Overdoing the BOSS?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Kinney's Urban Ranch, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. Kinney's Urban Ranch

    Kinney's Urban Ranch In the Brooder

    Oct 28, 2010
    Capitol Hill, Denver, CO
    I have mixed in BOSS and Oyster Shell into my normal layer mix and have noticed that my girls are picking out the BOSS and leaving the feed on the floor of their coop. This concerns me because I don't want them to have a poor ratio of the nutrients that they need, but they appear extremely happy and healthy and are all laying normally.

    Should I cut the BOSS out of their feed and only offer it as a treat or supplement?

    Thanks much!

  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Personally (I am not a chicken nutrition expert) I don't mind it if the chickens eat a lot of BOSS. You do need to be concerned about fatty liver disease from too many seeds I have read, but I have found that (because my feed mix is very heavy on seeds) my chickens always get tired of seeds and migrate back to the grains when they need to.

    I would make them clean up all the feed if you are giving them the day's worth all at once before you give them more, as you don't want old feed sitting around unless it is in a nice tidy feeder that they will eat from daily.

    Alternatively, you could give them a BOSS pan and when it's gone, it's gone...they'll have to go over to their regular feed. BOSS has about 16% protein (as does layer feed) so you aren't starving them for protein by feeding BOSS. (See my BYC page for how much BOSS is in my mix if you like.)

    I hope this helps.
  3. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    My suggestion: feed the oyster shell and the BOSS in separate feeders.

    My experience with putting treats into the regular feeder is that they will scratch out their feed in order to dig out the treats.

    I like to put oyster shell out separately and have it available 24/7 so that any bird that needs calcium can have all they need.
  4. Kinney's Urban Ranch

    Kinney's Urban Ranch In the Brooder

    Oct 28, 2010
    Capitol Hill, Denver, CO
    That was very helpful, thank you. I wonder, then, if I should continue to mix the oyster shell into the feed or separate that out, as well?

    For now, however, I think we will let the hens finish the last bits of their "mixed feed" and then will move on to the separate and finite dish method.

    Thanks kindly!!!

  5. I would keep the oyster shell separate too.

    I have a big feeder with only laying crumbles. I also have a big tote to keep a mix of scratch,BOSS and millets. I use the mix as a treat to train the chickens to come when I call and also I throw it out in a large area so they get extra exercise and entertainment. They love it! [​IMG]

  6. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Songster

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    I feed laying pellets separate & its available 24/7. I provide oyster shell separate 24/7. All seeds are provided from a concealed tupperware container. This container helps me lure the chickens back into their coop are wherever I want them to be. I shake it they come heck they see it they come. I toss all seeds from the container on the ground. Its a handy tool for maneuvering your chickens to & fro.
  7. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I do the same as 7l Farm does. It concerns me when people mix oyster shell or grit in with feed that chickens may get more of something they don't need. I don't know of any research on this, though. Mine will definitely eat all the BOSS first if I put a little in with the feed.
  8. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    We toss a handful of sunflower seed a few times a day for winter treat and added fat. The feeder has only layer pellets and that has the added calcium needed so never worry about it. If their egg shells did start getting thin I'd just feed back their shells after we use the egg, But that's never happened, plenty of calcium in the layer feed.
  9. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I agree with the others about putting the oyster shell separately.

    I do mix my oyster shell in, since my feed has zero calcium added (homemixed) and if I don't the eggshells DO get too thin. They are perfect with the shells mixed in. They do leave them at the bottom of the feeder and don't consume them all.

    All this is past tense since I am waiting for my new chicks to get here Jan. 30! We are going back to large fowl.

  10. Christie Rhae

    Christie Rhae Songster

    Jul 5, 2010
    Big Island, Hawaii
    How old are your chickens? My girls did not eat BOSS when they were younger unless I soaked it and softened it up first. I actually had to show them that there was something yummy inside. lol
    But now that my birds are full grown they will eat BOSS and nothing else if I mix it in with their feed. They love them. Seems chickens tastes change as they get older.

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