foods that can do something

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by spaka74, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. spaka74

    spaka74 Out Of The Brooder

    id like to know about different foods i could feed my chickens that could actually effect them in a positve way,
    like increasing egg laying, or making them seem healthier in some way,
    but so far all ive learnt is that onions or garlic fed to chickens leaves a taste of the chosen vegetable in the egg, or giving them cabbage, makes there dropping go a bit on the runny/liquidy side,
    oh, that oyster shells boost calium so boost eggs in some way....
    ive heard starch based food help in some way, but i dont know how,
    but i dont want to use medications, on my chickens, okay? cus thats taking it a bit far...
    oh, and scratch,
    do chickens just eat it once and then theyve got working teeth inside them forever or is it a constant thing? and what is scratch?
    also, my chickens are a bit on the fussy side when it comes to what they eat, is this normal?
    and is it going to do them any damage if they eat chicken, or ham? cus they love the stuff, even if they dont know what they are doing.....
  2. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    Quote:Chickens need a balanced diet, and some higher quality feeds provide this for them. I use all-purpose poultry crumbles, and in a few weeks I'll be using layer crumbles. This provides them with the necessary calcium, protien, grains, etc. As far as scraps go, there's really nothing you can give them that would complete their dietary needs, unless you mixed your own feed. They LOVE greens, like lettuce, grass, etc, but greens alone won't do it. Bugs are a source of protien for them, but they won't get enough unless they free range 100%, and the wintertime is pretty scarce. As long as you're feeding a complete feed, like layer crumbles/pellets, your chickens should be fine. Too many scraps and/or scratch will cause them to not eat their actual feed, which can interfere with nutrition. It's also a good idea to offer them oyster shell free-choice (meaning it's in a little bowl that they can eat from whenever they feel like it) that way if the hen feels like she needs a little more calcium she can go over there and get a bit. DO NOT mix it into the food!

    Lighting also determines the chickens' laying cycle. Their bodies tell them to lay during the warmer seasons, when the days are longer and the nights shorter. This is because it wouldn't be efficient to hatch eggs when it's 10 below. You can simulate the daylight by placing a light bulb in the coop on a timer, and set the timer so that the light goes on a bit early in the morning (not at night, cause sudden darkness will confuse them and the won't be able to roost....they're practically blind in the dark, so they won't be able to see to get on the roost). As the days continue shortening, increase the artificial light. The light should NOT be on as the sun begins to set, that way they are able to roost.

    Chickens need grit to grind their food. Small rocks, pebbles, sand, sometimes even pieces of glass, are ingested and work as their 'teeth'. Once a chicken gets a few decent pieces of grit in them, they may not ingest any more until the first pieces get worn down. Some people have found large, round, smooth rocks inside their chickens, meaning the chicken ingested the rock when it was even larger and rough instead of smooth. The longer it's in the chicken the more worn it gets, until finally it's too small to do any grinding and the chicken eats more. If the area your chickens use as a run doesn't have any gravel, you may want to toss some in there. Go to a quarry with a ziplock bag, wal mart bag, or whatever size you need, and ask them how much for 'this much' gravel. Usually they'll laugh and give it to you free, but if not it may cost a few bucks. Toss the gravel in the run and that's the end of it.

    Hope this helps, and [​IMG]

    Edited to add:

    BTW, DO NOT give chickens under 20 weeks layer pellets! They cannot process the extra calcium and it will cause kidney failure! Wait until 20-22 weeks before giving them layer food like layer pellets or oyster shell. I did not switch mine to layer pellets, but at 20 weeks I put some oyster shell out there so just in case one of them needed it they could get it. Then, when they all start laying, I'll switch them to layer feed.

    Scratch is like chicken candy, it's a mixture of seeds and other stuff that they don't really need but like. Do not feed too much scratch, otherwise they'll choose the scratch over their feed and be nutritionally lacking. I throw a few handfuls out to them in the morning, and that's it.

    I wouldn't feed them chicken or ham, simply because I've heard there have been problems feeding chicken products (except scrambled eggs, they LOVE that) back to chickens, such as disease and illnesses. They are not designed to be cannibals. Ham is very processed and salty, and wouldn't do much good for their systems.

    Sounds like you have spoiled chickens! Fussy? LOL! Just give them what you know their bodies need, and they'll love u for it! Throw them some treats here and there, but don't overdo it. Your main concern is their health, their happiness will come with it. As long as they have adequate nutrition, light, space, warmth, and exercise they'll be fine!
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2008
  3. spaka74

    spaka74 Out Of The Brooder

    cjeanean, thank you sooooo much!

    i begin to worry now, weather my chickens are 20 weeks or over now.....
    cause maybe the layer pellets arnt the best for all of them.....
    best go get some new chicken food, if you ever look at this again what do you recomend?
    chick crumbs?
    or that growers stuff?

    and i think ill limit the kitchen scraps i give them now,
    because well, there laying was always a little bit funny,
    like all of sudden id get loads and then id see none for like 5-6 days.....

    and now i feel a little stupid for mixing chicken feed and oyster shells together, i thought it would encorage them to eat more......and be super calciumized!
    guess that wont work though....
    how do you tell the age of a chicken?
  4. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    Quote:I don't know exactly how to tell the age of a chicken, although I do know that the older they are the more developed their combs and wattles will be. After they get started laying I'm not too sure how to tell, though. Some of my chickens began laying at 19 weeks, but others didn't start laying until 6 months. A few haven't started yet, and I probably won't see eggs from them till 7 or so months. It just depends on the chicken. I feed my chickens all purpose poultry crumbles and give them oyster shell free choice, then when all of them reach at least 20 weeks I'm gonna switch them all to layer pellets. If you don't have any younger chickens out there right now (if they're all at least 20-22 weeks) you can feed them ALL layer feed. That is the most complete feed for laying hens. Until then, make sure you have PLENTY of oyster shell out there for them, I have a Christmas cookie tin screwed to the wall about 6 inches off the floor, and it holds about 3 cups of oyster shell. I refill it once or twice every two weeks or so. The layer feed has calcium in it, but you'll still want to offer oyster shell free choice, just in case a few hens need a little more calcium.

    As far as their laying patterns go, I had my hens stop laying for a week straight! Scared me to death, I was getting 6 eggs a day and then nothing! Now they're laying again, so I don't know what the deal is. I think the weather has a lot to do with it, cause it had been really rainy when they quit laying before and a few have stopped again, and it's been raining and miserable for the past week or so because of the hurricanes down south. Make sure they have enough hours of light during the day, and like I said be sure that the light kicks on in the morning rather than evening, you want them to wake up earlier, not go to bed later. Sudden darkness blinds them and they won't be able to roost and if they can't roost they get stressed.

    Some people, like MissPrissy, only feed their chickens gamebird feed. I don't, cause it's a little more expenisive than chicken feed and cause I've heard a lot of mixed info about the protien content. Some say there's too much protien in gamebird feed, some say it's okay. I don't know, so I don't do it. You should be fine getting a layer feed and giving it to all of them as long as ALL of them are old enough, and offer the oyster shell free choice. You can also use the egg shells from your eggs instead of oyster shell. You'll need to bake the shells (not sure how long or how hot) to kill bacteria and dry them out, then crush them up and put them out free choice just like you'd do with the oyster shell. It's a great way to recycle! LOL!

    Don't think that you can't spoil your chickens, you can definately give them scraps and scratch. Just make sure you don't overdo it, ration it out for them. Mine get a few handfuls of scratch every morning, then maybe a few more during the day, but that's it. I want to make sure they don't fill up on the 'candy' and spoil their appetites for their good food.

    I hope this helps! Post again if you have any more questions for us!
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    And as a side note on egg laying, they will all develop at their own rates, and can start laying anywhere between 4 and 8 months old. No need to rush them per se.
  6. spaka74

    spaka74 Out Of The Brooder

    thanks, i finally have an idea of what im doing now...
    before it was all just a guess, i think ill go get them some oyster shell now....
  7. newchicks

    newchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 13, 2008
    [​IMG] cjeanean......thank you thank you and I'm sure my two girls thank you. I've been at a loss about the light in the barn situation. I've always had horses etc. so they have the stall in the barn. They showed up at my husbands office the day my last horse died. We think they must have been some Easter chicks and someone didn't want them anymore. So I've been reading and listening to others with chickens and listening to you I just learned that I'm doing their light in the barn wrong. I was extending the day light at night instead of having the timer turn on in the morning. My instincts were telling me that it wasn't right, because I go down just before the light turns off to make sure they're on their roost. Tomorrow I'll change the timer to go on in the AM. Again thank you. Anymore winter tid bits of advice would be great.[​IMG]

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