Newbie questions

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by MNBobcat, Feb 29, 2016.

  1. MNBobcat

    MNBobcat Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 18, 2011
    Hi Everyone,

    Someone just gave me 13 chickens (12 hens, 1 rooster) all about a year old. Two are silkies and the rest are some kind of heritage breed. I got a 5 x 8 coop with them and I built a 4 x 10 foot run for them. The run is temporary until the ground thaws and we can do something bigger.

    I read that we should put the waterer in the run and not in the coop. Since the chickens will get locked up in the coop at night, I take it they're only able to water during the day when they can be outside, right? You don't move the waterer in at night?

    I was given a five gallon pail of corn. Its whole kernels, not cracked. Apparently you can feed that corn as-is? I always thought that the corn had to be cracked or ground? We do have regular chicken feed, too, that we got from tractor supply. Just wanted to check what the deal was with the whole kernel corn.

  2. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    Chickens do only one thing at night - or at least they should only do one thing - and that's sleep. They don't see very well in the dark, so they don't need food or water at night. That said, there are plenty of folks here who keep their food and water in the coop. I don't - my setup is such that the pop door is always open, day and night, so they don't have to wait for me to come out and open their door to the run for them. They go in and out at will.

    Corn and the like are supplements, not a main diet. I can't speak about the differences between whole corn and the cracked corn - mine get scratch (a mixture of cracked corn and other seeds/grains) as a treat. Those treats should make up 10% or less of their diet, with the remainder a good quality chicken food. Now, mine will eagerly decimate an ear or two of dried corn if I toss it in the run, but again, as a treat, not as a diet.

    Since you have both a rooster and hens, I would suggest an All Flock, grower/starter, or Flock Maintenance food. Layer food is higher in calcium to allow for egg production, and roos don't need that calcium. When I have a mixed flock - layers, chicks and/or roosters, that's I feed grower/starter so everyone is on the same kind of food. If there are no chicks on the ground, then I'll do the All Flock or the Maintenance. But which ever I'm feeding, I always make sure the girls have access to a separate dish of oyster shell. They won't eat much of it - they just seem to know when they need it. And the chicks and roos might peck at it but they quickly move on and leave it alone.

    Hope this helps.....
  3. MaisyBird

    MaisyBird Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 27, 2016
    I would keep their water in the run. Like Blooie said, chickens don't drink water at night. And also, if I put my food and water in the coop, they poop in it as they sit up in the roosts. Then I have to deal with a poopy mess the next morning...
  4. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 7, 2016
    Saint Louis, MO
    You can feed whole corn as treats as long as they have grit. Their gizzards do fine at grinding it up.

    Cracked/ground corn requires less "processing" by the chicken, so it takes less energy to digest...allowing more energy to be put toward production (eggs or growth). In a small scale production, it really doesn't make enough of a difference to matter.
  5. MNBobcat

    MNBobcat Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 18, 2011
    Thanks for the replies. We do have a bucket of grit we keep in the coop. We're in a very cold climate so the coop door to the run is closed at night.
  6. holm25

    holm25 Jr Chicken Wrangler

    Apr 6, 2014
    Welcome! I feed my birds lots of cracked corn since thats all my turkeys will eat! Everyone enjoys it as a treat. I also give some whole corn as it helps our flock stay warm in our Minnesota winters!

    I water my birds in a blacjlk flexi tub outside if the coop. It does get dirty when my ducks and geese are done washing in it though!
  7. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Whole Corn is fine as is, just don't over feed it. Keep it about 10% of there diet or about 10 pounds of Corn to 90 pounds of there regular poultry feed.
  8. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Just a heads up, Corn does nothing for keeping animals warm when its cold.
    Corn keeping animals warm is a misunderstanding on what a HOT feedstuff is.
    The term HOT refers to energy amount and that the feedstuff is a high energy ingredient. Now corn is a high energy feedstuff BUT it the energy is burned up in the body very quickly and they need to eat again to fill there caloric needs.
    If you want to heat up livestock including poultry feed/ over feed protein and or high amounts of hard or indigestible fibers. Proteins and fibers take more energy to digest and in turn the body produces more body heat. In fact one of the main reasons for heat stroke in poultry on hot summer days is over feeding proteins...

    We can look at it like this,
    If corn heated up poultry there would be a lot of chickens dead from heat stroke since most poultry feed contain about 70% corn.
  9. MNBobcat

    MNBobcat Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 18, 2011
    I ordered some of the horizontal water nipples (off of ebay) that go into the sides of a bucket. But they won't be here until Monday.

    In the mean time, I have a cookie tin in which I'm going to put a magnetic heater that is usually used for heating the oil pan on a car. It sticks to the inside of the cookie tin. Seems to get about 120 degrees which I don't believe will melt the plastic on the waterer.

    One thing I'm concerned about is we have a little white silkie which is the smallest chicken. I'm not sure she would be able to reach the water if its sitting on that cookie tin. Anyone know? I guess I'm going to have to put it in the run and then watch and see that she can reach it for sure. From what we can tell, it does seem like they drink water at night. We've been keeping the waterer inside the coop but would prefer to keep it outside if the chickens aren't suffering from lack of water at night. We can't keep the door to the run open at night because it get's too cold here.

    Also, on average, how many pounds of feed would 13 chickens eat in a day? I think we put 2 pounds in the feeder today. They seem to eat a lot of food! Its pellets so I don't think much is going to waste.
  10. Braxton Brigade

    Braxton Brigade Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 2, 2015
    Braxton, Ms
    You don't want to keep water in the coop in the winter for one reason... FROSTBITE. Putting extra moisture in the coops is the exact opposite of what you want, plenty of humidity builds up from the birds respiration alone. Ventilations would be extremely important for those who keep water in the coop. Chickens eat about 1/4 pound to 1/2 pound of feed each per day, in the winter they eat more because they need the calories to burn for warmth, they are also finding less grass, bugs and things to eat on their own.

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