Healthy feed for new flock

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Southgrandma, May 18, 2019.

  1. Southgrandma

    Southgrandma Hatching

    May 18, 2019
    I am a first time chicken lady. We want the healthiest hens and eggs for our family. With so many predators our hens are kept in their run. We will build “tractors” to move them about the property soon. They are three months old now and still on Nutrena Chick starter. BYC has been my go to for our entire process, building coop, predator proof run, breeds, care up to this point. Please guide us to the best feed going forward. Up to this point I have given them no treats, extra food, anything but feed and baby chick grit. By the way, they are wonderful, happy chickens! Thanks.
  2. Mvan42

    Mvan42 Songster

    Mar 15, 2019
    Garrett County, Maryland
    They are for sure old enough for treats, and some veggies type table scraps, breads..... as long as they have the grit that stuff is fine.. you will want to switch to a layer feed right before or right after they start laying. (Others will give a closer suggestion on when). Mine start eating when integrated into the older flock. Mine also free range in the evenings.
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    My birds all eat Flock Raiser, an all-flock feed, from with oyster shell offered separately for the laying hens, from hatching to death. I haven't needed to feed a medicated chick starter, so this works for me; no changes, no problems with transitions.
  4. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    Some feed stores carry a "pullet grower". The pullet grower is nice... I like to use that until they start to lay, then I switch to a layer feed.

    16% protein layer works fine, but I like to switch to the 20% layer if they are having a hard molt, or it is really cold.

    I don't put out oyster shell, in it's own dish, until after they start to lay.
    CityslickerHomestead likes this.
  5. Timothy Menezes

    Timothy Menezes Songster

    Nov 27, 2017
    Monterey, California
    I love Nutrena Starter, it has higher Niacin than all the other chick starters as far as I know. And it was much less dusty than the Purina starter.

    As far as layer, I have tried several, really liking the Nutrena version for the same reason. Just less dusty. Purina Omega 3 was very good to though, much less dusty than the regular Purina starter or layer. So I would have to say my 2 favorite layer rations is the Purina Omega 3, Nutrena Hearty Hen, and the regular Nutrena Layer.

    Purina Flock raiser (pellets or crumbles) is really good too though. As I have ducks and chickens it works very well for me.

    I actually have 2 to 3 feeders out at any given time. I put grower, starter, or Flock Raiser in a feeder on the ground. Then I'll put a Layer and a bowl of Oyster shell in a feeder that's on an elevated setup that the baby chickens/ducks can't get too and let them figure out what's best for them.
  6. Southgrandma

    Southgrandma Hatching

    May 18, 2019
    Thanks so much for all your replies. I will start with small treats and look into the different feeds yall have suggested at our local feed store. I am sure this is just the beginning of my questions!
    chrissynemetz likes this.
  7. chkva

    chkva Songster

    Mar 20, 2015
    I feed fermented feed (recommended to me by numerous people on BYC)...

    I do use Flock Raiser crumbles from Purina to make my fermented feed plus other grains and seeds. I supplement calcium with oyster shells and baked crushed up egg shells. I was doing a layer feed for my hens, but I have chicks and soon to be ducklings so the layer feed isn't suitable for them. They eat whatever the hens...
    Henriettamom919 likes this.
  8. Southgrandma

    Southgrandma Hatching

    May 18, 2019
    Thanks for your response. Just curious, what are pros of fermented feed and how do you make it?
    chkva likes this.
  9. Henriettamom919

    Henriettamom919 Songster

    May 1, 2019
    North of Seattle
    Making it is super easy.

    Get a large glass contained or food safe bucket (think farm and feed store).
    Add equal parts feed to water (dechlorinated: you can either buy distilled, boil it or let a jug of tap water set out for 24/48 hours with no top)
    Stir and cover with a tea towel/kitchen towel.
    Let sit for 3/4 days stirring once a day and adding water to keep liquid just above seed (1/2in-1in).
    Keep adding feed and water back into original mixture as its fed out!

    Serve it up in feed dishes/bowls! They will LOVE it! You can adjust as you find they prefer it. My girls like it a bit thicker so I've been adding less water.

    Benefits are huge! My bag of feed is lasting much longer (30+%) Fermenting produces lots of beneficial probiotics! The food is already broken down so they absorb a lot more nutrition. It supposedly ups overall health and egg production but I'm only on week one! My favorite aspect, though, is that super nutritional powder supplement made of alfalfa, fish meal, etc is getting properly consumed and not left in the bottom of their dish!

    I use Scratch N Peck layer without corn and while pricey my girls are super regular layers/have no health issues. I, personally, am a big believer in good diet preventing large vet bills and issues later down the line in all pets.
    tpatricco likes this.
  10. chkva

    chkva Songster

    Mar 20, 2015
    I use this method

    And here's an article to get FAQs on fermenting feed

    Here's the pros from that article....


    Increases protein usage by 12%(according to scientific studies)
    Changes proteins and sugars to a form easily digested and utilized by a monogastric animal~amino acids.
    Less feed waste due to more utilized at the point of digestion and also from feeding a wet feed.
    Less feed consumed due to total nutrients increased in the feed~resulting in a decrease of total feed costs by nearly half.
    Intestinal health and culture increases, intestinal villi lengthen thus increasing total absorption area and blood flow to the intestines.
    Increased immune system function.
    Increased parasite resistance.
    Increased yolk size/weight.
    Increased rate of lay.
    Increased feather quality and growth, increased rate of molt recovery.
    Increased scale, beak quality due to increased nutrient uptake(some have reported correction of cross beak after using FF).
    Less undigested matter in the feces~resulting in less nitrogen in manure, less smell of the fecal matter, less attractant for flies, less ammonia production as there is less break down needed of waste material.
    Less water consumption due to feeding wet feeds.
    Less incidence of pasty butt in young chicks, faster weight gains, faster feathering of young chicks as well.
    Thicker egg shells.
    Less feed waste to rodent predation.
    No changes in winter warmth issues as core temps do not depend on rates of digestion of feed~no more than it does for any other animal or human.
    Increased mild flavor of eggs, removal of sulfur or “eggy” flavor.
    Increased mild flavor of meat, removal of “gamey” flavor.
    Increased overall health and appearance noted and reported with continuous use of FF.
    Prebiotics and probiotics available in feed increase resistance to disease/illnesses such as coccidia, e.coli, salmonella, flagella, etc.
    No raw chicken stink.
    Less inclination for dogs to eat the poo since the sugars and grains have already been pre-digested.

    - copied from
    Last edited: May 20, 2019

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