Feeding chickens advice

Aprilap55

Chirping
Jul 1, 2020
33
42
66
My SO is arguing with me that I feed my chickens too much. That they only need to be fed once daily , and that instead of starter , I should be feeding them scratch mixed with layer feed because thats how his friend feeds his 4 chickens -who are grown and have been laying for quite some time now. My (26) chickens have not started laying yet and I did plan to switch them to layer next month as they should be laying around then. He thinks I'm being ridiculous. I'm " spoiling farm animals and wasting money on special feed and overdoing it with the free choice feeding."
He then says "I mean you can do whatever , I just don't think its necessary. Theyre just chickens."

Thoughts?

I feed my flock Purina starter feed in 2-7lb feeders free choice , as they are just now almost 16 weeks , and occasionally throw scratch mixed with mealworms as a treat. I also give them food scraps such as fruits and veggies whenever we have leftovers.

Pics of some of my flock:
 

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Chookchicken

🎄Fluffiest In The Flock🎄
Premium Feather Member
Dec 4, 2020
2,300
7,669
579
What a cute flock :) scratch isn’t very good for chickens and should not be feed to them daily (every few days doesn’t really matter). You’re flock looks pretty healthy and not like you’re feeding them to much, though when you give them snacks don’t give the feed at the same time. I hope this helps.
 

Aprilap55

Chirping
Jul 1, 2020
33
42
66
What a cute flock :) scratch isn’t very good for chickens and should not be feed to them daily (every few days doesn’t really matter). You’re flock looks pretty healthy and not like you’re feeding them to much, though when you give them snacks don’t give the feed at the same time. I hope this helps.
Thank you! I had heard scratch was for treats and not everyday feeding so I was obviously shocked to be told I should be feeding it as a main food source. If all seems well , and my birds are healthy and happy , I think ill just keep doing it the right way = my way. 😉
 

Aapomp831

Crowing
Oct 4, 2017
3,670
6,223
471
Lincolnton, NC
Your friend is incorrect. They should have access to food all day ( but you can put it away at night, they don’t eat at night). I only give my chickens scratch during the winter months, and only in limited amounts. If the scratch is mixed in with their regular food, they will literally eat around their regular food. Their regular food is fortified with the vitamins and minerals they need. It would be like giving a toddler a plate with broccoli on one side and cookies on the other...
I would start giving them grower feed and offer free choice oyster shell on the side ( or flock raiser). You have a rooster so you shouldn’t do layer feed - (too much calcium for a rooster causes kidney issues).
And yes, they are “just” chickens, but if you want healthy chickens that lay you eggs, a proper diet is what they need.
So basically, your friend is wrong!
 

Unsworth

Songster
6 Years
Jan 19, 2015
52
49
116
South Central Michigan (Parma)
I use a feeder (Grandpa's Feeder) and the chickens themselves choose when to eat. They step on a ramp and it opens up. It keeps the wild birds out which is a big problem where I live. So they are never restricted from their pellets. I use a 20% all flock feed. I never give them scratch but I do give them a treat almost every day, especially in the winter. They love canned corn, canned peas and sunflower meats (from the farm store) and kale. I give them oyster shell on the side in a low pan. I have 21 hens and am getting 19-21 eggs a day.
 

Aprilap55

Chirping
Jul 1, 2020
33
42
66
Your friend is incorrect. They should have access to food all day ( but you can put it away at night, they don’t eat at night). I only give my chickens scratch during the winter months, and only in limited amounts. If the scratch is mixed in with their regular food, they will literally eat around their regular food. Their regular food is fortified with the vitamins and minerals they need. It would be like giving a toddler a plate with broccoli on one side and cookies on the other...
I would start giving them grower feed and offer free choice oyster shell on the side ( or flock raiser). You have a rooster so you shouldn’t do layer feed - (too much calcium for a rooster causes kidney issues).
And yes, they are “just” chickens, but if you want healthy chickens that lay you eggs, a proper diet is what they need.
So basically, your friend is wrong!
Thank you very much!
I use a feeder (Grandpa's Feeder) and the chickens themselves choose when to eat. They step on a ramp and it opens up. It keeps the wild birds out which is a big problem where I live. So they are never restricted from their pellets. I use a 20% all flock feed. I never give them scratch but I do give them a treat almost every day, especially in the winter. They love canned corn, canned peas and sunflower meats (from the farm store) and kale. I give them oyster shell on the side in a low pan. I have 21 hens and am getting 19-21 eggs a day.
Thanks , I suppose I'll be going with all flock and oyster shell as well. I have 3-maybe even 5 roosters atm and actually didn't even think about layer not being ok for them! Mine don't really seem to freak over scratch as much. They love mealworms but I find scratch left everywhere when I give it to them. I may just nix that all together and stick with veggies and the worms.
 

David61

Songster
Jul 27, 2019
791
1,762
206
Mississippi Gulf Coast
its time to switch to flock raiser crumble if you want. I use oyster shell not layer feed. when you see your chicken "squat" put out some oyster shell as its egg time.
10% of their daily food can be scratch , treats, table scraps for best health. some free range their birds and feed them whatever or nothing but table scraps so...
my 10 girls are 1 1/2 yrs old and i get 8 or 9 big eggs a day. big coop/run and big outside run.
flock raiser and oyster shell at will. two cups of 10 grain scratch scattered in the run each morning for turnout or an hour of free range in the flowerbeds/yard. a few raisins to get them to run back in the coop.
happy healthy birds so I think I'm doing just fine.
 

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