Percentage of Greenery for Pellet-Fed Chickens?

aisha777

Chirping
Dec 29, 2015
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Austin, Texas
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Hi Everyone,

I am a new member of a chicken coop co-op at my community garden. The girls are fed pellets. I know chickens prefer to range in the grass, but these chickens are in a roofed, fenced enclosure with open air walls...so no free ranging.

On the positive side, it is a big, active community garden (vintage 1970's) where big compost piles are being turned with tractors and I can get fresh pulled weeds and greens any day I am there to feed them.

Does anyone know the percentage of greens versus grain pellets that chickens should have? 50-50?

I have about 20 chickens and they seem to scratch and peck through a wheel barrow full of greens in a day. Do they want more?
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
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Nov 27, 2012
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What kind of pellets?
What is the protein level in them?

Not sure you'd need to keep greens and weeds to a strict 10-15%.....
......not like you would nutrient deficient 'treat' types foods.

They'll be getting some bugs even in the run and they'll crave the protein in the pellets if they need it.
 

Macis Papa

In the Brooder
Nov 28, 2015
88
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Central Iowa
I don't think you can over do it with greens. It's not much different than free ranging them. They're still going to eat pellets, just not as much. When mine are free ranging they eat 25 to 30 % less pellets and lay about the same. Greens are not like scratch where they are eating it like candy. It also gives them something to do all day long. Just make sure that you have grit out for them.
 

Chris09

Circle (M) Ranch
10 Years
Jun 1, 2009
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If your feeding a run of the mill feed that is 16 to 18 percent protein then your best keeping treats (anything that is not there regular poultry feed) to about 10% of there diet. If your feeding a little better feed and the protein amount is 20/+ percent protein, treats should be kept at 15% or less of there diet.

Note ----

10 percent of there diet would be 10 pounds of treats (anything that is not there regular poultry feed) to every 90 pounds of poultry feed..
Another way to look at it is about 1.5 oz. of treats to 1 pound of poultry feed..
 

Percheron chick

Crowing
8 Years
Apr 12, 2013
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Chickens love a good compost pile. It is full of treasures. They can help speed things up as well as eating bug larvae to reduce use of pesticides and herbicides. Explore confined free ranging in a tractor or electric fence enclosure to reap the full benefits of gardening with chickens.
 
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Beekissed

Free Ranging
13 Years
Feb 14, 2008
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This world is not my home.
Green forage is not "treats"....if anything the pellets would be considered treats when thinking of the natural diet of birds. You really can't overfeed free choice greens...they will self regulate how much of any one food they consume if all feed is free choice. Put as many greens as you wish into that coop and run and they will choose what to eat and when to eat it.
 

QueenMisha

Queen of the Coop
Jan 14, 2015
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If your feeding a run of the mill feed that is 16 to 18 percent protein then your best keeping treats (anything that is not there regular poultry feed) to about 10% of there diet. If your feeding a little better feed and the protein amount is 20/+ percent protein, treats should be kept at 15% or less of there diet.

Note ----

10 percent of there diet would be 10 pounds of treats (anything that is not there regular poultry feed) to every 90 pounds of poultry feed..
Another way to look at it is about 1.5 oz. of treats to 1 pound of poultry feed.. 


Agreed.
 

Chris09

Circle (M) Ranch
10 Years
Jun 1, 2009
10,999
587
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Ohio
Green forage is not "treats"....if anything the pellets would be considered treats when thinking of the natural diet of birds. You really can't overfeed free choice greens...they will self regulate how much of any one food they consume if all feed is free choice. Put as many greens as you wish into that coop and run and they will choose what to eat and when to eat it.

Actually man created the subspecies Gallus gallus Domesticus (Chicken) and if you look at the natural diet of chickens you'll find that there natural diet is mostly grains, seed and meat.

Chickens regulate there food intake by the amount of calories in set food.
Chickens have a caloric need, once that caloric need is met they stop eating until they need to replenish there caloric need.
Chickens don't eat a lot of grass because it healthy for them but because it is low in nutrients (i.e. calories) and they need to eat more to fill there needs. In fact I think if you look at the digestive system of todays chicken you'll find that chicken do a very poor job of digesting grass, greens and other high fibrous foods.
 

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