Feeding/maturity/and some other questions.....

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by BuffOrpington22, Dec 11, 2010.

  1. BuffOrpington22

    BuffOrpington22 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello all!!! I am a new member!!! So excited....
    I own chickens and have 32 hens and 1 rooster. I have been so confused on chicken maturity also feeding rations. Well you know how the books and how the internet says that hens will start laying around 5 months of age on most breeds. But when I raise my chicks I've been following the rules of raising chicks when it comes to heating lamps, feeding, watering, space, and litter. I know the basics for sure. But it seems something has been bugging me like I feel like I am doing something wrong but not quite sure what it is yet.
    Like when I raise my buff oprington and get them to about the age of 6 months and then I purchase a hen from another breeder which is the same age AND BREED it seems that my hens are smaller, shorter and they look a little well tiny in size compare to some other chicken raisers. Am I doing something wrong? Is it the feed? My chickens are usually have a few hours in confinement then in the afternoon they are foraging outside til it gets dark. I am well aware about some breeds maturing little later then others but is it the feed? Is there something I am doing wrong any suggestions would help. Should I be giving them vitamins in their feed. Or is there a feed that I can use for them to grow a little quicker. I don't get eggs from my hens til they reach a year old so I believe I am doing something wrong. -LANCE BAKER AZ
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    What are you feeding them? Free choice?
     
  3. BuffOrpington22

    BuffOrpington22 Out Of The Brooder

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    Basically Yes I've been feeding them free choice but their are some feed that I've been giving them which will hen scratch, Flock raiser but with this feed I have to travel 2 hours just to get it and cracked corn. But I should switch the feed or should I put some kind of supplement in their feed that you could recommend me. Thanks a lot.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Buff,

    Some of your management decissions will be function of where you are located. Include your location and if mountains include elevation. May help with other issues as well. More detail concerning feed(s) also helpful.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2010
  5. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    What type of feed have you been feeding free choice? What type of feed is available locally?
     
  6. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK I'll ask: Are you sure your chickens aren't bantams?
    Assuming they aren't and going by my current flock which is about a third again larger than yours, they should be going through 100lbs of a good grower/flock raiser in about 2.5 weeks to be gaining good size. It should be given free choice and be in front of them 24/7(granted they won't eat at night but unless you're getting up earlier than they are and going to bed later, they need to eat from the time they get off the roost until dark). I would also cut down on the grain and corn supplement as these should be more of a treat than a diet and are "empty" calories as far as growth is concerned. The use of these may keep them from eating a balanced diet that would promote growth. That being said I doubt very much that all my birds are the same size, I have at least one hen that is about twice the size of some of the others of the same age/breed so they, like people, are predisposed to smaller size and faster/slower growth rates. So what you are seeing is probably normal in a flock that size. A smaller group of chickens with more constant care may grow larger, faster but that doesn't mean they are better off or healthier.
     
  7. BuffOrpington22

    BuffOrpington22 Out Of The Brooder

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    To: centrarchid
    Well I am located in Arizona in the North part that is the elevation is about 6423 ft. I live up in the country area where we get tons of snow but this year no snow at all. There is really good vegetation out here and about the feed. Well what is ever available that can be purchase that's what I get. We don't have a feed store around here at all. I have to travel to Gallup New Mexico just to purchase feed and trust me they don't have many varieties of choices. Hen scratch is what I mainly feed them and Egg maker. I hope this helps.
     
  8. BuffOrpington22

    BuffOrpington22 Out Of The Brooder

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    2: woodmort
    I have bantams but they are full grown because I purchase them that way. I know bantams are miniature chickens which I am well aware of that. Thank you for the advise. I seem to have a better understanding. So if you don't mind me asking what kind of feed do you feed yours. Your chickens I mean. I need to make a trip to Winslow seems that's the only place they have good feed and the customer service are great there. But chickens are mix breeds but standards of course. I think it's really nice when you have mix breeds well for me that is because they have so many varieties and you just don't know what you'll get as in color and shape. Thanks
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:If birds are free range, then most days they are likely to obtain adequate nutrition with supplementation of scratch alone and egg production is low. The Egg maker covers you when forage quality declines. Some minerals picked up thru foraging might run high or low your area as a function of local geology. Need to ask local agricultural extension area about that. If birds have access to lots of consumable plant materials, most vitamins should be good as well. General rule of thumb I would follow when foraging is inhibited by snow is to bump up the percentage of Egg maker. Supplementing with alfalfa pellets (like used for horses, not rabbits) with low salt should fire up gut microbes to provide many energy related vitamins plus pigments for egg development


    Genetics could be a major factor influencing performance. I am seeing some pretty cool behavioral differences between dominique lines. To test for this, you will need to raise chicks of you flock and other breeder under similar conditions.


    Initially after posing altitude question, I thought it was silly. Some jungle fowl do come from higher / cooler elevations but domesticated chickens we work with in U.S. have not had to deal with such challenges for a long time which could be potential explaination for delayed egg production. Altittude certainly affects physiology and morphology of mammals (including humans) and may influence size of developing birds.
     
  10. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I feed Purina Flock Raiser with oyster shell on the side in a separate feeder for calcium for those laying. Scratch grain is basically grain and corn, most feed stores have it. I get my feed at Tractor Supply Corp (TSC). Also I toss some BOSS to the birds once a day when I'm working around them to keep them busy and out from underfoot. That's Black Oil Sunflower Seed and is available most places that sell birdfood--feed it in the shell is fine. Just don't overdue it on the scratch and BOSS, half a cup scattered on the floor of the coop is plenty--gives them some exercise and keep the litter fluffed up. I wouldn't expect bantams to eat as much and certainly they won't ever approach regular birds in body size.
     

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