Feeding for winter

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by jenmiller, Oct 5, 2011.

  1. jenmiller

    jenmiller Out Of The Brooder

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    what in the world am i doing wrong, my chickens are skinny and they get like 7 lbs of food a day plus whatever scraps i have watered as much as possible. is it possible that because i just feed them corn (which is now mixed with chick starter soon to be mixed with laying mash) they arnt getting enough food, or am i doing something wrong??
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    A 14 week old pullet is rather skinny, most times. They'll thicken up at 24 weeks.

    As for the diet, you don't say what portion of their feed is coming from corn, treats, etc, but ALL SUCH items shouldn't constitute more than 10% of their diet, normally. It is possible that far too much of their calories are coming from things other than their chick starter. Personally, I'm not a big fan of filling them up with corn, scratch and such as the protein level just isn't adequate for muscle growth, in my experience.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Not just possible but I'd bet that is the problem.

    I have lots of people ask me why their chickens don't lay or are small. I ask "what are you feeding them?" and they say "corn".
    I say " what else?" and they say "just corn" and I reply - You're starving them.

    How much (percentage) of their diet is grower, corn, treats, etc. and what kinds of treats.

    Corn is about 9% protein, lots of carbs and few vitamins.
    Healthy chicks need at least 18% protein in their diet. Starter/grower feed is a balanced ration and no other food is needed for proper nutrition.

    Eliminate the corn, switch to starter/grower only and no treats. In a few weeks (unless they have parasites) they should recover substantially.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  4. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    Define skinny. What makes you think they are?

    How many birds is the 7 lbs of feed split amongst? What type of chickens?

    What kind of feed is it? How much corn are you cutting it with?

    There's really no accurate way to say what percentage of a diet it is permissible to provide from "treats" without knowing what the main diet is and what the treats are.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  5. jenmiller

    jenmiller Out Of The Brooder

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    They are about 23 weeks old, give or take a week or 2. Daily basis it was just corn. Once or twice a week i give them scraps. This week and last i started adding Chick starter to their corn and today i got one egg and my father-in-law telling me my chickens are not fat enough to get them through the winter. What do i do to get some weight on them quick fast and in a hurry???
     
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Thank you for further information.

    You should feed almost nothing but layer feed from now on. Period. Ok, a little something now and then, but limit their diet to nothing but layer feed for 95% of what they eat. The rest of the stuff is simply a distraction and not needed.

    Feeding chickens nothing but corn, corn, corn is like feeding a high school athlete nothing but french fries.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    I agree that they should have only layer at this age but they need to recover from the corn regimen and layer is usually only 16 or 17%.
    They need high protein. I would give them the highest protein poultry grower you can find like a game bird feed.
    Supplement with some canned tuna, yogurt and black oil sunflower as the only treats. All those are high in protein vitamins and yogurt adds probiotics.
    Give crushed oyster shell in a separate container for added calcium those laying or about to lay.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  8. jenmiller

    jenmiller Out Of The Brooder

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    how much do they need a day since it is split between 20 chickens, and can i let my rooster eat that???

    I have 6 Orphingtons, a bunch of White Rock, 1 Dominique rooster and a bunch of mixed ones im guessing
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    At their peak consumption growing birds will eat about 1/2 lb. each every day and about 1/3 lb. after grown.
     
  10. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    There is really no scientific basis for feeding them the highest protein feed you can find at this stage in the game. That's not how the biological systems work. Any extra protein they consume will be excreted. They are no longer growing birds, they're mature birds. Feed them properly as such and they will gain weight. If they were stunted in size as they grew they will often recover over a period of time, but they still will not be growing at the rates they would have if they'd been given appropriate feed at the appropriate life stage. There's no turning back the clock and reversing the deficiencies of the past, they are the past this is now all you can do is provide a good diet going forward. If you plan to continue to supplement with treats you will want to choose something more concentrated than most layer formulas as layer feeds are formulated at the bare minimums, otherwise, layer is fine. Protein is important, but it's also important that its not put on a far higher pedestal than it deserves and that we understand the role it plays in the diet during each life stage.
     

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