Good food - bad food

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ranchodejo, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. ranchodejo

    ranchodejo New Egg

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    Jan 22, 2014
    South Florida
    What foods should not be given to chickens? I have some leftover cooked corn grits with butter & salt. Would that be okay?
    If the hens eat less of their feed and more scraps and greens will they lay less eggs?
    Which is better crumbles or pellets. My 4 chickens are 5 months old, they look full grown, I'm still giving them chick starter,
    they are not laying eggs yet. Any suggestions to the above?
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Feb 18, 2011
    Ohio
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/chicken-treat-chart-the-best-treats-for-backyard-chickens The BYC Chicken Treat chart, while chickens can eat about anything, there are a few things (listed at the end) that you should avoid giving them.
    The corn grits should be fine, you don't want to give them a lot really salty food, but a little spread out over a number of birds shouldn't be a problem... like any treats, just give them in moderation, a general rule of thumb seems to be to limit treats to 10% or so of the diet.

    The problem with scraps/treats/greens is that they are usually lower in protein than their chicken feed, chickens seem to need about 16% protein at a minimum to lay well. Protein is money, and the main expense in most chicken feeds, and the 16% is where the cost of the protein and the production of eggs seems to even out, so most commercial Layer feeds seem to be about 16%. So if you routinely lower the protein they are getting overall, it will have an affect on their egg laying. Of course it depends on what you are feeding them, and if you figure out he general protein % of what they are getting you can adjust by feeding them a different (usually higher) protein base feed etc. if you have a lot of scraps or something available that you want to feed. Free range birds are a little trickier in that it depends on what is available for them to find.

    Crumbles and Pellets are just the shape of the feed, I personally feed pellets to adult standard birds since they seem to waste a lot less than with crumbles. Other people like crumbles, so it is really just personal preference and what your chickens like and how neat they are at eating it.

    Most commercial Layer mixes say to start feeding after 18 weeks, or when the first egg appears. But you don't actually have to feed layer, a lot of people with mixed age flocks will feed an all ages type food and have oyster shell on the side for the laying hens, the laying hens will take what they need and the ones who don't need it will leave it alone... most chicken feed formulas are very similar, the big difference is the amount of calcium in Layer. The laying hens need it to make egg shell, but it causes problems in young birds, so chicks should not be fed Layer.
    I actually feed all birds a 20% chick starter/grower pellet and mix it with grain if I want to lower the protein %... ie I like to feed young pullets about 15% until they start to lay. I have oyster shell available on the side for the laying hens.
     
  3. ranchodejo

    ranchodejo New Egg

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    Jan 22, 2014
    South Florida
    Thank you so much for your help. Your advice & suggestions are greatly appreciated.
     
  4. SageB

    SageB Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 30, 2014
    Colorado
    Hello there! I am in the process of building a new coop there my chickens will be moved to, but the back yard is full of "red shouldered bugs" which are similar to box elder beetles. I've read that they are poisonous and don't want to move my chickens until I know they'll be safe. Does anyone know about this? Thank you!
     
  5. SageB

    SageB Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 30, 2014
    Colorado
    Just thought I'd update on the red shouldered bug issue. Turns out the chickens must not like how they taste because they leave them alone! Occasionally one will crawl nearby and catch their eye but then they seem to think twice and decide to pass. I'm relieved.
     

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