - See more at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/calories#sthash.E8U52PuB.dpuf
  5. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Generally, the layer diet (plus whatever scraps you have from the kitchen) is more than enough for your flock to stay healthy and warm throughout the winter. A good way to check the weight of a bird is to feed the chest for the keel. A skinny bird will have a very prominent "ridge" on the chest. An overweight bird will have no ridge and will just feel round. An ideal weight bird will had a bit of keel but also some muscle on either side. This is a good way to judge if your birds are getting enough in their current diet.

    Adding a bit of corn to a layer diet won't hurt them and I've done it before going into the winter. Cracked corn is the best and I usually added about 25% corn and 75% layer pellets. You still want the majority of the diet to be pellets.

    The best way to keep birds warm in the winter is a draft free coop and appropriate perches to prevent frostbite on the toes. A bird's foot should only be able to wrap around a perch 75% of the circumference. This allows the bird to properly cover its toes with its body and fluff!
  6. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    I feed corn chops (not one of the choices).
  7. junkyardog

    junkyardog New Egg

    Oct 3, 2015
    Goshen, New York
    What are corn chops?
  8. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Bobwhite quail and gray doves have no problem eating whole corn straight out of the corn field. Chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese won't have any problems with it either. If they are not on the ground you would be well served to supply some grit on the side, but otherwise they can eat it as-is.

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