Ok, this is what I am feeding the girls, tell me what's wrong?


In the Brooder
11 Years
May 7, 2008
I have 9 ladies in a large area.

My friends says that the ONLY thing she feeds her chicks are scratch, but I am wondering if that is not Ok after reading the treats list?

I bought the layer pellets, but they HATE it!
Usually they stay on the ground making yellow jackets food instead.

So I tossed up this mixture and they will eat some, but not all of it.
(again they hate the pellets only eat when nothing else is left)
Equal amounts of each....
1. Starter
2. Laying pellets
3. Scratch
4. soft Red Wheatberries
(a farmer live next to us and raises grain he let me glean his fields for scraps)
5. Oyster shell (seel below)

Then 2x a week they get yogurt with starter
Occassionally cottage cheese.
many x a week they get scraps from kitchen (0 potato peels, 0 onions)

I have not been feeding grit, rocks are plentiful, but I am thinking I should add this?

The oyster shell available in this area to buy is all so "powdery" & ends up on the ground.

Do you see anything that I should change?

Should I still "make" them eat the layer pellets?
Should I add grit to diet?

Anything else I should be giving them?

(I have 1 girl with NO shell on her eggs everytime) :mad:

Heather J

11 Years
May 29, 2008
I wouldn't worry about adding grit if they have access to sand/dirt. if the rest of your layers are producing good shells, and the no-shell layer is a newer layer, i wouldn't worry too much about the soft shells unless they've gone on for weeks, and weeks.

if it were me, I would try mixing more feed with the yogurt, but make it layer feed. Also, if you're going to feed kitchen scraps and it has sauce in it, make sure to incorporate layer feed into it. You may even want to buy some layer crumbles for sneaking into their food instead of the pellets if they are being picky about it. Some birds are picky about pelletcs vs crumbles as well, so it might pay to try crumbles just to see if they will eat it. You can also create a mash from the pellets with some milk and oats or something to soften them up and hide them among the food they like.

Good luck, and I hope someone else chimes in with ideas!


11 Years
Sep 4, 2008
Central Ohio
I'd reduce the amount of scratch you are feeding. Most contain a lot of corn that doesn't have as much protein as the layer feed and fills them up. I usually use my scratch as a treat (like to get everyone in the coop early).


Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
14 Years
Nov 9, 2007
SW Arkansas
Also, what kind of starter are you feeding? Around here you can't get non-medicated starter unless you order it. Grown chickens don't need the medication.
I'm one of those that believes scratch is a cool weather snack, not a primary food.
I guess I've never given my chickens much choice. If they are still hungry after free ranging they'll eat what's in their feeders and that happens to be layer pellets. They eat lots of it too. Snacks are just that, snacks.


12 Years
Aug 28, 2007
Stillwater, NJ
What age are these birds?

If they are laying - you dont need starter.

If not laying - you dont need layer food as it has too much calcium for young ones.

Oyster shell should not be mixed with food but placed in a separate bowl. They will only eat this when needed and only if they are laying.

As far as scratch, I dont use it, it is usually all filler junk. The chickens pick out the stuff they like best and then will leave the rest. I would only use scratch when it starts to get colder and then only use occasionally feeding later in the afternoon.

If they are of laying age and will not eat pellets, you can buy egg layer crumbles as well.

If they are freerangeing or have access to ground anywhere in a pen, they should not need extra grit.

edited to say: I just saw you mentioned one was laying. If she has no shell on the egg, she may have a calcium deficiency or absorption problem. Start with eliminating all that extra food and offer only egg layer crumbles or pellets, which ever and free choice oyster shell. This should solve it. If not, in addition to the above, also add in a vitamin program like avia charge 2000, that will take care of any absorption or deficiency problems. Good luck to you.
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11 Years
Aug 16, 2008
Brooksville, Fl
Try to get layer "crumbles"-alot of birds don't like the pellets,
a little scratch now and again is ok I guess.
I cut a milk jug down to make it a feeder and filled it with oyster shell and hung it in the corner and only the hen that lays eats it. The others don't even look at it, they should strt laying in the next month I guess
I do give them scraps of bread and occasional friut and oh how they love yogurt!
and a handful of cat food once in a while


In the Brooder
11 Years
Sep 11, 2008
they are chickens make them eat layer mash.

the issue with scratch is that they will what they like and not everything. they don't get what they need. (info from the nice lady at my local farm coop)

mash they are forced to get a well balanced diet.

I mix 25% scratch 25% flax (we like omega 3) 50% mash
no grit, no oyster. they free range a .5 acre fenced yard and they eat loads of crickets and weed / grass and grit they have to find on their own.

We get great eggs with good solid shells.

I hope I added something to this.


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Jan 30, 2007
They won't eat any kind of layer if your feeding them scratch first...I don't feed scratch til winter and cold weather set in and then only in the evening to keep their bodies warm at night, scratch or cracked corn stay in their crops and doesn't not digest quickly like layer feeds..it heats their bodies...Scratch and cracked corn are like candy to them and of course they will eat that first before a diet of good layer....

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