Have I Hurt My Rooster's Kidneys?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ClareScifi, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Songster

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    Some people raise roosters for breeding and they use different feeds than layer for them.Try feeding a feed like all flock or flock raiser with a calcium supplement. like oyster shell, in a side dish for the hens. If he has been out foraging and you've been giving others things to eat. then his calcium intake is less than if layer is all he's had to eat. Three weeks won't kill a grown rooster.
  2. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Songster

    Mar 30, 2011
    He's a chowhound, and he's eaten a lot of the layer. He's always loved to eat. He sleeps separately from the hens, and I have had Chick Grower in his quarters for him to eat there, but he doesn't like it nearly as well as the layer, and when he's been with the hens, he's eaten the layer.

    I've never had much luck getting the hens to eat the oystershell. They don't seem to like it, but I haven't fed them the flock raiser or all flock as adults. I do worry about them becoming eggbound if I mess around with their food and rely on them to get enough calcium from the oytershell. But it is an idea. Or maybe I could also feed them back their eggs, so they would be sure to get enough calcium from the shells? That should be enough calcium for them to easily lay eggs, combined with free choice oystershell and flock raiser, wouldn't you think? Or would there be a problem with that?

    I wonder whether my boy might have picked around the calcium in the dry mash, rejecting it for other bits? I sure hope so, but I don't know. And recently I was told it is better to wet the mash so the girls get all the vitamins and minerals in it, not just their favorite grain bits. When it's dry they tend to toss out the other stuff, which is wasted, so I had been wetting it, which was probably bad news for the rooster, meaning he got more of the calcium.

    Why do those who raise roosters for breeding use different foods than layer for them? Does layer hurt the roosters' reproductive systems or something? Or cause them not to be able to fertilize eggs adequately?

    Maybe I could leave him in one pen with his food and the girls in one pen with theirs, and let the girls into his pen for him to mate with and play with. They could eat his food while there and then have access to their own in their pen. They might not like his food and not eat much of it, preferring their own? But I have to find another brand of All Flock/Flock Raiser. He doesn't like the stuff I got him much.
  3. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Songster

    Mar 30, 2011
    P.S. I am nervous about feeding gamebird food to my domestic chickens, because I was told that it's far too high in fat for non-wild birds like domestic chickens who don't expend as much energy as wild birds who struggle daily to survive in the wild do. Also, my boy hit the wild birdseed one day and got a very puffy crop. I took him to the vet and he said I have to watch carefully that he doesn't eat too much, as he has a tendency toward pendulous crop, something genetic, and the wild birdseed really fills his crop, because he's such a piggy.

    I guess I'll have to try the Flock Raiser/All Flock. I see no other solution.

    Someone told me roosters can survive just fine if you feed them nothing, just letting them eat bugs and such, that they can remain perfectly healthy on such a diet. I find this hard to believe. Do you think it is true? This little guy loves to eat. I'd hate to deprive him of a huge pleasure in his life by yanking away all of his commercial food, unless you think it would be a good idea? He's such a sweet, gentle boy. Also, I'm nervous about letting him free-range all the time-- predators, children who might chase him and get pecked, etc.

    Which brand of the All Flock/Flock Raiser do you think a Roo might find the tastiest?

    It makes me feel better to hear that someone's Roo lived 7 years. How I would love to have my boy that long or much longer. I wonder just how much damage I have done, and if there is anything I could do to help counteract it?
  4. dainerra

    dainerra Crowing

    Jun 4, 2011
    Hens won't touch oystershell (or their egg shells if fed back) unless their bodies tell them that they NEED the calcium. It's not a matter of not liking it. :)

    Between me, my mother, and grandmother that is over 80 years of chicken keeping (my grandmother is turning 90). Never had a roo die from kidney problems. My mother had a roo that was her favorite that was killed by a coon at 7 years old.

    It's fairly simple to tell if an animal is getting too much calcium and there is damage to the kidneys. You check urine, or in the case of chickens, poop. Before there is kidney damage, you will be seeing excess calcium excreted in the form of crystals in the urine. It's especially visible once dried. Breaking apart chicken poop to check is a little more intensive, but would produce the same result.

    I honestly wouldn't worry about it.
  5. Martine

    Martine In the Brooder

    Apr 5, 2011
    It is never harmful to a rooster to eat laying ration. The calcium that the hen needs for the formation of the egg is more important. The rooster takes whatever calcium he needs, and the big breeds when they are young also need high calcium for the formation of lstrong leg bones, and whatever he doesnt need is eliminated in the faeces.
    So do not worry!
  6. Martine

    Martine In the Brooder

    Apr 5, 2011
    I have been raising show poultry for many years in Africa where it is very warm most of the year and very humid. If you feed too much concentrate and not enough grain, you will get pendulous crops.
    However, fear not there is a solution to your problem!
    Give your birds esp the greedy one, soft food first thing: Brown or whole wheat bread and SOURED milk we call MAAS here, from the zulu "amasi", which means thick milk. The bacteria in soured milk is lactobacilli, which is a good bacteria that is involved in gut activity. The lactobacilli makes the digestion work well much as yoghurt does for humans.
    Give him this every day if possible, BEFORE you give him grain or concentrate. Then give him his normal feed which he will probably not be able to wolf down because he will already be full of the other stuff.
    If you give all your birds soured milk, you wont have impacted or pendulous crops. M
  7. mulewagon

    mulewagon Songster

    Nov 13, 2010
    My roosters are two years old this month. They eat whatever the hens eat, including laying pellets. The boys are large, strong, and active! (I also put out oyster shell - the hens sometimes eat it, the roosters never.)

    I did feed chick starter to all the chicks for the first few months, to protect their kidneys.
  8. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

    May 11, 2010
    Very excellent point about providing quality feed for a pet rooster. Contact agricultural colleges who do feed tests on various farm animals. As you pointed out most studies are concerned with production: fast weight gain for food purposes or egg production, but they may have data that will help you make an informed decision on what to feed your rooster.

    I do not know of any food out there specifically designed for pet chickens but the best thing you can do is provide a variety of food. You don't have to feed him layer feed all the time, you can switch from one feed to another on a daily basis. One day you can give laying pellets, the next you can give something else. Add kale and other greens to his diet, and make sure his protein source include insects-go out there and catch a few crickets or grasshoppers for him. Feeding fresh greens adds water to his diet which will help flush his kidneys.

    Since he is a pet rooster (correct?) you can monitor his weight by simply palpating for fat. A fat rooster will not live long.

    If you are so inclined, you can have an avian vet do a blood panel while he's healthy and on a routine basis to monitor his kidney function. While there are no tests to prove what is 'normal' for a chicken, his blood results will allow you to know what is normal for your rooster. And if blood-work is done later, you can continue to monitor those functions.

    You make a good point about flock roosters eating a layer only diet, and your concern on 'how do we know?' is valid. Unfortunately, nobody really knows, and many roosters have lived years on a layer only diet. But remember most roosters are destined for the table, and food companies are not concerned about longevity.

    My personal plan is to provide a varied diet. Add lots of kale, spinach, kudzu, occasional treats and so forth.

    You have given us food for thought!
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
  9. dainerra

    dainerra Crowing

    Jun 4, 2011
    theoldchick, Kale is actually very high in calcium, so feeding it and many other leafy greens won't be much help in this case :)
  10. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey

    As with most things in life 'all things in moderation' = no problems. Roosters with acces to other food choices will have absolutely no problems eating layer rations. As a matter of fact it would be a rare instance where layer ration caused any problems to a rooster.

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