I'd love some advice re: switching off of commercial feeds:

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Mass Mike, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. Mass Mike

    Mass Mike Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 27, 2012
    Dudley, MA
    Hi all,
    I currently use the Purina "all in one" commercial feed which contains calcium and then supplement with produce/kitchen scraps. I have access to lots of "day old" produce. I'm thinking of stopping the commercial feed altogether and just using the produce (lots of fruits, green veggies) along with crushed oyster shells to get them their calcium.

    Good idea? bad Idea?

    will egg production/egg quality be my best indicator as to whether or not this switch is adequate?

    Any advice is welcome.

    Thanks, all.
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    They need the grains.

    They can "survive" on kitchen scraps and free ranging as many old timers have done through the years if the foraging is good (bugs for protein available and not wintertime), but for good nutrition they just NEED some grains. I would dare say that these old-timers had some other large animals around who were fed grains and they were able to collect some of the spilled grain or get some in the fields.

    You won't get as many eggs and their health will decline compared to how it would have been on some grains I would guess.

    http://www.mofga.org/Portals/2/Fact Sheets/FS 13 Feeding Whole Grains to Chickens.pdf
    Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners' Association information on nutrition

    If cost is an issue, you might consider buying Flock Raiser or unmedicated chick starter ( should be about 20% protein) and cutting it with some cheap grains such as rolled oats, but be cautious not to decrease their protein too much-- not less than around 15% I'd say, in order for them to make good eggs, which are protein. Feathers are protein, too, and when they molt you might just keep them on the 20% stuff straight.

    I hope it all works out for you and you find the perfect diet for your flock- everyone does what is best for their situation. Feed mills are the cheapest route unless you grow your own grains. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2012

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