Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by jjthink, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Does anyone have any documentation that explains why corn is bad for birds to have in very hot weather, if indeed it is?

    My next door neighbors say they love my roo and hen, indeed want them to visit as much as possible. These neighbors have a number of bird feeders on our property line. My feathered friends love to hang out under their feeders to capture the fallout. The problem (?) is that the bird food they use has a bunch of corn in it. I have gently explained that I've read corn is bad for birds on really hot days (countless BYC posts say it's bad). These folks are happy-go-lucky-worry-about-absolutely-nothing kind of people so they give it not a thought. They just refilled the feeders with a corn-filled mixture and it's going to be in the 90s today with horrible humidity. So I locked up my birds, whose chance at a little freedom was to be today, Sunday.

    While it is my neighbor's right to fill their feeders with whatever they choose, if they were able to read something OFFICIAL (if corn is bad) and if I were to buy them birdseed that doesn't have corn, maybe they would be inclined to use non-corn birdseed mixtures in hot weather. Because of so many warnings on BYC, I'm spending crazy amounts of time I don't have scraping the corn off the ground before my feathered friends can get to it, an endless ritual because every time flying birds go to the feeders they knock more out. Only alternative is complete captivity for my birds, not good either.

    Is corn bad for all bird species in hot weather? This would be very very helpful to know. It's one thing to force the chickens into captivity - the dear hen is already furious with me - but it's another if they are also harming other bird species with the corn. I've never seen a feed store post a warning to stay away from corn in the summer. So is it just chickens that are affected? Doesn't seem logical.

    These are the type of folks who are nice but who laugh off anything serious - whatever will be will be - la di da - I'm sure I'm not the only one with neighbors like this. I have others that are better but others that are far worse so I want to work nicely with them.

    So, long story short, if you have any OFFICIAL info that might help, I'd sure be grateful for it - thanks! JJ
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2008
  2. DuckyBoys

    DuckyBoys Songster

    Apr 2, 2008
    I think the main argument for corn and heat generation is that it is easily digested by most species. That can be good or bad, depending. I'm not a poultry expert, I'm a horse expert and corn is almost always bad for horses for other reasons specific for the horse. Mainly, their backass digestive system.

    For cows, another species I'm well educated in, high energy dense forage generates considerable amounts of body heat due to metabolism. However, cows eat corn based feeds all the time in the summer and it doesn't make any difference. Corn is a high calorie feed, excess calories equals fat, fat is an insulator, animals keep warm. That is pretty much the theory.

    I'm not sure I could say that corn would harm your birds in the summer, but again my animal nutrition experience is with cows and horses. If the birds are overweight then they will generate more heat which could be a problem on very hot days. So logically speaking - if the birds are not overly fat, then corn in the summer should be fine.
  3. Cara

    Cara Songster

    Aug 30, 2007
    I think you should be thankful for the neighbours you have and move on. No serious harm is going to come to your chickens from eating a small amount of corn. You could have far worse problems with them being intolerant.
  4. momma's chickens

    momma's chickens Songster

    Mar 10, 2008
    I have to agree with Cara!
  5. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    Don't worry about it. The corn won't hurt them. I give my birds scratch everyday here in West Texas. It's an old wive's tale that corn will make them hotter. Corn is called a "hot" feed because it is much higher in calories per pound than other grains. People then mistakenly think that translates to body heat.

    CHICKENHEAD Songster

    Jan 20, 2008
    if corn is so bad, then what does everyone feed their roosters during the summer, egg ration or egg layer crumbles? Ive never had a problem with feeding my chickens scratch all summer.
  7. hooligan

    hooligan Songster

    Aug 20, 2007
    Corn just has more calories, give birds more energy, birds wanna burn off that extra energy and wind up getting themselves hot [​IMG]
  8. Ang

    Ang Songster

    Jan 2, 2008
    West Central Illinois
    Yep, what they said. We always upped the horses corn ration in the winter so they had additional calories to burn to stay warm and still keep their weight on. But corn doesn't actually make an animal hot.
  9. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Very interesting posts - thanks all so very much for taking the time out of your day to weigh in.

    Because there are countless warnings on BYC about not feeding corn in hot weather, I've taken those warnings pretty seriously...Particularly since it's not small amounts they eat. They wolf down an absolute ton of the stuff when under those feeders! You should see Annie go!

    And our weather gets rediculous - 110 sometimes 115 heat index with dew points through the roof. The air becomes a liquid - ugh! Everyone says feed corn in winter to warm up the birds so the warnings seemed logical, that is, that corn would likewise warm them up in summer.....

  10. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Quote:My roo gets a game bird maintenance feed in addition to sunflower seeds, fruits, veggies, Avia Charge 2000 in water.. Layer food is also available for the hen as well as oyster shell in case she eats some game bird maintenance and feels the need for some extra calcium. As I learned early on with BYC, scratch is a treat, not a maintenance diet (despite my dopey feed store telling everyone that scratch is what a roo's diet is supposed to be). Birds free ranging may be able to supplement scratch with the other things they need when nature is ample but this will not be the case in winter.


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