Feeding Wheat to Laying Hens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by rapunzil, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. rapunzil

    rapunzil Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 17, 2009
    Kendall Park, NJ
    I have learned that wheat will enhance the color of yolks. I have a source for buying wheat to add to my flock's diet, but have no idea how much I should feed. Can anyone advise? I have 45 birds.

    Thank you!
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    We mixed in wheat and ground barely for the chickens when I was a kid. They did a great job laying.

    Wish I could remember the percentages... sorry.
  3. biomistake

    biomistake Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2009
  4. Organics North

    Organics North Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 30, 2009
    Wisconsin Northwoods
    My birds diet contains 20% hard red winter wheat. This wheat has about 17% protein. Which is about you want to be. Me personally like diversity.. So I would say to not feed more than 20% wheat. I can not remember the links to studies I have read, but their have been studies on higher wheat diets and the effects on birds. I think some were up to 50% wheat. But again IMO diversity is key.
    For yolk color I feel alfalfa is good if they do not get to pasture or free range. (Or in winter)
  5. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Quote from Poultry Foods and Feeding...

    Wheat -
    I have always regarded wheat as the best
    staple grain food for poultry. In many countries maize
    (corn), rye, oats, and barley are chiefly used, as they
    are often cheaper than wheat. The value of wheat,
    however, is now more generally recognized, and, where
    egg production is the main object, it is undoubtedly of
    first importance.
    There are two main classes of wheat : the hard wheats
    with high nitrogen content, and the soft, starchy grains,
    generally a third lower in nitrogen. This point has not
    been discussed in any book on stock feeding which I
    have seen, and yet it is of manifest importance. A
    hard wheat with a gluten content of from 12 to 16%
    is a better flesh former and egg producer than is a soft,
    starchy wheat averaging from 8 to 10% and in many
    cases as low as 7% gluten.
    When wheat and its mill products, such as bran,
    pollard, and wheatmeal, form the main food of poultry,
    it is important to know its chemical composition. Tables
    such as are usually published can only serve as a very
    general guide ; what is required is accurate information
    as to local conditions and foods.
    Wheat is low in fat, compared with some other grains
    and seeds, and it is necessary to make up this deficiency.
    It is within the experience of most feeders that when
    laying fowls have been fed for a long period on an exclusive
    diet of wheat and its mill products, great benefit
    results, together with increased egg production, on
    a change to, or large addition to the food of, maize,
    which has a high fat content. This change is due to the
    more natural and more complete metabolism, owing to
    the restoration of the " fat " balance."'
    The carbohydrate content of wheat varies in proportion
    to the percentage of starch in the grain—soft wheats have
    a higher starch content than have the hard varieties.
    A rough-and-ready method of testing a wheat kernel
    is by biting or cutting it in half. If the grain is starchy
    the interior of the kernel will be soft, white and floury,
    while if of high gluten content the fracture will be short
    and the outer layers greyish crystalline, and the flour
    area comparatively small.
    The fiber content of wheat is low, and, as regards
    poultry feeding, may be treated as of comparatively
    little importance compared with such grains as barley
    and oats. The water content varies according to climate,
    and may in a dry climate average 10%, and in a moist
    climate up to 15 %, or more.

  6. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Most recipes I have seen for grain mixes for poultry feed are for very large quantities (500 lb ot this and 100 lb of that, etc.). Would sure be nice to find a recipe for the amount to make 50-100 lb at a time rather than half a ton or more.
  7. Organics North

    Organics North Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 30, 2009
    Wisconsin Northwoods
    Quote:Look at my byc page. I am working on putting what I currently feed down. The recipe is in parts instead of pounds, so you can scale it.

    I also dry grind the whole thing and offer that 24x7.
    Been feeding it for about 6 months. Birds seem quite healthy.
    I think I must have spent 100's of hours on research.. I welcome any input from folks who try it or see holes in the formula....[​IMG]

    I will admit it is a pain.. Sure would be nice to just open a bag... On the plus side I save money. (Buy many ingredients in bulk once a year.) Also.....Creating "designer eggs" is fun and differentiates my product, and lets me follow my "idealisms" [​IMG] [​IMG]

    1 person likes this.
  8. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    Quote:You can always divide the recipe amounts by 2000 (most recipes I've seen make a ton) and then multiply the % of each ingredient times 100 lbs. to get the ratio for a 100 lb. batch. 600 lbs. of corn in a 2000 lb recipe is 30%, so .30 times 100 equal 30 lbs. of corn etc.
  9. rapunzil

    rapunzil Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 17, 2009
    Kendall Park, NJ
    Thanx for all the info! Do you folks feel that feeding wheat has made the yolks a darker orange-y color?
  10. Harmony

    Harmony Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 17, 2009
    I've read that egg yolks get their color from the xanthophylls in the chickens' feed. So marigolds, afalfa, and corn would give you those bright orange yolks. As would allowing the flock to forage,.. and eat dark leafy greens. I wouldn't think wheat would have much in the way of orange pigment. [​IMG]

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