feeding oats?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ozark hen, Apr 25, 2007.

  1. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

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    I read somewhere on here about feeding oats but can't find it again. Can anyone help me on this? Something about slowing down the growth? I am probably not remembering this right.
     
  2. cookiesdaddy

    cookiesdaddy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm ... I just read about it this week in "Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens". Took me awhile to find the info again, on p. 115.

    Basically, you don't want your hens to grow too fast and start laying too soon, before their bodies are ready. The risks are fewer and smaller eggs, and a chance of "prolapse" (don't ask me what it is).

    So they recommend, at 8 weeks, to gradually add oats until you achieve a balance of 50/50 and continue to feed free choice. This measure reduces protein and slows growth. At 18 weeks, gradually reduce oats and switch to lay formula. Once they start laying eggs, switch completely to lay formula.

    Now ... all this is from the book. I'm a newbie myself and my chicks are only 4 weeks old. I haven't heard anything about this on BYC. Anyone cares to comment on this method?
     
  3. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

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    You got the information correct. The oats will delay laying (via protein deprivation) and allow the pullets to acheive a larger body size before onset of laying. This will normally increase longevity and decrease the chances of prolapse...too big egg exiting too small vent.
     
  4. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

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    Just make sure you get the lower protein oats, otherwise you won't delay the onset of laying.

    Andy
     
  5. mudhen

    mudhen confidently clueless

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    Whole oats, like for horses, is OK? [​IMG]
     
  6. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

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    Yes...whole oats will work. Just make sure they are a low protein variety (<10%) and you should be OK.

    Andy
     
  7. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

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    Thank you so much, I knew I had read that somewhere!! But my mind won't allow all this information to be retained at once. [​IMG] Thank you so much for the refresher and I will bookmark that page in Storey's now.
     
  8. cookiesdaddy

    cookiesdaddy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks MayberrySaint. Both feed stores that I've been to told me just to feed Chick Start Crumble up to laying, so I bought a 25 lbs bag. My chicks are 4 weeks old. So in another 4 weeks I start to mix in the oats? And how do I know which type is low in protein? One of the feed store sells oats but I do not know which type it is. I asked the lady there about mixing in oats and she did not know anything about it, so I doubt if she knows whether it's low protein or not. Can you buy low protein oats at the supermarket?
     
  9. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

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    More than likely, the oats are of the low protein variety. I don't think you can get them at the grocery store. The personnel at the feed store should be able to tell you what the protein level is...low protein varieties are 8 - 11%. I wouldn't start the mix 50/50 right at 8 weeks of age but follow a gradual increase maybe as follows:
    Week 1 - 80% starter 20% oats
    Week 2 - 70% starter 30% oats
    Week 3 - 60% starter 40% oats
    Week 4 - 50% starter 50% oats

    This would have the pullets on a 50/50 mix at 12 weeks of age until onset of laying and then go through the same gradual reduction with a layer/oats mix:
    Onset of Lay - 50% layer 50% oats
    Lay + 1 week - 60% layer 40% oats
    Lay + 2 weeks - 70% layer 30% oats
    Lay + 3 weeks - 80% layer 20% oats
    Lay + 4 weeks - 90% layer 10% oats
    Lay + 5 weeks - 100% layer

    Gradual changes in feed type will reduce stress on the birds and make the transition easier.

    Andy
     
  10. mom'sfolly

    mom'sfolly Overrun With Chickens

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    Wow, I love it when I learn something new. Time for me to get some oats. I feed my girls raw oatmeal, other than whole wheat spaghetti, it is their favorite snack.

    Karen
     

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