Nutrition makes a BIG difference!! - PICS ADDED 09/02


10 Years
Jun 8, 2009
Pliny, West Virgina
I would never do this experiment on purpose as it would seem cruel to part of the flock, HOWEVER I am amazed to see the comparison between two groups of chickens that were actually out of the same hatch but have been fed different nutritional diets.

First I’ll explain the situation: I ordered 50 ISA Browns pullets from Townline Hatchery that were delivered back in the middle of April 2011. When they were delivered I sold a friend 5 or 6 of the pullets since they did not want to order a large quantity. As these birds grew I find that my pullets are beginning to lay very early, in fact at about 16 weeks. Presently they are about 19 weeks old and I suspect about half of them are already laying(I gathered 18 eggs yesterday). I understand that even within my own group some of these hens will mature sooner than others.

So I have had some laying now for the last 3 weeks but as I talk to my friend, who I sold 5 or 6 pullets to earlier this year, I find that he has not had any eggs yet. When I inquire about their diets he informs me that he has been feeding cracked corn since they were about 5 weeks old. I explained that was not a good idea as that is more of a treat rather than a full time diet and I suggested he should immediately get them on grower feed.

I went to visit his pullets and I was really surprised to see the difference in size and maturity of these birds when I compare them knowing that these were out of the same hatch.

My pullets were fed medicated chick feed for the first month and then grower feed till the first eggs, and then of course layer feed. They have had plenty of food available at all times with access to a grassy run.

The other group was fed chick feed for the first 5 weeks and then cracked corn till today. They have also had full access to all they wanted to eat with access to grassy run.

Here are recent picture of both flocks. If there was ever a question in the need for good high protein diet while chicks are growing... it is very clear to me now.
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8 Years
Jul 20, 2011
Melbourne FL
Proteins really are the building blocks of life.... an animal can get by on insufficient nutrition, but that's just it... it'll get by.

Sounds like you are doing a great job & glad you are there to help mentor your clueless friend.


Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
South Georgia
I've read of studies or observations similar to this before, with similar results.

Adding table scraps and free range to the cracked corn is a traditional way of raising chickens around here -- with similar results. The manager of one of our feed stores regards cracked corn as "chicken food," though they carry layer, etc. A lumber / hardware store decided to put in a few feeds a while back -- corn for chickens, and a few others, like rabbit feed. It's "the way Grandma did it," at least in some areas. Now "Grandma" often had a house full of extended family, and no electric refrigerator, so maybe the table scraps (leftovers) were more nutritious then.

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