how to feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by sandyj, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. sandyj

    sandyj Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 3, 2008
    St.Paul, Minnesota
    I won't be getting my chickens until the spring, but have a friend down the block with some chickens. She's new to this chicken thing too. I'm more confused now about feeding than before. Aren't you suppose to keep food on hand at all times? I here, feed warm mash in morning, feed before bedtime, only give certain kinds of scratch. If you have food on hand at all times, why would you have to give them more, or is this to give a variety. If they've had food all day, would they still eat this other food prepared? I would think, some of this food would go to waste. I'm also wondering, what kind of food goes in the feeder jars? Can you mix food, like their regular chicken food, corn, and oyster shell altogether or should this all be separated? I live in the city and have never had a farm animal in my life. Don't know a darn thing about it, but want to learn!
    Thanks so much for this wonderful website and all the people out their willing to help others with their questions!!!! Backyard chickens is addicting!!!! I can't wait to get my chickens!!!!

    Sandy J - city-chicker
  2. txchickie

    txchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    I have 14 weekers (8 bantys and 4 leghorns), so they get free choice starter/grower crumbles in their feeders 24/7. I have 12 chicks, so I refill daily.

    I don't think you need oyster shell until they start to lay. You do need to offer grit in a seperate feeder. I'm not sure when to start offering grit, but I did at about 10 weeks when I started giving scratch and scraps.

    I will throw out some scratch or cracked corn once a day or so as a treat, and I also make them all sorts of things like oatmeal/fruit & yogurt, grits w/fruit, yogurt, etc...rice. There's a "chicken treats" sticky at the top that is a great guide to go by! Treats and corn are not necessary, I don't think, but they do enjoy the occasional treat and food scrap.

    Just for

    I refilled their starter/grower crumbles. I will have to refill in the morning again.

    I gave them last night's leftover brown rice (cooked) and crumbled stale blueberry muffins in with it and added a little warm soymilk (just enough to make it moist).

    I will throw them a handful of corn this evening before bed. They also have a halved pumpkin still in their run that they're pecking on trying to finish. They just always have something to eat. I also have a suet feeder with 2 peanut suet blocks in it.

    Always have fresh water!

    I wanted to add that mine don't waste a THING :lol:They are little pigs.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2008
  3. cajunlizz

    cajunlizz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2008
    Lafayette, Louisiana
    chicks need to be on starter/grower

    when they start to lay , Laying pellets .....

    DO NOT substitute treats for grower or pellets ....


    I feed mid to late afternoon .. I feed HEAVY and they still have left over next afternoon ... JUST ADD MORE each afternoon ... they have FEED 24/7 that way ...


    I do give limited amount of treats everyday but NOT to interfer with their MUCH NEEDED FEED ....
  4. the1much

    the1much Currently Birdless Hippy

    my feeding routine,, ( i have 9 pens)
    go around in the AM empty and refill all waterers, then go around and feed all my birds the same thing ( game maintenance, game conditioner, 3 grain scratch, and i give rations of "super spur: supplement ) i have figured out how much they go through by night time, so thats the amount i give, i think having feed out all the time for birds that have wild birds, or mice around a disease carrying bucket lol.
    then at night they all get the days food scraps, mixed with some of the feed mix.
    my babies get chick start till 1 month old, then they start getting it mixed till 2 months old,, then they get adult.

    BUT, dont take how i feed as the "right way",, alot tell me im wrong,, until they see my birds, and then all is well lol [​IMG]
  5. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Sandy J, I have a feeder in the coop that is full all the time. Purina seemed to be a safer feed choice than whatever I can come up with on my own. However, the hens get treats [​IMG].

    Some poultry scientists recommend no scratch or kitchen scraps - zero. Oregon State University and most other schools are a little more tolerant and I follow their recommendation on scratch. And then, I consider my kitchen scraps to be equivalent to scratch.

    Using some USDA data on food nutrients and comparing some of this information with what is on the feed labels, it looked to me that a lot of what I was offering from the kitchen was better for the birds than what was in the bag of scratch. Some of it was NOT as good, but on balance . . .

    A difference with most kitchen food is that it is either fresh fruits and vegetables or cooked foods. The moisture content is much higher than scratch grains. But, using the USDA information, it was easy to come up with equivalent amounts.

    If I am to believe OSU, each of my hens can have about 2 Tablespoons of scratch each day. The equivalent in my kitchen scraps is about 3/4 cup. I've actually increased the amount of these foods after taking a little time to try to reason this out.

    The hens eat most of their Purina feed at the very beginning and the end of their day. They get some free ranging just about every day - lawn grass, mostly. Treats go out after sundown and that is partly as a way to keep them entertained. Yesterday, they moved indoors just a little after 3 PM - they are spending about 16 hours every day now "cooped up."

    Treats are a way for me to cut down on feed costs and keep my laying hens happy. And, as long as I don't get carried away with "treating them" – the hens should continue to lay lots of eggs [​IMG].

  6. mrlacewing

    mrlacewing Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 27, 2012
    This is actually another question but seems to go with this thread. Thanks for the original question and advice. I have learned from reading through it.

    I'm wondering if I should feed my 5 week old Orpingtons in something smaller than their feeders, or maybe just piling the food on the brooder floor at night. I have been filling the feeders but they only eat about half. It seems that the food below would get stale and/or moldy. (especially with the here in Georgia right now) Does this make sense? I am completely new to this. My four chickens are outside in a tractor style coop for a large part of the day, then I bring them in to their brooder. I'm trying to get my nerve up to let them stay outside over night. :)
    Oh and they free range just a bit when I'm outside with them.

    This is off topic but I've been pleasantly surprised at how antsy they seem to get out and run around, and also that they follow us around the yard. They are so much fun! I love my chickens.
    (I have refrained from posting that on Facebook but feel it's OK to say here.:)

    thanks for any advice!

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