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How do you know if supplemental feed is necessary

Discussion in 'Nutrition - Sponsored by Purina Poultry' started by DonQueso, Sep 16, 2015.

  1. DonQueso

    DonQueso New Egg

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    Good afternoon and thank you for taking the time to speak with us. I was wondering, how do you know if a supplemental scratch feed is necessary? Also, what are your thoughts in mixing grit/oyster shell in with the layered feed. Do you feel it is more appropriate to offer these separate from their food?

    Thank you again
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    The feeding instructions on almost every bag of feed have a statement to the effect, "this is a complete feed and no supplements are needed". The feed company knows what nutrients make up their feed and what age birds it is intended for.
    Chickens like scratch but it should be kept to less than 5% of total intake. It satisfies the desire to scratch but supplies little in the line of protein and vitamins.
    My best advice is to never mix feed with oyster shell. O.S. and grit should be in separate containers.
    I direct you to a discussion on the topic.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1021258/ready-to-lay
    Post #s 2, 6 and 9 will answer a lot of your questions about calcium.
     
  3. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    Scratch is more for entertaining, IMO... I feed a grain mix and they don't get "scratch" because they free range... In a confined environment, I would give them scratch just to relieve boredom, if anything... If you give them wheat, corn, and Millet as scratch, it can compliment their diet, but too much and they will miss out on the nutrients in what I assume is a feed crumble that you are giving them...

    As far as Oyster shell, you don't need it if they already have a layer feed; its calculated into the feed. If you are mixing your own however, you can give them a dish on the side or mix it in with the grain. I have no issues with putting it in my feed; if they don't need it, it stays in the bottom of the feeder, and no chicks or rois get accidentally overdosed by sharing the same feed :)
     
  4. bigt447

    bigt447 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I like oats as scratch as its about 12% protein compared to about 8% for corn.....and the hens love it.
     

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