Looking for opinions on how I'm feeding my chickens

citychicks99

Chirping
Aug 20, 2021
94
70
78
Seattle, WA
Hello,
I have a 15-week old cockerel and chicken and it looks like the cockerel is currently molting. I have been giving them chick starter feed but I have started fermenting some of their feed and they love it, especially the cockerel. I give them about 1/2 cup of fermented feed a day while still leaving out dry feed as free choice. I also mix in .5 tsp of Poultry Cell in the fermented feed and make sure the cockerel gets most of it. The chicken gets a little bit of it too because she pecks at everything but I figured it should be fine.

For treats, I like to give them sunflower and pumpkin seeds almost every day. I give them about a tablespoon of yogurt and a quarter of a hard-boiled egg every other day. Right now, I'm wondering if they should get yogurt and eggs every day since it's getting colder and he's molting. I wanted to add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast to their daily feed as well to make sure they get extra protein for the winter but I just read a horror story of chickens dying from the wrong balance of nutrition so I wanted to make sure. My brother also gives them apples every few days and I gave them some pumpkin today. I also mixed in 2% diatomaceous earth into their feed.

Since I only have a chicken and cockerel, in about 3 weeks, I'm going to give them Purina Flock Raiser and leave out oyster shell for the chicken. I saved some oyster shells from a few months ago and boiled them to get rid of bacteria. Would it be okay to crush this and give it to the chicken?

I appreciate any advice on how to best feed these two. Thank you!
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
10,678
27,391
1,066
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
Welcome to BYC.

The usual guideline is to limit treats to less than 10% of their diet. That's usually just a tablespoon or so. :)

Where, in general, are you?

If you are in a severe winter area, this article includes tips on feeding chickens that are subject to severe cold: https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/cold-weather-poultry-housing-and-care.72010/

In a mild or moderate-winter area you need make no changes -- just making sure that they have free access to a good-quality feed at all times. :)
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,207
17,247
706
USA
I have a 15-week old cockerel and chicken and it looks like the cockerel is currently molting. I have been giving them chick starter feed
Chicks molt frequently as they grow.
Chick starter has everything they need for growing AND molting.
There is NO NEED to add extra protein or supplements when a chicken is molting while eating chick starter.

I just read a horror story of chickens dying from the wrong balance of nutrition so I wanted to make sure.
If you want to be really sure, just give them chick starter for their feed.
(I assume they also have unlimited access to water, and will have access to oyster shell or eggshell, and maybe grit as well.)

There are many other things that can be safely fed to chickens (including everything you have listed). In general, small amounts are fine but large amounts can cause nutritional imbalances. If you do not want to fuss with balancing things, you should be fine with the guideline @3KillerBs gave: "limit treats to less than 10% of their diet. That's usually just a tablespoon or so."

Since I only have a chicken and cockerel, in about 3 weeks, I'm going to give them Purina Flock Raiser
It is fine for them to keep eating chick starter, but it is also fine to switch to Flock Raiser. If you want to switch, I suggest you do it when your bag of chick starter is almost gone, so you can mix the last chick starter into the first flock raiser for a few days to help them transition between the feeds.

and leave out oyster shell for the chicken. I saved some oyster shells from a few months ago and boiled them to get rid of bacteria. Would it be okay to crush this and give it to the chicken?
That should be fine.
You can also offer eggshells from eggs you eat. Just squish them a little so they don't look like eggs. There is no need to wash, boil, bake, dry, or grind them. (Exception: if you want to put eggshell into a dish, it should be thoroughly dry so it does not grow bacteria or mold. If you just toss the eggshells on the floor of their pen, it does not matter whether it is wet or dry.)
 

Thetinyfarm

Chirping
Oct 19, 2021
96
292
93
Alberta Canada
I give my poultry crushed soybean, high in protein and they love it. I do soak it overnight as I do with a lot of their grain. I give my girls black sunflower seed, chicken scratch, corn, dried peas and what they love the most is cooked potatoes or just the skins with bran mash. I mix it all up overnight with hot water and they just go nuts over it. I do this about once a week though. Cooked pumpkin they also love. I have exceptionally healthy girls who lay beautiful, hard shelled eggs.
 

citychicks99

Chirping
Aug 20, 2021
94
70
78
Seattle, WA
How much food do chickens need per day? It seems like the popular answer is free choice but we've been having a rat problem so I have to remove their food as soon as they finish eating. I feed the 5 of them about 1-1.5 cup 3x a day.

I found a website that says chickens need about 1/2 cup of feed per day. I used to only have 2 and maybe they did eat about that much per day but now that we have 3 extra chickens, it seems like my two earlier birds are fighting for the feed and maybe even overeating. It's tough for me to gauge how much to leave out especially since they pick on the smallest one and kick her away and I'll see her pecking at the empty bowls later. I pour out more food for her and the other ones that I thought were full will come back and keep eating! I feel like I'm overfeeding them but I also want to make sure nobody's hungry.
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
10,678
27,391
1,066
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
I found a website that says chickens need about 1/2 cup of feed per day.

I can't be sure because I don't do fermented feed, but I think that means half a cup DRY before you ferment it.

I free-feed, but the figure I've seen is 1/4 pound a day -- weight being more accurate than volume measuring. Again, that's DRY before it's fermented.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom