Feeding grown chickens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Frozen Feathers, Jun 2, 2007.

  1. Frozen Feathers

    Frozen Feathers Songster

    May 4, 2007
    What do you feed older chickens? Can I just give them straight cracked corn? Most of my chickens are free-range so I just throw them a mixture of layer pellets and cracked corn, but I've noticed my boys might be starting to develop gout. I've always thought layer pellets were necessary but are they? I have enough hens that I'm not really worried about egg production, I just want everyone to be healthy, and I don't want to separate the roosters from the hens, they'd be lonely. Any ideas??? Is there feed out there that has all the vitamins they need w/ out all the protein?
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Hmm. Well, if its not winter and they are free ranging, I would cut the corn out. I free range and have pellets available free choice and find they only eat as much as they want. Corn may have other side effects like lack of calcium. I wouldn't worry about high protein.
  3. Frozen Feathers

    Frozen Feathers Songster

    May 4, 2007
    High protein is what is causing gout in my roosters...from eating the layer pellets which are loaded with protein. They shouldn't eat them, but I have no way of preventing that unless I separate out the roosters and since I want chicks I can't do that. I'm not worried about calcium, I feed back their eggshells which are basically pure calcium....
    I think I'm just going to cut the layer pellets out for a while and see what happens.
  4. Barnyard Dawg

    Barnyard Dawg Songster

    Feb 7, 2007
    Northern California
    We feed our chickens mostly steamed rice along with vegetables and fruits ( figs, blackberries, boysenberries) they free-range and we will give them today watermelon rinds after we eat the melon.
  5. chickenwoods

    chickenwoods Songster

    Apr 29, 2007
    Drinking a teaspoon a day,of A,C vinegar can make you healthier and make you feel better,It is good for you in many many ways.although it taste HORRIBLE..

    Also the bird thing....[​IMG]
  6. bigzio

    bigzio Crowing

    Jan 20, 2007
    Angie, I think the nutrition in the layer pellets is very important to keeping a healthy flock. I free range my flock also and while the amount of feed consumed during summer really drops off, they still require some of the nutrition not found while free-ranging. The never ending conquest for feed of the free range flock should not have to depend on their ability alone.....

  7. Frozen Feathers

    Frozen Feathers Songster

    May 4, 2007
    Could I just add AC vinegar to their water? Do you know in what water to vinegar ratio??
  8. Rafter 7 Paint Horses

    Rafter 7 Paint Horses Songster

    Jan 13, 2007
    East Texas
    ACV: What I do, don't know if it's the correct dosage.

    I use 4 tsp. per gallon for 3 days, then drop down to 2 tsp. per gallon for another 4 days.

    If I intend to keep it in their drinking water all the time, I use 1 tsp. per gallon of water.

  9. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    I believe it is the high calcium in the layer pellets that is more problematic rather than the protein percentage (unless you are giving a game or turkey layer?)The type of protein also plays a big role (some ppl give their birds fish and meat from the table or cat food/dogfood) ...only laying hens need layer formulation...chickens dietary needs also vary dependent upon their individual circumstances (not every backyard or field is the same) and age and breed...that having been said what I do for my roos is to put out a separte feeder of grower/finisher for the boys so they have an alternative to the layer pellets (which they avoid like the plague). When you are giving ACV the natural PH of your water plays a most decisive role in how much you use...ideally you should test this at least once if you suspect your water is either highly acidic or highly alkaline in order to determine the amount of ACV needed... I have a good article on this and when I find it I shall come back and edit the link into this post. (If the water is too acidic it will kill your birds...use with caution/precision when giving to chicks)
    Effects of Water Acidification on Broiler Performance
    Comments and Conclusions
    This research project found no significant improvement in average weights, feed conversion or water consumption when the drinking water pH was lowered to 3, 4 or 5. The results indicate that birds are very tolerant of a wide range of pH water. The findings that the crop pH was significantly lowered by reducing the water pH might explain why producers have reported that bird droppings become more firm when acidifiers are added to the water. The crop serves as a storage compartment for consumed particles.

    Nature designed the crop to store whole bugs and seeds, not the finely ground, easily digested feed utilized by broilers for efficient feed conversions. If the crop is full of feed and poor quality water is added, then there is an increased risk for the development of harmful bacterial and mold that could impact the rest of the digestive tract. However, research done in Alabama by Hardin and Roney (no date) found that a pH range of 4 was not favorable for bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella and Clostridium to grow and thrive.
    The current research indicates that it is possible to decrease the drinking water pH to a range that would lower the crop pH to almost 4, thus creating an environment that is hostile for undesirable microbes. However, given the diversity of drinking water sources it is a very good idea to measure the pH of the drinking water when using acidifiers at manufacturerÂ’s recommendations because the natural buffering capacity of water may result in reduced impact of the acidifier on pH. It may even be necessary to add more acidifier to the stock solution to achieve a lower drinking water pH.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2007

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