Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by tingle, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. tingle

    tingle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2009
    I am very confused as to a hens dietary needs,I have hatched chicks in the incubator and they are fed a chick crumb until I have been told 10 weeks then they will go on to layers pellets.I have half a dozen 6 month old hens that I am feeding layers pelletswith a handful of corn in the afternoonIs this enough? do they need to be fed grit and what is scratch?Thanks
  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Chicks should get either "Starter" or "Starter/Grower" until they are about 12 weeks old. Then switch them to "Starter/Grower" or just "Grower" until they are laying or 20 weeks old. Then switch them to the "Layer" pellets or crumbles (your choice - I like the pellets much better but others don't).

    You don't want them on the Layer until they are actually laying or very close to laying.

    Some people can't get just "Starter" or just "Grower" feed in their local areas, thus using the combined feed instead. It works just fine.

    I would not give chickens just corn except maybe in really cold weather. And, then, it's not a feed... just a treat once a day or twice if really cold.

    Scratch is a 'treat', not a feed. It has corn in it with other things like oats, etc. It is usually only given in cold weather also but some people give it year round. Just remember that it isn't a total feed and shouldn't be given in excess.

    Grit is needed by all chickens who do not have access to the ground/dirt. They use it to "chew" their food. If they are on the ground they can get the little pebbles/stones from the earth and be just fine. Although if they are continually in the same confined area then I'd offer grit just to be safe.

    Grit is offered free choice - it should always be available. Some people do sprinkle it on the feed but I like to just keep it in a separate container where the chickens can get it when they need it.

    Oyster shell needs to be offered 24/7 free choice once they start laying eggs. That helps keep their egg shells hard.

    And, finally, if you have chickens of multiple different ages together you can use "Flock Raiser" for the ones not yet laying and the ones that are laying already. Then, you can switch them to the "Layer" once they are all laying.

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