Newbie Feed question

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Deweberbr, Oct 24, 2016.

  1. Deweberbr

    Deweberbr Out Of The Brooder

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    Hey all, So my flock consists of 2 Rhode Island Reds, 1 Gold Laced Wyandotte, and a Delaware that I've had for a few months and all but 1 are laying. I'm just wanting to check and see that I'm feeding what I'm suppose to. I recently switched the feed over to a Layer feed but I'm confused on "scratch and treats" I have a bag of mixed "treats" that I bought that has mealworms etc but other than that I don't give anything extra besides feed. Am I suppose to? I have been told to Microwave and crush the egg shells and feed them back to them but do I just throw them in the run? I use a sand floor so I just want to make sure they are going to just bury them. Any Info is appreciated, I just want to make sure I'm treating them right!
    ****EDIT: The wyandotte and delaware are about 7 months old and the Reds are new to us so I have no idea. I believe the Wyandotte is the one that isn't laying yet. I also just realized I havent bought the layer feed yet but I needed to buy feed soon so that's why I was asking.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    You don't say how old they are.
    If you read the ingredient label or bag of feed it will always have feeding instructions.
    Usually it will say something like, "this is a complete feed and no supplements are needed".

    If they are all at point of lay, they should be getting layer feed. If laying isn't imminent or you have non layers, they should have a grower or all-flock type feed.
    Layer feed (4% calcium) is too high for non laying birds.
    With a mixed flock, you can offer crushed oyster shell or crushed egg shells in a separate container.
     
  3. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    I don't use layer until all are laying. I use a 20% protein flock raiser and offer oyster shell on the side because I have mixed age and genders. Too much calcium for non layers can cause kidney problems if it's a long term situation. I also would do that once you reach molt because 16% protein in layer is barely enough to support layers. When they are growing in new feathers more protein will make it easier. My girls seem to prefer the crumbles over pellets, but that's just shape and size.

    Since it is suggested to offer oyster shell on the side even with layer feed, I might just stick to flock raiser. When I did use layer, we went through very little oyster shell. It is a personal choice, and you won't have any problems. I just like the higher protein, feels like it support healthier birds to me.

    As far as treats go it is recommended not to exceed 10% of your total feed in treats. I also use sand in my run. My birds free range, so I sprinkle them out of the run in the grass. But if anything does get buried, your birds will surely scratch around until they find it. [​IMG]
     
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Oh ya, I just let my egg shells dry out and crush them. I toss them on the ground but I might put them in a bowl in the sand run. Never zapped or baked them in any way and no problems after 5 years. Like everything else though, someone who had a bad experience may think I'm crazy for doing that. So, whatever seems to make the most sense for you and gives you peace of mind. I figure, they are pulling things out of poop all day anyways when they clean out the goat barn or see another chicken poo and think " oh I'll see if that tastes yummy!" [​IMG]
     
  5. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I provide extra protein and a trace of calcium with hard boiled eggs. Now, I know you aren't at that point where you have older eggs in the back of your fridge, but I have 20+ chickens and I do sell eggs, so there's usually some back there that I won't sell to customers who think anything past 2 weeks is no longer fresh enough There's only me and Ken here, so we don't go through that many either. (When we do use eggs, I don't rinse or sterilize or pre-cook the shells - I just toss them in the chicken can with whatever other leftovers might be in there and then take it out and let 'em have it.)

    So back to using up the older eggs........I boil them up, then when they're cool I put them in plastic grocery bag and tie it shut. I put that inside another plastic grocery bag, tie it closed, and then put it on the counter and beat the stuffin' out of it. The reason for two bags is because eggshells are sharp, and doing the next step in a single bag could be a catastrophe! [​IMG] I smoosh and crush and roll the bags over and do it again until I have a bag of crushed hard boiled eggs with the shell and they are no longer recognizable as eggs. When the chickens see me coming out with a grocery bag they are falling all over themselves to be first! They love them!! I just dump the bag on the floor of the run. I mean, some folks want everything fed in a dishes, but scratching and hunting and pecking for food is as natural to chickens as breathing.

    You are on the right track to limit "treats" and give them a good diet. I don't worry too much about it, though. Mine are outside almost every day, eating whatever goodies they can find, they are all on All Flock for food with oyster shell provided at all times. I like a food a little higher in protein than layer food and because I have such a diverse flock - roos, hens, and younger birds - all at the same time, buying a separate food for all of them is not feasible. Besides, aside from having each group in a separate pen, you can't keep them out of each other's foods anyway.

    Mine love scratch, but the only time they get it is when it's time to go back into the run for the night. I couldn't give you a timetable on what "extras" I feed....if I have it they get it, if I don't they go without. Worked so far.....[​IMG]
     
  6. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    @Blooie I always love seeing your smiling face and hearing words from the wise! [​IMG]
     
  7. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    What a kind thing to say....thank you so much! I must admit, though, that if I'd been left to my own devices my chickens would be wearing little outfits, living in a heated, insulated palace, have a TV installed in the corner, hot running water, and steak and lobster for dinner. Yeah, I was getting pretty bad about overthinking and overpampering. But thanks to a lot of wise people, and a return of my previously-missing common sense, chicken keeping got a lot easier!
     
  8. Deweberbr

    Deweberbr Out Of The Brooder

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    I edited my original post... they are different ages.
     
  9. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Then if I were you instead of buying layer I'd put them on All Flock or Starter/grower and provide oyster shell. But that's just me.....I don't like things too complicated and I'm basically lazy. [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. Deweberbr

    Deweberbr Out Of The Brooder

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    May 25, 2016
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    So do I mix the oyster shell (just bought a big bag the other day) with their food or offer in another container? Also do I need to make the "scratch" or do I buy that somewhere?
     

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