Feeding cracked corn to younger laying hens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by tcriswell13, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. tcriswell13

    tcriswell13 Hatching

    Dec 31, 2014
    i got some laying pullets that are about 6 weeks old and I was thinking of feeding them a diet of all cracked corn. They are not free range but they are kept on dirt and have plenty of hay and bedding to scratch in and some grass sprouts to eat. I give them tons of table scraps on top of that so would it be ok if I just gave them cracked corn in the feeder. They're not laying yet so I'm not really concerned if it messes with their laying. Any and all advice is appreciated... Thanks
  2. azelgin

    azelgin Songster

    Jan 18, 2008
    S.E. AZ
    Bad idea. Growing birds need protein. Cracked corn is not a good choice for a main source of nutrition, for any age chicken. Starter/grower is what you should be feeding, until they are almost ready to lay.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015
  3. They'll do about as well as you would should all your meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner should come from the value menu at your local McDonalds.

    What is to be gained from this? A prepared, balanced feed costs virtually pennies more per day to day and you'd be assured of healthy, well developed birds.
    1 person likes this.
  4. Judy

    Judy Crowing

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Cracked corn is far from a complete diet, and provides no vitamins and less protein than they need. If you wish to depend on their other food sources for a complete diet, that is up to you.
  5. coonhoundmama87

    coonhoundmama87 Songster

    Oct 26, 2011
    It'll be fine. Chickens can eat just corn and not die. Not a popular opinion around here but it's the truth. Best of luck with your chickens, it'll be awesome when they start laying!
  6. pdirt

    pdirt Songster

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA

    So is this what you do? Feed your chickens nothing but corn and don't free range? I can't see why this would be a good idea.

    Try it sometime. Eat nothing but corn for a month. See how you feel.

    Now if your table scraps include modest amounts of meat or fish, veggies and grains, then feeding the just cracked corn might work. But you wouldn't be feeding them just cracked corn, because of all those scraps (with meat/protein)!
  7. ggeorgas

    ggeorgas In the Brooder

    Dec 29, 2014
    I am a beginner at chickens, but I have never been a fan of corn for any living thing. There is really no nutritional value. Is this also the case for chickens or is there nutrients they get from it?
    1 person likes this.
  8. mightymax

    mightymax Songster

    Oct 8, 2013
    Central Coast, CA
    @ggeorgas ...
    ...A++ for you, Beginner With Chickens !!! You're going to go far in you chicken adventures I can tell !!! You are correct! Corn has no worthwhile nutritional value for just about any living thing (except for maybe an old hillbilly moonshiner !!!) Corn has been used as a cheap and fairly cost effective 'filler' for many, many years now in a plethora of edible (and some not so edible) commodities. Basically when it's eaten, the body doesn't really know what to do with the majority of it (I'm sure you've looked in your toilet a time or two after feasting upon all things corn), and it's pretty much the same with chickens when they eat it. Since are bodies metabolize corn as a sugar, the one benefit that it can give your chickens is extra energy. Not the type of energy where they'll be running around all crazy like, popping eggs out their rears every two seconds. No, I'm talking about all the extra calories (energy) that they'll be needing during the winter months in order to keep themselves warm !!! So, for me the answer is simple. Year round I feed my flock a ration of 17 to 20 percent high quality all-purpose crumble (or pellet) and supplement it with oyster shell (ad lib, in a separate feed bowl), some water soluble vitamins, minerals and electrolytes. Pretty simple, I think. Now, during the winter I will offer either cracked corn or some good corn based scratch to help them keep their weight on and their health strong. Oh, I forgot to mention that throughout the year I also give them whatever seasonal fruits and vegetables we have leftover from our kitchen. That's It !!! Good Luck with your chicks !!!

    @coonhoundmama87 ...
    ...I'm not 100% positive about this, but I don't think I can ever recall a time when anyone here on BYC said anything even remotely suggesting that if all you feed your chickens is corn, that they're going to die because of it !!! Give me a minute...Let me think...Nope...can't think of a single instance where that's been said !!!
    Perhaps you misunderstood what was being said, because the only one that even has the slightest possibility of dying in this scenario is the person whose entire diet must consist of only the eggs that his entirely corn feed hens lay for him...and nothing else. I could see that being suggested, do to the fact that if your corn only fed hens are laying at all, I can guarantee you that those eggs they're laying have about as much nutrition in them then, oh, let's say, a kernel of corn. And we all know that you can't just live on corn alone !!!

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2015

  9. The reason it's not a 'popular opinion' is because corn is factually not a balanced and complete diet for chickens, that is the factual truth...

    It's equivalent to saying you can survive on a complete diet of beans and rice, that doesn't mean it's healthy for you nor does it come anywhere near a diet that you can thrive from and perform your best... Same for corn, it simply lacks a lot of necessary things chickens need to thrive...

    The chicken industry world wide has spent many millions over the course of centuries figuring out balanced diets that poultry can 'thrives' on and what chickens need to thrive, and the blunt reality is corn is FAR from anywhere near complete by any stretch...

  10. Although it's become 'tradition' and 'culture' now, the reason 'moonshiners' used corn was that it was dirt cheap and readily/easily available in mass quantities without sending up easy identifiable red flags for it's purchase to the prohibition officers...

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