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kardar2

Songster
6 Years
May 24, 2013
256
11
111
Jones valley area
. I am new to chickens and been feeding my chickens starter / grower soy free and corn free.
So when it is time to move them onto layer food My understanding the corn is only a filler and is to raise their body temperature.  We live in a really mild climate and I don't think we need the corn. It also get 117 degrees here in the summer. So please correct me if I am wrong also do I need to add any thing to the layer feed such as chicken scratch? And oyster shell and grit? They are penned up most of the day. I let them out about 5:30pm in the evening to free range around the property.  Thanks for your help. Karl Atkins
 

ChickensAreSweet

Heavenly Grains for Hens
9 Years
Jun 8, 2010
15,100
621
398
Pacific NW- where the Douglas Firs grow
. I am new to chickens and been feeding my chickens starter / grower soy free and corn free.
So when it is time to move them onto layer food My understanding the corn is only a filler and is to raise their body temperature. We live in a really mild climate and I don't think we need the corn. It also get 117 degrees here in the summer. So please correct me if I am wrong also do I need to add any thing to the layer feed such as chicken scratch? And oyster shell and grit? They are penned up most of the day. I let them out about 5:30pm in the evening to free range around the property. Thanks for your help. Karl Atkins
They don't need the scratch if they are on layer feed...it is really a treat.

They should in my opinion have oyster shell available so they can self-regulate their calcium if they should require more of it than the layer provides.

Grit is needed if they are not able to find some sharp gravel in the soil (as in not free ranging) or if you are feeding lots of whole grains and really want to be sure they have it available (this is me). But with cracked grain commercial feed they are just fine without it.

Grit can last a year in the gizzard I have read, so they don't need a lot of it all the time. They should be fine there free ranging and you are feeding commercial feed- so you may not need to buy any at all.

You don't want to feed a lot of corn to them, but you can scatter some as a treat (a nice estimate some say on BYC is 10% of the diet can be treats). Corn is only 7-9% protein, and I give my flock corn as part of their feed year round. It is in most chicken feeds. But in winter I give them more grains. There isn't really anything special about corn. They just need more carbohydrates to stay warm I have found.

Layers need around 16% protein. So you don't want to decrease their protein level to the point where they are struggling to make their eggs.

Scratch can be cheaper than layer feed, and thus if you give a little scratch it helps the feed bill sometimes.


Some other info. if desired:
Chickens also love birdseed (millet and black oil sun. seeds). Millet is 11% protein, and BOSS are 16%.
Wheat is 24-14%.
They love oats too (preferably the ones without the hulls as the hulls are empty filler and are a bit sharp, but rolled and whole oats are doable in small quantities)
rolled barley OK in small quantities, also oats in smaller quantities, like oat groats/rolled human oats
split peas OK raw
Cooked beans great for them but not raw
sticky droppings with too many oats/barley
IF you dilute the vitamin premix too much by feeding a lot of other grains/seeds make sure you research mixing your own feed and compensate somehow. You are OK with treats 10% or so of the feed.

I hope this helps.
 

Gallo del Cielo

La Gallina Resort & Spa
9 Years
May 6, 2010
5,230
386
306
Tucson
My Coop
My Coop
ChickensAreSweet gave you excellent advice. One thing I would add is that you should continue providing the starter/grower until all of your birds are laying. Then switch to layer feed.
 
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