I'm new and need to make sure I'm feeding my girls right!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by gertiesmom, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. gertiesmom

    gertiesmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2015
    Hello all!
    I so love this site...so much great info! I've got a couple threads going about other issues, but I need to make sure I'm feeding my girls what they need.
    I have 3 Silkie hens approx 2 yrs. I took them over for a friend who didn't want them anymore. They were a bit rough when I first got them about 7 months ago and then we've had a rough winter. I've done LOTS of research but want to check with y'all to make sure I'm not missing anything.
    I mix a complete layer feed with scratch. I noticed they weren't eating the layer feed pellets, I've since switched to crumble. Then I give them pieces of apples or tom everyday and lettuce or celery stalks for their greens. Started giving them alittle bit of mealworms every other day as a treat or some bread. Now that the weather is warmer they've been free ranging and I've cut back the lettuce alittle. I put alittle apple cider vinegar and probiotic in their fresh water everyday. They have been laying for me all winter, which I read was unusual, and the eggs shells are definitely stronger than when I first started getting eggs from them. Do I need to get oyster shell for them too?? I greatly appreciate any advice y'all can give!! I want to keep my girls happy and healthy...and my rooster, when I find a new one. Thanks agin for any help!!!
  2. collingwood

    collingwood Chillin' With My Peeps

    Welcome to BYC!
  3. gertiesmom

    gertiesmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2015
    THANK YOU! This place is awesome!
  4. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    Mixing scratch with layer feed dilutes the nutritional value of the layer feed. My hens don't like pellets either and demand crumbles. Layer feed has the proper amount of CA and you do not need to give extra unless you're having shell issues. I don't put additives in the water but that's just me.
    Sounds like you got it figured out. :)
  5. 11mini

    11mini Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 17, 2014
    Lake Stevens, WA
    I would stick with the layer feed. A good layer pellet (or crumbles, same thing just processed smaller) should be around 3% calcium so no additional oyster shell should be needed. Keep the treats to a minimum, no more than 10% of their total food intake. Scratch (corn) is like candy to them and has little to no nutritional value. I normally just throw out a couple of handfulls in the evening. They will pick out what they like and leave what they don't so mixing the scratch with the feed is a bad idea. I give my girls fermented layer feed free choice all day as the staple diet and then supplement with mealworms, scratch, veggie scraps, etc.
  6. CuriousChicken

    CuriousChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2010
    Hate to hijack the thread but I've been feeding just a rooster for the last 5 years, got 1 hen 4 days ago as a friend for him. She was feral and is thin, but she's laying good healthy eggs about every other day. I'm feeding them UltraKibble crumble in a 1:2 ratio with sunflower seeds, buckwheat, millet and a minimal amount of crushed corn. She also has free access to oyster shells and they both get vitamins once or twice a week to make sure they are topped up, they are indoor birds with 2 or 3 hours of free range. He has thrived on this mix he's a good weight for his size and with the exception of an ear infection 2 weeks ago he has been in perfect health. I just want to be sure that feeding her the same way with oyster shells will get her to a good healthy weight. I just really don't think switching to layer feed is an option for me, my rooster has no need for that much calcium.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by