Feeding OLD Chickens & Opinions on the Scratch And Peck Feeds Company?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by apt403, Jun 22, 2015.

  1. apt403

    apt403 New Egg

    Jun 22, 2015
    Hi everyone,

    First post, I'm not finding any definite answers online, so I figured I best defer to the opinion of those with much more experience:

    About 8 months ago, a co-worker of mine was going through some life changes and had to get rid of his chickens. My partner and I raise Bobwhite Quail, and decided getting some chickens wouldn't be a bad idea. So we brought home 2 Araucana sisters, some variety of bantam, a Chocolate Maran, and an unidentified rooster.

    Other than the bantam (she has TWELVE, four week old chicks right now), the hens are pretty far past being productive. We get maybe 1-2 eggs per week from each of them. Not really a concern, we primarily took them into our care to save them from the stew pot and watch them free range around the yard (5 acres, but they stay pretty close). The chicks we're planning on keeping as layers once we can positively sex them.

    Between grower, layer, and broiler feed, which would you choose as a "maintenance diet" for 5-6 year old chickens that don't produce many eggs anymore? I'm thinking of switching them to an organic whole grain feed, but I'm not sure which blend is best for their well being.

    We're feeding the adults a pelleted layer diet right now, along with whatever they can find in the fields/wooded areas around our house (and a Washington summer means A LOT of bugs). I found a company called Scratch and Peck Feeds that seems to offer some decent products, and they're local to us.

    I'm leaning towards the grower at the moment, since we'll need it next month when we transition the chicks of starter feed. But ultimately, it's 4 chickens, so a bag of anything is going to last for a while.

    By the way - Never having had chickens before, it's REALLY COOL to be able to sit down in the grass and have the hens run over and eat scratch grain out of your hand.
  2. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA
    I'm not sure how elderly chicken's diet needs might be different, but I think you should be fine with the grower. We also use scratch n peck feeds and they are very high quality. You will also want to put a side dish out with crushed oyster shells in it and keep the dish always available. The hens will eat a very small amount of the oyster shells for calcium for producing egg shells. I wouldn't suggest feeding layer feed because it is probably too much calcium for the number of eggs your hens produce.
  3. chiques chicks

    chiques chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    The grower won't hurt the older birds, it is higher protein without calcium. The chicks will need it,

    At 5-6 years old, they are probably nearing the end of their life span. It's great you are giving them a good life and enjoying them.
  4. apt403

    apt403 New Egg

    Jun 22, 2015
    Thanks for the advice - That's a good point about the calcium content in the layer. We've got oyster shells for the quail, I'll put a dish out when we switch them over.

    Glad to hear Scratch and Peck is what it appears to be. I started researching whole grain feeds by looking into mixing my own - Doesn't seem to be cost effective until I get into unreasonable quantities for such a small flock.

    They are getting up there - The pleasure we get from watching them go about their days is more than enough to compensate for the cost of feed. My partner and I refer to them as 'lovestock'. They've produced a lot throughout the years. Their biggest problems at this point should be the sun moving off their favorite dust bathing spot and being frustrated they can't find more dried cranberries in the scratch we throw out for them.

    On the other hand, I am kinda looking forward to finding out how many roosters end up with out of twelve chicks. The culinary possibilities are enticing.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2015
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome! Sounds like you are doing great. Mary
  6. apt403

    apt403 New Egg

    Jun 22, 2015
    Picked up a 40 pound bag of Scratch and Peck grower today, and they're gobbling it up. Even the babies ran over and started munching. I might move the feeders a bit farther out from where mom and her chicks hang out most of the day, I want them to keep eating the higher protein starter until they get older. Everyone got mango today - Not sure how they managed it, but all the pits disappeared.

    Next step is building a bigger coop! Our current coop is about 50 square feet, but the layout is poor when it comes to nest boxes and roosting. Aiming for around 80 square feet this time. I'm considering adding an equally sized, completely enclosed run for them so I have some leeway with when I let them out into the world each day. Sunrise is at 5:17 AM right now, a bit too early for me to be running around outside.

    Thanks for the advice everyone!
  7. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    My Coop
    Scratch and Peck grower is what I feed my birds and they're enormous and have beautiful feathers. Last trip they were out of grower and I had to buy layer. I was happy to discover that layer just has large pieces of oyster shell mixed in so it's still sort of "free choice" and unlikely to harm my cockerel or chicks.
  8. Leigti

    Leigti Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 22, 2015
    Walla Walla WA
    I did not know that the scratch and peck layer formula has Oystershell already in it. I've only use this food for a couple months but my chicken seem to like it I have to order it off Amazon because none of the stores around here Carry it.

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