I'm new to chickens and would like some suggestions of feed for them? I know you get the chick grower for the babies, but what do you feed grown laying hens? I've heard soemthing about oyster shell along with regular feed?
You feed the chicks Chick Starter, until they've outgrown that. Then you feed them All Purpose Poultry Crumbles while they're not laying eggs. Once they start laying eggs, you'll switch them to Layer Crumbles, which has some oyster shell stuff made in it. You can also give them some cracked corn in winter, when its cold (if it gets cold where you are) to give them extra energy to keep warm. You can also give them sunflower seeds, cheerios, canned corn, lettuce, apples, berries, oatmeal, yogurt, and bread (in moderation) as treats, and they'll love you!
Not to hi-jack the thread, but I've been feeding scratch grains to my free-range layers since they went off the chick starter and have been having good results. Chickens are approaching 1 year, so they are young layers. We've experienced very high egg production and shells seem to be fine. Is there a reason why I should change over to layer crumbles? We currently have BRs, RIRs, and SLWs. This year, I'll be introducing our young flock to them that also have GLWs, Australorps, NHRs, and Light Brahmas. Thanks!
It depends on what your scratch grains consist of.
I feed the layer pellets (free choice) to make sure I am getting 16% protein into my hens.
I also supplement them with plain yogurt, scrambled eggs & water-packed sardines for added protein.
They have a bowl of oyster shell & another of grit available at all times.
My "scratch" is a 50/50 mix of whole oats & black oil sunflower seeds & is given as a treat not in place of the freechoice feed.
I'm betting that you have beendoing well, and would contiue to do well, feeding "scratch" in addition to free roaming. If your birds are like my girls, everything is gobbled up. Bugs, worms, spilled grain, stolen grain, etc. I don't feed scatch because there is plenty of grain to "find" around the farm already!
Maybe you could try to evaluate the combine foods that your birds eat in a week and gestimate: good protein content (16% for layers) from bugs and grain combined; you offer grit and oyster shells, loads of energy from the scratch. Are there mutiviatmins for chickens? If production is great and girls are healthy . . . .supplement with both scratch and a complete feed for layers. . . .and a multi vitamin, too!