Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Fawn and Fam, Nov 22, 2013.

  1. Fawn and Fam

    Fawn and Fam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2013
    This is my 1st winter w/ chickens. I live in Michigan. A worker at Tractor Supply Company, that owns 20 chickens herself, told me she feeds hers 50% layer pellets & 50% whole corn mixed together for the winter months. I just wanted to double check if that is okay to feed them before I purchase a 50lb. bag of whole corn.
  2. Maggiesdad

    Maggiesdad Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 3, 2011
    Central Virginia
    I wouldn't give them more than 10% of their daily ration as corn or (scratch), fed as treats, not free choice. They love it, but too much can lead to nutritional imbalances, then feather picking and the like. Keep them well balanced nutritionally, the winter months are bad enough by themselves, what with being cooped up more.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2013
  3. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    I would get corn chops instead of whole corn. It's a good treat for a bed time snack. Get's them in the coop and helps keep them warm at night. You'll go through 50# so just buy the bag.
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Flock Master Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Chickens need at least 16% protein which is what layer has. I feed mine all flock which is 20%. Corn or scratch is 8%. Winter would be a bad time to lower the protein that much since they won't have as much to forage on outside if they are free ranged, and worse if they are kept in a run.
  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    If you are starting at 16% protein with the layer pellets and feed a 7-9% protein whole corn at 50% that means you are giving about 12.5% protein, which isn't enough for a laying hen- they need closer to 15-16%. Eggs are protein and so if they are laying eggs they need protein. Also if they are molting then they need a lot of protein.

    What I would do if you need to give corn to decrease the cost, is to give a 20% feed and then your feed protein % will be 14.5%.

    I feed whole corn too, and I mix in organic layer pellets, organic chick starter, rolled barley, rolled oats, millet, black oil sunflower seeds, split peas, and wheat. I try to aim for 15% protein.

    My bantams don't really eat the whole corn since they are still growing up. So if you have bantams I'd stick with the cracked corn. But large fowl do fine with it.

    Some 20% protein feeds are Flock Raiser and unmedicated chick starter. You will need to provide oyster shell either mixed in or on the side for them if using these feeds with laying hens. I mix it in since if I don't I get soft shells.

    Make sure it isn't deer corn, as there have been some problems or questions raised about the aflatoxin levels- just my opinion.

    Since you will be diluting the vitamins quite a bit, make sure you offer something nutritious like greens (grass clippings, alfalfa hay chopped into little bits 2-3 inches long, or some vitamin premix supplement).
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2013
  6. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    I agree with Maggies Dad. Just keeping chickens and working in a supply store does not mean you know what you are taking about regarding nutrition.
  7. Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Short answer: NO

    Long answer: diluting the nutrition in the layer ration with the whole corn will result in poorer performance by your hens.

    By the way, the lady working at TSC is an idiot.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2013
  8. Fawn and Fam

    Fawn and Fam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2013
    I was afraid it wasn't proper nutrition. I will stick to layer pellets and only giving 10% "treats." Being a newbie it is frustrating not being able to rely on the feed store's advice, that's why I come here [​IMG]

    @ Percheron chick: What are corn chops? Is that cracked corn?

    @ ChickensAreSweet: I purchased a 40lb. bag of yellow field corn on the cob (made by the Armada Grain Co.) for a boredom buster in the coop and for warmth at night. Again the feed store told me I could feed it to chickens but now I'm wondering... one if it is even the right thing for chickens (because they don't seem overly interested in it and some kernels are too big for them) & two if it is dangerous for them- I don't know if it is deer corn???
  9. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    I always cut proteins during the winter months when the flock slows down on laying as no amount of pumping proteins into them is going to induce lay when the hormone levels won't go there. I've been doing it for years now, cutting layer ration by 50% with a cheaper grain like corn, oats or barley. Lately my grain of choice has been barley. I'll often add some BOSS for added fats as well.

    No loss of health, no loss of feather quality, everyone who normally lays in the winter keeps on laying, no feather picking and all goes well with the flock. I increase back to 100% layer ration in the spring when laying goes back to normal.

    The feed store lady isn't an idiot and you won't hurt your birds one iota by decreasing total proteins in that manner, no matter what anyone says to the contrary.
  10. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    When I kept chickens in WV, I fed my dozen or so hens a coffee can of corn every evening when it was going to be colder than 10 degrees. I am sure it helped them stay warm. I did not supply extra light for them in the winter.

    Here in SC I feed some whole corn year round as a treat. I think some corn helps put color in yolks of hen that can't free range.

    I also provide grit free choice to help the utilize thr whole kernals.

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