Feeding Roosters

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by mustangsaguaro, Feb 15, 2008.

  1. mustangsaguaro

    mustangsaguaro Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have all hens and one rooster. Does the rooster need to eat something different than the hens. If so what? All my chickens free range during the day. I do have layer pellets out and I know he eats those. But I have heard the calcium in layer pellets is too much for roosters.

    Kim
     
  2. barngodess

    barngodess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Does anyone know where I can purchase good organic poultry feeds?
     
  3. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    Thank you for asking this question.

    I have free choice for my roo a wild game bird maintenance feed, which does not have all the calcium that layer food has. Some parts of the country seem to have food made specifically for roos but I haven't found any in my neck of the woods. In fact, my feed stores are actually clueless about roo diets - one said to feed them scratch (in the mid 90s when 2 roos showed up in my yard and I had never had chickens before I believed this advice and that's what I fed them - luckily they also free ranged and I found them homes in 4 months, hopefully before too much damage could be done). Other stores say to feed them layer food. Advice I've seen given on BYC time and again is that roos should not have as their primary diet the high levels of calcium in layer food.

    My roo and his hen friend (who always has layer and oyster shell free choice) also receive some sunflower and bird seed mixtures, fresh fruits and veggies, a little scratch, and when cold, something warm like oatmeal and scrambled egg (only because they won't eat oatmeal plain!), warmed butternut squash...or a bit of high quality grain bread but not too much because salt may be on the high side.

    They also get Avia Charge 2000 in their water to help in case the ratios of things are not quite perfect. They also free range some of the time and eat whatever plants and bugs they wish.

    My roo was in another's care for some months last year and while the promise of the above-noted diet was made, they reneged and he was only offered layer food. There is some belief that he made have sustained some kidney damage from excess calcium and his feet seem to hurt him sometimes. Some think he might have gout from kidney trouble and so I've been feeding him some black cherries to try to help with that. He does seem to get some relief. He was at this other place for maybe 9 months so hopefully didn't get too much damage but I'm just not sure yet.

    JJ
     
  4. mustangsaguaro

    mustangsaguaro Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My problem is. I want my chickens to be as organic as possible. In otherwords the layer food I feed is certified organic. Now, trying to find a organic feed for roos is kind of difficult. I am pretty picky about ingredients. There is a place where I live that does mix there own feed for chicks, laying hens, and roos. However, I did find out that the grains they do use herbicides and pesticides have been sprayed on them, which I refuse to use.
     
  5. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

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    I feed everyone general poultry feed. I have oyster shell out and anyone can eat it as they wish.
     
  6. McGoo

    McGoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    I too, feed organic to all of my chickens, including the roo. I have a separate dish with oyster shells and the gals dip into that. I've never seen my roo nibbling in there.
     
  7. Churkenduse

    Churkenduse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My question would be, how would you keep the Roos from eating the hens food if you give them different feed? [​IMG]
     
  8. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    Odds are that they will know what to choose. And if the hen chooses some 'roo food" (in my case game bird maintenance feed), she'll know to eat some extra calcium (oyster shell of whatever) and will get what she needs. So far I haven't had any problems - her eggs are perfect and both are bright eyed and bushy tailed, other than hating winter!
    JJ
     
  9. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:Wish they had this in my neck of the woods - I buy a 50 pound bag of layer and a 50 pound bag of wild game bird maintenance. These are the smallest sizes and I only have 1 roo and 1 hen!

    Who makes your general poultry feed? Maybe I can special order it...Thanks!!!!!!!
    JJ
     
  10. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I took some time to try to find information on calcium content in layer and breeder rations and how that may effect roosters. My response to Chickemee on the same question earlier today was really made too casually.

    There's no question that calcium is significantly higher in layer/breeder than in feed for younger birds. And, a too high calcium diet for chicks is a real no-no. That excess calcium in layer/breeder feeds interferes with the growth of young birds and can cause kidney dysfunction.

    Layer feed has about 3 times the calcium as does a broiler feed. Breeder ration is essentially the same as a laying ration in calcium. A higher vitamin and protein content is what sets it apart from what is commonly given hens kept for egg production. (It should be noted that the cooperative extension folks don't always advise the keepers of small flocks to bother with feeding breeder rations even if that is the purpose of the birds. The higher costs and bother in finding these feeds isn't always considered worthwhile.)

    On the subject of excess calcium for the roosters - here's what a poultry science specialist writing for the Ministry of Agriculture, Ontario has to say: "It is also interesting to realize that most roosters today are fed high-calcium breeder diets, which provide 4-6x their calcium needs, yet kidney dysfunction is quite rare in these birds."

    Steve
     

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