Production Reds & Sweet Feed Question

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Ladysonja, Oct 11, 2008.

  1. Ladysonja

    Ladysonja Songster

    Jul 29, 2008
    Porter, Texas
    Hello All -

    I purchased 4 Production Red hens this morning approximately 12 months old. The new ladies are currently laying eggs each day and are in good health.

    When asked about the type feed given to his ladies to prevent diet issues, DH & I were told that he gave part laying feed and part horse sweet feed. He said that it helped put weight on his birds.

    I understand that sweet feed is full of sugar which can cause hyperactivity and aggresion.

    My Question:

    The new girls seem to be very high strung and a bit agressive even towards me. Could this be because of the sweet feed?

    I know that it will take the 4-12 months olds, 6-6 month olds and 9-3 month olds to find their pecking order, but I'm wonder how long it will take the new girls to come off their sweet feed high?

    I sure hope that someone has some advice otherwise the 4 new birds will be a very expensive chicken dinner and soon.
  2. CUDA

    CUDA Songster

    Mar 4, 2008
    Not sure about the feed causing their demeanor, but sweet feed shouldn't be fed to chickens, as molasses is a natural laxative to chickens...
  3. MandyH

    MandyH You'll shoot your eye out!

    I have about 40 production reds and they tend to be a little more jumpy and mean, but I'm used to my sweet cochins. I have a PR rooster that is very close to getting whacked in the head if he gets after me again. EVERYDAY he tries to chase me, of course I'm not scared of him but I make sure he doesn't go after the 3 year old dd.
    Edited to say: No mine do not get sweet feed, they just must have a death wish.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 12, 2008
  4. My girls are production reds, 19 weeks old and on laying feed plus occasional low-sugar treats like cukes, pumpkin, zucchini...the feedmaster at our co-op cautions against sugar and the pullets are in good weight and feathering nicely...
  5. hensdeliverthegoods

    hensdeliverthegoods Songster

    Dec 18, 2007
    Catawba County, NC
    I keep my sex-links on straight layer feed with occasional treats. They aren't going to be a real heavy bird anyway, because they are bred to lay. A good laying hen is always a bit on the lean side. [​IMG]

    Edited to add - They will probably settle down and be less flighty after you've had them for awhile. They're probably just reacting to stress right now.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2008
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I have never heard of feeding chickens sweet feed. Mine get their layer feed and treats in moderation. I do give the vegie scraps and excess out of my gardens. [​IMG]
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    for whatever it's worth, I asked here, two winters ago I think, about using SMALL amounts of sweet feed as scratch, and was told by a number of people that they do it with no problems. Certainly I've done it off and on (basically in wintertime) with no problems.

    I really dunno as I'd feed them a meaningful amount of it on an ongoing basis though.

    Last edited: Oct 12, 2008
  8. mtnhomechick

    mtnhomechick Songster

    Jun 27, 2008
    Mountain Home, AR
    Quote:Molasses is listed as in ingredient in Purina Flock Block.
  9. Ladysonja

    Ladysonja Songster

    Jul 29, 2008
    Porter, Texas
    Thanks All for the wonderful comments.

    I have heard of giving sweet feed to animals to help with weight in the winter, but not as part of a normal daily diet or partical supplement.

    If I heard the previous owner correctly, the sweet feed and laying feed was about 50%/50%. The girls are really plump and in good health, I just think the sugar in the sweet feed may have them a bit strung out and of course the new surroundings.

    Secondly, I think he only feed them once a day. I didn't see a constant food source or water source in the pen area so I'm sure it was survival of the fittest [​IMG] ?

    I guess it is the difference in the breeds of birds and of course the ages.

    This morning DH didn't have to show that he was the rooster in the hen house as mush as yesterday. We'll give it some time and see what comes of the new additions.

    Thanks again all -
  10. MandyH

    MandyH You'll shoot your eye out!

    If they were only being fed once a day that could have something to do with it. We have a pen that only gets fed once a day and they go CRAZY when you enter the pasture, much less pick up a feed bucket. The other pens of birds have food available 24/7 and they have a totally different demeaner. Once they get used to having feed available and know they are not going to starve to death, they will come around.

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