Feeding my 3 chickens (new at this)?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by enigma9o7, Apr 1, 2016.

  1. enigma9o7

    enigma9o7 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have absolutely no experience with chickens, and my wife recalls having some as a young kid but not much details. We picked up 3 chicks, two Black Jersey Giants born Feb 11th and one Black Sex Link born Feb 18th. The store recommended a 20 pound bag of purina starter feed, so we bought that.

    We also have little girls almost 2 years old who throw more food on the floor than they eat (at least it seems that way). So when the chicks were around 5 weeks old we started giving them our kids leftovers, mainly stuff like boiled vegetables, whole grain rice/cerals/breads, and occasionally meat or eggs. I bought some pet bird grit/gravel at the supermarket and gave them that too.

    Now that they're bigger, I hung a feeder in their run and dumped the last of the starter feed in there. So here come the questions:

    What is the next food I should use? I bought a 50 pound bag of Purina "Flock Raiser Crumbles" , before I open it I want confirmation that's the right stuff?

    What is the next grit I should use? The first feed store I went to didn't have grit at all, the next one had two types in bulk (fill your own bag), one called pigeon grit and one called mineral grit. I bought the mineral grit.... it's very tiny pebbles and a few flakes, as opposed to sand like the pet-bird stuff... is that the right stuff?

    Regarding leaving a feeder hanging, does it matter if it gets wet? Will that affect the food or anything else? I'm wondering if I should move it to under the coop where it won't get rained on, although more awkward to hang and fill...

    Regarding feeding the chickens kitchen scraps. As mentioned, right now we're just giving them the food my girls throw on the floor, but I wonder if they eat kitchen scraps that people don't normally eat like fruit peels (banana/orange/kiwi/etc) and the leaves from strawberries, etc. And if yes, do I need to cut them up?

    Thanks much!

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  2. XxMingirlxX

    XxMingirlxX Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do not give the vegetable or citrus peels, they are poisonous to chickens.
     
  3. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Flock Raiser is an excellent choice - I feed Flock Raiser (or other grower ration depending on what store I happen to be at when I pick up feed) to all of my birds from day one to the last day they are in my flock -- it eliminates having to worry about who should have what feed (layer ration is not recommended for male birds, birds younger than laying age, birds older than laying age, etc). Once they reach laying age simply add free-choice oyster shell in a dish in their coop to provide the calcium they need to produce and lay eggs.
     
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  4. enigma9o7

    enigma9o7 Out Of The Brooder

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    Wow if that's right, I'm lucky they're not dead already. I leave the peels on potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc, and fed them those leftovers multiple times and they're still alive. Is it a particular vegetable you mean? I can't think of any vegetable I peel actually, we leave peels on all our veggies that I can think of.

    But fruit is another story. The only fruit with a peel I can think of we eat is apples. I guess I won't give them the orange peels, but how bout banana/kiwi or even avacado? And if so, do I need to cut them up, or throw the whole banana peel no problem? We eat several bananas every day so have plenty of peels if they're okay for the chickens...

    Additionally what would be awesome would be a list of all people-food that is poisonous to chickens, if there is such a list...
     
  5. enigma9o7

    enigma9o7 Out Of The Brooder

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    Awesome. Thanks. Will open the bag as soon as they finish this starter stuff, if they ever do. They get so many kitchen scraps they've pretty much stopped eating the feed.

    I'm still wondering if its okay if the feed gets wet (rain, yard sprinklers,etc). I went to a couple feed stores today and saw they had feeders with lids for the top, maybe to prevent water getting in there?
     
  6. Soccerklan

    Soccerklan Out Of The Brooder

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    You don't want their food container to get wet, the food will get soggy and spoil.
     
  7. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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  8. threescompany

    threescompany Chillin' With My Peeps

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  9. enigma9o7

    enigma9o7 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks so much. I really appreciate the responses.

    So I'll figure out something to keep their feed dry. They are eating some of it, as I've seen it go down a couple inches in the feeder since I filled it. Still haven't opened the new bag but will do that when this gets low, probably re-locate it too.

    As to only 10% scraps, my wife insists when she was a kid they never fed their chickens any feed at all, just rice & scraps, and let them scrounge the neighborhood, and they were supposedly fine. Of course when I ask what happened to them she can't remember ever eating them or them dieing, so who knows. Anyways we'll see how they do, one of the reasons we got them was for something useful to do with the good food my kids waste. I'd say the three chickens are getting about about a full 1 quart container per day of scraps, dunno what percentage of their diet that equates to tho, but probably more than 10%.

    I still wonder if "mineral grit" is the right grit for adults. Right now I mixed that with the petbird gravel&grit (which is fine sand, whereas the mineral grit is tiny pebbles and a few flakes). I can take photos of this stuff if that helps, but I wanna make sure I have the right stuff available to them if they need it. There's another feed store in my general area I haven't yet checked out, maybe they have something specifically for chickens if this isn't the best stuff...

    I now understand I'm not going to feed them any more citrus, or avacado peels, but how about banana peels or strawberry leaves? That Treat Chart I was linked to said banana without peels, so I assume no. But if yes, do I need to cut up the banana peel, or just throw the whole peel in there? [So far all the scraps we've given the chickens are already cut up since it's whatever my my 23mo old kids throw on the floor, but if there's more they'll eat, happy to give it to them too.] I like what that chart said for cooked chicken "They may like it and it won’t kill them, but it just seems so….. ummm………… wrong." I had the same thought as I was bringing out some waste chicken pasta alfredo last night.

    I didn't see it on the chart, but I think I read somewhere else it's actually good to feed them eggshells, especially once they start laying, is that right? [I plan to offer free choice eggshells or switch to layer feed when they start laying.]

    Plus still wondering about the vegetable peel thing, as I mentioned they vegetables they get all have peels on them... that chart said cooked only, avoid green parts of peels. I dont know if that means one or the other - does it mean if they're cooked, no problems, but if they're raw avoid the green parts, or always avoid the green parts? Anyways don't recall any green peels on sweet potoatoes anyway.
     
  10. Soccerklan

    Soccerklan Out Of The Brooder

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    May 2, 2015
    Grass Valley, Ca.
    I'm not an expert, only had chickens for 1 year, but I do know what has been working for me so far. My chickies free range most days in my large yard and eat whatever bugs and plants they can find and I keep their feeder full in the coop with layer feed (since they are all laying) which they have access to at any time. We also feed them a "treat" every day, or multiple times a day depending on what we've got. For treats they could get mealworms, scratch, or cackleberries (bought at tractor supply and definetely their FAVORITE treat), or they get fresh stuff like fruits and veggies, and/or they get leftovers from the kitchen. We were told the only things you can't feed them (other than sugary candy and chocolate) is avocado and citrus rinds (so we don't even feed them the fruit at all) and raw potatoes but cooked is fine. As for other skins, I was told that if we can eat it then they can eat it (other than the above mentioned).

    As for the only 10% treat ratio, I don't measure it out but I go on the same theory I do when feeding my kids and try to keep things balanced so if yesterday they had pasta with meat and sauce, then today I'll give them a head of cauliflower. And yes, I give them the whole head (not cut or anything) and they eat the whole things leaves and all.

    On your question about banana peels, I've always peeled them before giving them to my girls, but maybe someone else knows if they can eat them. I do feed whole strawberries, top leaves and all and they like them too.

    Eggshells are good for them too. I cook up some eggs for them every few days and include a shell or two mixed in with it for them. I don't give them grit or oyster shell separately but that's because they roam free and I'm sure they eat plenty of dirt etc throughout the day.

    Hope that helps :)
     

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