New-What am I doing wrong with my feeding

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by pfewless, Oct 31, 2014.

  1. pfewless

    pfewless In the Brooder

    Oct 31, 2014
    I am a bit confused about feed. I bought what I was told to get a crumble laying feed. I chose Nutrena Nature Wise Layer Feed 16% crumble. My hens also have green ground for the moment (Michigan winter coming on) and will be getting black oiled sunflower seeds over the winter. I am reading about corn, grit and oyster shell in a lot of posts. I want my hens to have all they need nutritionally to be good layers. Can someone tell me what if anything else I need to feed them. They have already experienced meal worms and good old fashioned earth worms. I am considering some type of green over the winter in a pecking box. Not sure how that will work out yet though. I need to cover basic nutrition first. I also read something about apple cider vinigar in the water. what is the ratio per gallon? Thank You for any help here.
  2. CliffB

    CliffB Songster

    Oct 5, 2014
    The Nutrena Naturewise is a great feed by itself. Supplement in calcium (oyster shell) in a free choice feeder or on the coop floor so that they have access to the calcium if needed but the Naturewise should leave your eggs plenty hard shelled. As far as ACV i have been doing 1-2 tablespoons per gallon of water and it seems to be doing fine. Give cracked corn or whole corn as a supplement on cold days to help the birds bring their temperature up for cold nights. Grit needs to also be in a free choice feeder or scattered for the birds to pick as needed to digest their food.
  3. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Songster

    Oct 13, 2008
    Don't make yourself too crazy--chickens have lived well on farms for thousands of years long before formulated feeds were invented. It sounds like you've got plenty of good food for them! [​IMG]

    In my opinion, formulated layer feed is fine as far as it goes, if your looking for convenience. That covers your basic nutrition right there just fine. But feeding it as the sole's kind of like living on nothing but porridge--adequate but not optimal or very interesting. Making a wet mash and fermenting it makes in more digestible (and makes it go further), though it is an extra step and doesn't work with automatic feeders and such. Some of those worms (or bugs or whatever) now and then are a great addition. As is a little grain or those sunflower seeds for extra energy in the cold winter weather. I am also a big believer in giving them at least a little of something green and leafy daily, or at least almost daily--but in the winter that's not always possible or practical. I also always recommend everybody keep a little oystershell available on the side (not mixed into feed) free-choice for layers (even though layer formula is supposed to have enough)--this can be as simple as screwing an empty tuna can to inside wall of your coop and adding more whenever you notice it gets empty. Grit is important only if they don't have access to normal dirt (which is typically full of tiny particals of rock etc), where they can find and consume it naturally (as all wild or free-roaming birds do).

    Personally I don't have any experience using ACV as a regular tonic in drinking water (though I add some when I mix up the wet mash), but I know lots of folks like it. I don't think the exact ratio is that critical, as it's pretty benign stuff, but perhaps someone else can recommend a basic guideline to you.

  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    Basic nutrition = chicken feed. If you want to build on that, do some research on: fermented feed. Sprouted grains or fodder (I do a mix of wheat, barley, brassica seeds, BOSS, and will be adding some millet). Your flock will benefit from some animal protein 1 - 2 x/week. Kitchen scraps are a nice addition. I scrape the supper dishes well, and add those little tid bits to the left over water from cooking veggies = broth du jour. they go nuts over it, and that cooking water is loaded with vitamins.
  5. earlyredrooster

    earlyredrooster Songster

    Apr 19, 2014
    Harrisburg, Ar
    I was thinking of adding All Flock to my hens layer pellets. Any pro/con a more experienced poultry keeper will be appreciated.I just quit giving my girls fermented feed because they started dropping like flies around the fourth week after starting on it.
  6. Toddrick

    Toddrick Songster

    Sep 28, 2014
    Since winter is approaching I have started leaving a bowl mixed with wheat, cracked corn, and Cherios, mixed with some starter feed in their coop. I also have been taking hard boiled eggs out and mixing that in as well. I think I'm over doing it, but I feel sorry for them being all cooped up!

    They have a constant supply of Naturewise pellets available under the coop. I also take out scrap veggies and popcorn whenever possible.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2014
  7. pfewless

    pfewless In the Brooder

    Oct 31, 2014
    You mentioned protiens. What kind of protiens are good? Please give detailed examples. When you say broth do you mean just a simple beef broth made from bullion or boiled bones? I have read a list of kitchen scraps that I can feed them they were all vegetables.
  8. Toddrick

    Toddrick Songster

    Sep 28, 2014
    The best protein is probably boiled egg yolks. Per everyone's recommendations, I crumble them up and mix with some regular feed. I just dewormed my birds, so I had plenty of eggs that would otherwise go to waste, and are now getting served daily!

    Chickens go berserk for any meat product though. Since they don't have teeth, thinly sliced deli meat is what I prefer as a protein treat.

    To be clear: From what I understand, you don't need to add any protein. It just isn't required if you are us my proper feed, unless maybe they are sick or molting. My birds may have been both, which is why I've been spoiling them.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2014
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I agree with almost all that has been said and overall some really good advice. A commercial chicken feed contains all the nutrients chickens are known to need in the proper ratios. Starter/grower feeds are sufficient for growth. Layer feeds are sufficient for egg laying. However, if breeding, enhanced levels of vitamins, minerals and trace elements are helpful.
    You don't need to add protein unless they are molting or recovering from a wound.
    Animal protein is superior to vegetable protein since it contains all the amino acids essential to chickens. Protein is only as good as its completeness of amino acids.
    While eggs are good nutrition, they won't enhance protein percentage since they are only about 13% protein, 3% lower than what you're already feeding. Egg whites contain more of the protein in an egg than the yolk. The yolk is where the bulk of vitamins and minerals are.
    About the cheapest protein supplement that one can buy at the grocery store is canned mackerel. It is about 6 cents an ounce. That's what I use to bait predator traps.

    Raw unfiltered ACV has some beneficial enzymes, helps them assimilate calcium and slows the water containers from getting slimy.

    I didn't read about broth but most broth would probably be too high in salt.
  10. When you worm your hens their eggs need to be thrown away during the withdrawal period. Residue from the wormer is in the eggs.

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