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Newbie question

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by lilbear412, Jan 24, 2016.

  1. lilbear412

    lilbear412 Out Of The Brooder

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    I thought i had this all figured out then i started watching some shows on chickens and now i am confused.. lol
    I plan to get up to about 6 layers. I know when they are chicks i will feed them a starter feed. Thats no problem. but when they are in growing stage and laying stage thats when i get confused. Ha. [​IMG] I would like to make my own feed as i heard its probably a lot less expensive. This would be like cracked corn, wheat, kelp, flax, etc... I am not sure when i would start feeding them this? How much??? Is this their main food? I would rather feed them this natural organic non gmo food (that will eventually land on plate and in my belly) then the pellets and such. So i am pretty clear on the starter feed for new chicks.... after that is that when you move into the scratch and peck type food or home made mixs? Do you still have a feeder that you offer other foods constantly or no feeder? oh and i plan on mostly doing backyard chickens. Mostly in a coop and run and only occassionally free ranging in my yard. help and thanks for any answers...
     
  2. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

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    Hi Lilbear,

    It's good you are doing your research before you get chickens. So much information out there, and much of it conflicting. You kind of have to figure out what works best for you.

    I feed a No corn, no soy, non-GMO, organic food. Yes, Scratch and Peck. [​IMG] (Starter for the first 8 weeks, grower until I see the first egg, and layer after that since they need the higher calcium.) They also have free-choice oyster shells and often get goodies from the garden - carrot tops, leafy greens, etc.

    At one time I thought about making my own feed, but wasn't sure I could get the right mix in the right amounts in a small enough quantity that it wouldn't spoil by the time they finished it. (Much easier to buy separate bags of grains, kelp and nutri-balancer in large amounts - I don't have the space to mix and store 500 lbs of food!)

    Start researching feed formulas and where you can get all the ingredients, how much it will cost, and where you will store it.

    Most of all, have fun and [​IMG]
     
  3. lilbear412

    lilbear412 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks Friday for the answer. Thats exactly what i want to do is do the scratch and peck no corn non gmo organic. But i was confused with the pellets and the scratch and peck. So many people say feed pellets and scratch foods are just for treats but i just wasn't sure. Then i thought if i can find some organic pellets i could mix the oats in with the pellets and that would work. lol i have been researching mills that will mix so i don't have to buy 500 lbs. lol
     
  4. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

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    The brand name "Scratch and Peck" is a bit confusing, because the company sells starter, grower, layer, and even scratch. Scratch, when most people say it, is usually cracked corn or other grains that are used as a treat, not as a complete food.

    The Scratch & Peck company makes much of it's food with whole grains and is considered a "mash" instead of cooking the grains and extruding it into pellets, like the bigger feed companies do. Poultry feed can also be sold as a crumble, which is like broken bots of pellets. Kind of confusing until you get into it.

    If you can find a local mill that mixes feed, that can be a great way to go. I can't find one that doesn't use conventional grains around here, so I stay with ordering in the bagged Scratch & Peck feed. (But I also give my birds sunflower seeds and cracked corn I grew myself as "scratch" for treats.)
     
  5. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    This might help some...

    Starter --
    A balanced feed meant as the sole ration for chicks from hatching to twelve weeks of age.
    At 12 weeks of age the birds can be changed to Grower or Developer. Starter can be Medicated or Non-Medicated when Medicated it is with either Amprolium or Lasalocid. Starter is available in Mash, Crumble or Pellet form

    Stater/ Grower --
    A balanced feed meant as the sole ration for chicks from hatching to chickens begin to lay, this feed can be Medicated or Non-Medicated. If medicated it will be with either Amprolium or Lasalocid. Starter/ Grower is available mostly in Crumble or Pellet form.

    Grower --
    Feed as the sole ration to chicks 12 weeks of age as a finisher. Grower feed is meant to feed until the chickens begin to lay, then bird can be switched to a complete Laying. Most Grower feed is Non-Medicated but some are Medicated with Bacitracin. Grower is mostly available in available in Crumble or Pellet form.

    Finisher -- See above for Grower

    Layer --
    Feed as the sole diet to laying hens maximum production of eggs. Do not feed Layer feed to poultry, which are not in production because of the high calcium levels in the diet. This is particularly true of young growing birds. Layer is available in Mash, Crumble or Pellet form.

    Layer/ Breeder --
    Feed as the sole diet to laying hens and breeders for maximum production and for improved hatchability. Do not feed Layer feed to poultry, which are not in production because of the high calcium levels in the diet. This is particularly true of young growing birds. Layer/ Breeder is available in Pellet form.

    Now to make life easy you can feed a good unmediated chick starter or a starter/ grower there whole life and just offer oyster shells to them when they start laying. I would recommend a feed that is a minimum 20% protein.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  6. lilbear412

    lilbear412 Out Of The Brooder

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    thanks for all your answers...i think what i am trying to really ask is.... do you all feed your chickens (in a feeder) pellets or whole grains? Do you feed pellets as a primary food and the scratch and peck as a treat or do you feed the whole grain form as primary food?
     
  7. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pellets, crumbles, or mash is their main food and then scratch as a treat. scratch and peck main foods, such as starter grower etc. are their main food source and the scratch is the treat.
     
  8. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

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    Scratch & Peck doesn't make pellets, it's a grain mix with nutrients. It's their main food - I open the bag and fill up their feeders, so no they don't get pellets.

    I make my own scratch, and that is their treat. (Along with greens and kitchen scraps.)
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    You've been given excellent information and advice so far.
    I think one of your conflicts is in the terms scratch and peck.
    Scratch and Peck is a brand of chicken feed. Scratch grains are a mix of grains spread on the ground as a treat for the chickens to peck at which satisfies one of their behavioral needs.
    Scratch and Peck, along with most other brands of organic feed do not come in pellets because few binding agents used to extrude pellets are approved for organic feedstuffs.
    Chicken feed, whether organic or conventional, is formulated to provide all the nutrients chickens are known to need based upon the age they are intended to feed.
    You won't be able to provide that complete nutrition at the correct ratios by mixing grains yourself at anywhere near the cost of a bag of feed.
    It is the economy of scale. Feed mills buy grains by the trainload, you're buying them by the 50# bag. They are buying supplements in the form of vitamins, minerals, fats and amino acids by the ton. You can't do that at low cost.
    Chickens are omnivores evolved in lands with a wide variety of vegetation and animal protein and need a tremendous variety of nutrients to meet their needs.
    You can't be sure they're getting the right amount of things like vitamin D, E, copper, selenium, etc. by mixing your own grains.
    Grains are the main ingredients in feed but mostly for the energy they provide. The vitamins, minerals, fats and amino acids they contain are taken into consideration when mills decide what supplements are necessary to add.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. lilbear412

    lilbear412 Out Of The Brooder

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    i was thinking to make the process easier and if i can't find a mill, i will just feed my hens organic pellets or granules (which i found online) and then the grains once a day fermented or dry and watch their weights and egg production. I would give the pellets or granules free choice 24/7 in feeders and the grains once a day basically just for something different. I might do fermented grains one day and i am also thinking about doing things like sprouts. So just vary their feed and in the summer "weed" greens and garden stuff. I will get a bag of feed just to keep them scratching and doing what chickens do as a treat also. I have also read that you can do the pellets or granules 24/7 and also fill a pan of oat mixture and feed that 24/7 for a free choice also but only in the winter when here in MN it gets cold but they probably don't need that choice in the summer with all the bugs and garden greens (thinnings) and table scraps and such. thanks again for all your answers... :)
     

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