feeding question from a newbie

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by LouieLouie, Mar 11, 2017.

  1. LouieLouie

    LouieLouie Just Hatched

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    Mar 6, 2017
    Ashe County, NC
    We've got a flock of 9 and I'm wondering if I'm feeding them correctly. We're feeding Layena (recommended by TSC) and corn scratch. I keep the feeder full of the layer crumbles and throw out 1 C of scratch 2x/day as well as occasional treats. Am I doing ok? Should I be doing anything different?
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Are they laying eggs? How old are they? Commonly feed stores say to switch to layer feed too soon. It shouldn't be used until point of lay or start of lay- your first egg.
     
  3. LouieLouie

    LouieLouie Just Hatched

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    Mar 6, 2017
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    They're all adult and some are laying. I've been getting 1 lg white, 1 med pink/brown and 1 sm white pretty much every day.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2017
  4. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Chicken Obsessed

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    That seems like a lot of corn. Treats should be limited. To many treats dilutes the protein ratio.

    For my own hens I limit them to 1/8 cup or less per hen per day. So for 9 hens I would give only a little over one cup once a day.
    I have 21 hens and put out 2 and 1/2 cups in the mornings.

    The scratch I use is not just one ingredient but has at least 5 grains in it. Corn is a very low grade filler with MAYBE 9% protein.

    If giving other treats then skipping any loose grains those days would be a good idea.
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    That's a lot of corn. A hen at most would eat about .25# of feed/day. That's 2.25# of feed. You are giving about 1# of corn. So if they are eating that 1# of corn, they most likely are eating only 1.25# of feed. So, they are getting high fat, low protein that is making up almost 1/2 of their diet.
     
  6. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    I agree, you are giving them too much scratch. The layer crumbles themselves are formulated to give them everything they need to be healthy. The corn is a treat that they don't need and unlike veggies meat etc, which gives them a vitamin or protein boost, the scratch doesn't really benefit their diet, so it is purely a treat. You not only dilute their protein intake by giving them so much scratch but also their calcium unless you also offer oyster shell in a separate container. Their current diet could lead to them becoming fat/obese with it's associated health issues and also possible laying issues due to lack of calcium.
    I would cut it back to no more than half a cup of scratch a day. I give my layer flock of 14 hens/pullets about a cup of soaked/fermented scratch which has usually swelled to nearly twice it's dry volume, so effectively half a cup of dry grains between 14 of them once a day and I worry that even that is a bit too much. I butchered hens for my neighbour that had been given a roughly 50% mixed corn : layer pellets ratio diet and I was shocked to find their organs encased in solid yellow fat deposits. They were all poor layers which is why he wanted rid of them. I have been much more strict with the treats dished out to my girls since then, but they have free access to layer pellets throughout the day.

    Best wishes

    Barbara

    PS. You may find that there is less waste by using pelleted feed rather than crumbles and/or fermenting some of their crumbles/pellets and giving them that as a treat instead of the scratch. It's surprising how they get all excited by a pan of fermented feed when they pretty much ignore their regular feed. It's a very simple process and provides beneficial enzymes for their gut, so improving digestion.
     
  7. LouieLouie

    LouieLouie Just Hatched

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    Mar 6, 2017
    Ashe County, NC
    Thank you, Barbara. This is very informative. I'll cut back on scratch and research fermented feed!
     
  8. LouieLouie

    LouieLouie Just Hatched

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    Mar 6, 2017
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    Thank you! I assumed the more I fed, the better they would lay. Yep, total newbie mistake. :)
     
  9. LouieLouie

    LouieLouie Just Hatched

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    Mar 6, 2017
    Ashe County, NC
    Thank you! I appreciate all the replies. :)
     

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