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Feeding my 3 chickens (new at this)?

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

  1. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    it doesn't have to be measured just like for every 40 lb give them 4 lb of scraps I would say what you are giving is probably about 80%, it won't hurt them but when they are laying then they won't be as productive as birds that stick to the layer ration with no treats, but birds that get treats also lay darker yolks and are happier, so some are good but too much can't really hurt them but may make them less productive (and overweight which isn't god for them either), if you add soybean meal to their food(to boost protein) you can get away with feeding more scraps. The mineral grit is meant more of adults(if you post a picture of it we may be able to figure out what it is), you should be able to buy chick grit somewhere. My girls won't eat banana peels but they will eat the part we eat, and my girls will also eat all of the strawberry. As for the eggshells it is good to feed them back to the chickens after they have dried out, but you have to give them oyster shell to help them with calcium. as for the green peels you can give them all of the scraps but if they don't like it (or it isn't good for them) then they won't eat it.
     
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

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    Most all of my food waste goes to the chickens. Over the years, I've found most of my birds don't eat the following....

    Avocado peels
    citrus peels
    onion peels
    banana peels

    Those are the biggies. Potato and yam peels are kind of hit or miss. So, I started a worm bin for those scraps [​IMG]. Then the worms go to the chickens---they'll eat those peels eventually, I guess! They also don't eat rinds of melons, but they'll eat the fruit down so the rind is very, very thin.


    I have a very large run, so it acts as kind of a large compost area if the birds don't eat something. You don't have that option with a smaller run, so you'll just have to keep an eye on what they don't eat and clean it out as needed.

    I agree birds should have access to a good balanced feed, but I don't stress about how much scraps they get. I really try to minimize food waste, but I'm at the opposite end of the kid spectrum as you---I have three teenage boys. Not much goes to waste around here now, let me tell you! But, in canning season my birds get a lot of veggie trimmings, pulp, things like that--way, way more than 10% at times. Some days there's nothing.

    My feeling is, if the food you're giving your kiddos is good healthy food, it's fine for the birds to eat. It wouldn't kill your birds to eat pretty much what your kiddos do. The biggest thing is the birds having enough protein for egg production, and that's where the scraps can be detrimental. I do feed my birds meat, including chicken, but that's your call. Once your birds start laying, if they're not averaging say 4 eggs a week for those Giants and 5 for the sex link, you'll probably want to look into cutting back the non-protein scraps, to even out their overall percentage.

    I never cut food up for my birds. Those beaks are pretty powerful. I throw turkey carcasses, etc in the run and they strip them bare. Grapes or grape tomatoes go down whole. Chickens are omnivores and will happily eat mice, small snakes or frogs, things like that, and they just gulp them down. I've never had a bird choke. Whole apples can go in, they peck and tear pieces out. Same for raw cabbage, they'll tear it up themselves.

    Welcome to the chicken world! And what a good idea, turning your food scraps into healthy, delicious eggs [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Quote: 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%.
    Most of todays chickens aren't what people had when they were kids.
    If your chickens are hatchery type fowl they are bred for on of two thing in mind one (1) egg laying or two (2) producing meat.
    Either way there diet is important, improper diet leads to health problems, shorter life span, poor or meat egg production etc.
    Feed them properly and you'll have all around better birds.

    Quote: 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
    .Ok, first and far most,
    Take what you read on that, "treat chart" and forget it.
    Second don't refer back to it again.
    That, "chicken chart" is just someone's post on a forum. To me it looks like someone read some information online somewhere thought it sounded good and reposted it, never taking the time to truly research it.. There is no truth to over half of what is on that chart.

    Example -
    Rice can be fed to chickens cooked OR uncooked. There are a number of feeds including chicken and pigeon feed that contains raw (uncooked rice)
    Grits can be fed cooked OR uncooked. Grits is ground corn, a average chicken feed contains around 60% ground corn in it and it was never cooked.
    Potatoes they stated on the chart was starchy and not much nutrition. Potatoes are feed to livestock because they are relatively high in feed value.
    Potatoes have proteins that are easy to digest and utilize, carbohydrates, amino acids, high amount of potassium just to name a few things.

    Quote: 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.]
    Egg shells are ok to feed them but you are going to still have to offer them oyster shells.
    Egg shell contain the incorrect type of calcium size for good strong shells.

    As for feeding the banana peels,,, I would pitch them in the compost or trash.
    Your chickens might pick at them a bit but there not going to eat them.
     
    2 people like this.
  4. enigma9o7

    enigma9o7 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks a lot. I've got the food scraps sorted. And sure enough, onion is certainly a vegetable I don't eat the peels from myself I hadn't thought of.

    Basically I now understand the feed to use no problem there. Will supplement with oyster shells until I switch to layer food when they start laying eggs (6 months old or so?).

    Regarding the kitchen scraps, understand too. I'll basically continue what I was doing with a few additions. All the food people eat will continue, which includes fresh citrus and cooked vegetable peels. Plus I'll throw in eggshells and strawberry/carrot/cauliflower/etc leaves. All the other stuff I normally throw away I'll keep throwing away, i.e. peels from uncooked potato, sweet potato, onion, avocado and fruit (banana/orange/kiwi/melon/etc).

    I will take a pic of the grit as a followup when I get a chance, as I'm still not 100% on that and want to be sure they're getting the right stuff since they do eat a lot of kitchen scraps. (They still eat feed tho, the feeder is almost empty now so I'll put that flock feed in it soon). I half filled a small feeder with the mineral grit, and then topped it off with the pet bird gravel & grit I bought at the supermarket, and have been continually topping it off since then - I just finished the box of pet bird grid today so soon they'll get thru that and to the pure mineral grit in the bottom and I'll start topping it off with that, unless I'm told something else is better.

    On another note, I had to put screens on my living room window and patio door. Chickens started coming inside! And I'm half way thru putting up a fence to our veggie garden. Installed solar lighting in their coop to try to attract them at night (but they still seem to like me picking them up and putting them in one-by-one every night). All these extra things I hadn't anticipated.
     
  5. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Another thing to anticipate is your coop is too small for Jersey giants.
     
  6. enigma9o7

    enigma9o7 Out Of The Brooder

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    Y'know I had that worry based on responses from my first thread (this thread is my second). I was considering eating/trading the biggest one to solve it. I posted in the NorCal area seeing if anyone wanted to trade me for a smaller variety, and basically what I interpreted from the responses is that jersey giants from the local feed store are unlikely to actually be giant, in fact they may grow slower than other varieties, stuff like that, encouraging me to stick with these and see how it goes before drastic measures.

    So I'm going to see how the coop works out for these. I put a 3½" wide board on one of the roosting bars so they are more comfortable than the stock 2" bar. I bought a whole saw so I could put a solar powered light in the coop, so it comes on at dusk at lights it up, plus now I can peer thru the window of the coop at night, and the times I've checked a couple hours after I throw them in there, all three are always huddled together with plenty of open space. Plus I see their poop in the morning and it's always all together, they're not even spreading out at all, so at least so far they seem comfortable and don't need more space. But yeah they're only 2 months old, I dunno anything about how fast chickens grow, if they continue at this rate they'll be bigger than me next year ;)

    I wish I knew how people get them to go back to the coop by themselves at night. For three birds it's no big deal carrying them over, but what about people with ten or twenty, they can't be hand-carrying each and every one to the coop at night, which I'm currently doing after dark. I most often find them somewhere against the side of the house all piled up together, whereas their coop is in the back corner of the yard...
     
  7. enigma9o7

    enigma9o7 Out Of The Brooder

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    On an unrelated note, today they somehow figured out how to get under the side fence to the neighbors yard. So to discourage that, I opened up my back fence, which behind us is a big open field full of tall grass and wood chips, with the hope they're old enough to know to come back later (and if one doesn't, coop size problem solved!). They won't go explore! I don't get it. I picked them up and put them just barely outside twice, they just come back to our yard. Maybe they're nervous, in a few days they probably go everywhere... I'm going to search online if there's some type of 'chicken door' or something I can permanently install in the fence so I can put back those two fence boards I took down to let them "free-range". Do such things exist, or should I just cut an open hole in the fence?
     
  8. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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  9. enigma9o7

    enigma9o7 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks. The back fence I'm going to open somehow for the chickens is a tall privacy fence with horizontal 6" wide boards. Behind my back yard and everyone on my street is a non-maintained field currently filled with patches of tall grass/weeds and patches of wood chips the city must have put there years ago, with a paved trail about 100yards parallel to my back fence with park benches every so often. As viewed from the trail, my back fence and all my neighbors all look the exact same, looks just like one big long fence forever, probably installed when the subdivision was built 50+ years ago. I'm thinking of letting my chickens free-range back there if they want to enough to crawl thru a 12" wide opening. Considering they squeeze into our garden somehow even tho I've put up temporary fencing (and working on a permanent solution) I think they will go for it. Although the city I live in limits us to 6 hens per house, I don't think there are leash-laws for anything besides dogs (as I see cats wandering around freely, including one I scared away when I saw it eating kitchen scraps I left in the chicken run) although maybe I should put a collar or something on the chickens, will they even wear some type of collar, does anybody who lives in a residential area of a city put collars on their chickens? The thought only crossed my mind as I was typing this.

    I googled pop door and looks simple enough to build, but seems like that's more for when one needs a sealed door, to keep wind/predators from getting in. In my case a hinge would work fine if I wanted something to open and close, and cutting the boards and putting a hinge would allow it to look "original" at a slight distance if ever closed, so I think if I want to be able to open/close it, I'll just buy a couple hinges and hooks to fold a couple boards up, cut about a foot of height...

    However I'm wondering if there's something something I don't have to open and close but still offers privacy. I keep trying to encourage my wife to sunbathe nude in the back yard, and a 1 ft² hole in the fence would ruin that fun :) Can Chickens push thru doggy doors or something similar? I'd imagine to teach the chickens that it is worth going thru there, I could leave it wide open a couple weeks first or something.... As to things getting in, small things (mice/rats/snakes/whatever) can still get under the fence now, and bigger things (squirrels/possums/cats) already get in over the fence, plus flying things has no affect, so I don't think anything that wants into the yard can't get in already anyway, it's just my chickens (and my kids) that can't get out now.

    I realize I'm getting off topic of feeding so maybe should ask this question in a new thread... but yeah I wanna know if doggy doors or anything like that are usable by chickens... and if they'll wear collars?
     
  10. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Why let them out to wander? You will lose them to predators and dogs in no time. Keep them in your yard.
     

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