Feeding my chickens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Alzang, Jun 16, 2019.

  1. Alzang

    Alzang In the Brooder

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    I’m a first time chicken mom. My chickens are about 3 1/2 months old. They are growing and doing well. I’ve watched a lot of videos about feeding them scraps and greens, phasing out commercial feed. Every day they get salad greens that I get from the food bank. I also feed them kitchen scraps. I cooked up some turkey bones, separated the meat and cooked with rice. Is that wrong? They don’t eat as much chicken feed when they have the extra. I want them to be healthy. Thank you.
     
    Susan Dye likes this.
  2. Thyme4Chickens

    Thyme4Chickens Songster

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    Hi! There's a good article about feeding here, with lots of links to discussions on scraps/homemade feeds/etc, have you seen it?: https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/feeding-chickens-an-introductory-guide.67139/

    How important is egg production to you? We've chosen to stick to free-choice commercial feed (with time on the grass whenever seasonable) for our flock because our priority is egg production, and the ratios/nutrients in the "flock raiser" we feed keeps egg production high.

    [If the cost of commercial feed is a factor - We made aart's no waste feeder (https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/aarts-waste-free-funnel-bucket-feeder.67218/) and it works a charm! Also, I know lots of folks ferment feed to cut down on waste.]
     
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

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    Welcome! Modern birds are generally larger and produce many times more eggs per year than 'old time' or wild birds, and need a balanced diet to do well. It's possible to 'do it yourself' but much more expensive and difficult to balance it correctly.
    Adding some extras is fine, but the bas diet (90%) should be a balanced ration.
    We all like goodies! It's not the same as balanced though.
    Mary
     
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  4. Alzang

    Alzang In the Brooder

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    Can I give them salad greens and fruit?
     
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  5. Alzang

    Alzang In the Brooder

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    My chicken run is only 12’ x 12’. If I gave them nothing but commercial feed and water they would have nothing else to eat. The run is just dirt. That’s why I was giving them greens and fruit. This is all so confusing to me.
     
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  6. EggWalrus

    EggWalrus Crowing

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    Sure, but I wouldn't give them more than 10% of their diet as treats.
     
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  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

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    You could add deep bedding to your dirt run; shavings, weeds, grass clippings, leaves, to make a nice place for them to dig around for worms and bugs. Dirt will get nasty if that's all there is.
    Greens and fruit are fine, but chickens are omnivores, needing the right balance of nutrients to do well. Some goodies, yes, but mostly that balanced grower or all flock ration, with oyster shell separately when the pullets start laying eggs.
    Mary
     
  8. EggWalrus

    EggWalrus Crowing

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    They will do great on a balance commercial feed. It's about all they really need. But if your want to treat them to a little something special, it won't hurt as long as its not more than about 10% of their whole diet.
    Since they are cooped up, you could make a cabbage piñata to treat them and exercise them too. Just hang a whole cabbage on a rope or cord, just above their heads so they have to jump a few inches to get at it. They love it!
    As long as their store bought feeder stays full, you can safely give them a good bit of fruit and veggies without them becoming malnutritioned.
     
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  9. Alzang

    Alzang In the Brooder

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    I have watched YouTube videos from Justin Rhodes and Edible Acres. They feed their chickens lots of extra greens and restaurant food. That’s why I thought it was ok.
     
  10. Thyme4Chickens

    Thyme4Chickens Songster

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    Hang in there! This is just my second year with chickens, and there is soooo much information. That's why I love reading this forum - folks are so willing to listen to the specifics of your situation and offer their advice!

    Yes! We are working on building up deep litter in the run. Dry aged wood chips and dried leaves, mostly. Our chickens adore it! Even with access to grass, they will alternate between grass and scratching through the deep litter. We also put it some chunks/stumps from a tree we had taken down - periodically we flip them over and the chickens go crazy for all the bugs underneath!
     

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