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Feeding Grain

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by blessedmama, Oct 19, 2016.

  1. blessedmama

    blessedmama Hatching

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    I have been on a mission to feed my chickens cheaper; however lately they are not seeming very healthy so I think Im missing something. We farm, so we have access to corn, milo, and wheat. I have been feeding them mainly wheat and milo, as they don't care for the corn much. I also give them black oil sunflower seeds, lots of scraps, and lots of garden produce. They also get occasional mealworms, as well as weeds and grass clippings. 2-3 times a week I dump in some layer pellets. Do I need to do anything different? I have 24 birds, and they are not able to free range due to predators.
    As for their health: The younger ones are kind of small and light/scrawny. Many of them have pretty scruffy and battered feathers. I don't know if this has anything to do with anything, but some hens have dull and floppy combs.
    Thoughts?
     

  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Crowing

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    I wonder if it's a protein deficiency issue that accounts for the scruffy feathers and dull combs? That being said, I don't know the protein content of the grains you are feeding. I typed in 'what's in layer feed' into the BYC search box and a bunch of old threads popped up. You might like to research through them. Here's the link: https://www.backyardchickens.com/newsearch?search=whats+in+layer+feed
    Good luck to you!
     
  3. Chickens have very complex dietary needs...They require a Balanced diet...Not providing a nutritional balance diet shorten life span, lowers egg production and causes illness in Chickens...

    Best of luck..

    Cheers!
     
  4. rebrascora

    rebrascora Crowing

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    If your chickens are over a year old then they are probably moulting. That will make them look really scruffy with battered feathers. Egg production will also drop whilst they put all their energy into growing new feathers.

    That said, I agree that feeding them a proper balanced diet is very important and if you are not giving them the correct nutrients then they will not be at their best or most productive. Young birds are particularly vulnerable to poor diet as it may stunt their growth.
     
  5. ladyearth

    ladyearth Songster

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    blessedmama
    you said they dont free range cause of predators//
    everywhere has some predators probably
    well you might try letting them out while you are watching right before bedtime...like an hour or more...
    it a beautiful thing to watch them run and flap their wings
    they will love it
    and your grains sound more like scratch than complete feed or feed additives...
    my first set when I let out of their big, big run .... I could swear the one gal smiled
    they just hung by the gate. run time was their highlight


    just a saying
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    The mix of food items at first read is not likely to be balanced. When my birds free-ranged with quality forages, especially on the animal side I have little trouble feeding intact grains. Confined it can be done with careful inclusion of high quality proteins. When diet is off egg production, feather replacement and general health suffers.
     
  7. Chicken feed that is manufactured, is specifically made for Chickens...Age appropriate diets are available because people spent time and money to make them...No lies...Facts....Chickens need a balanced diet....Trying to make your own is careless and pointless if your hens are to be healthy and produce quality eggs....Believe what you want? I am only trying to help....

    Cheers!
     

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