Questions regarding nutritional value of corn?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Yoshii, May 3, 2009.

  1. Yoshii

    Yoshii Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi all, I just had a few questions regarding chicken feed and the ingredients therein.

    Now, I haven't been raising chickens very long at all, and I'm nowhere near as well-read about the dietary and nutritional requirements of avians as I am about, say, dogs or ferrets, heh. However, I like to try my best, and I'd like to give my birds the absolute best in the way of nutrition. So, keeping in mind that my knowledge of animal nutrition is chiefly pertaining to mammals, could anyone well-read on poultry nutrition help me out with a concern I have?

    The first thing I notice when I grab 90% of chicken feeds is that it's made pretty much entirely of corn! Now, all of my knowledge about feeding my dogs makes me BALK immediately at this! Now, certainly not trying to get on any high horse here, but for the uninformed, corn is generally a very poor thing to have in dog food for a host of reasons (minimal nutritional value + very common allergen + primarily used a cheap filler etc etc, for anyone genuinely curious, I can go on). So, years of reading dog food ingredient lists specifically to avoid corn, I'm not sure what to think?

    Is poultry digestion and dietary needs so dramatically separated from mammalian ones that corn is actually, like, awesome for them and I need to stop comparing chickens to dogs xD? Or this another matter of ignorance -- I hate to use such a harsh word, but ignorance in the same way that 90% of the dog foods you can buy at the grocer are made mostly of corn and the average consumer don't even bat an eye at it?

    If corn is good for chickens, can someone give me a fairly detailed explanation as to why (and not to be any way, but a more scientific one than "well that's what they've always eaten" or such, because animals certainly don't choose the best for themselves, unless my dog knows better than me and roadkill and chocolate are actually the pinnacle of canine health xD). Search hasn't yielded any answers, at least to my specific question of "corn as it pertains to avian health relative to mammalian health", and I was hoping someone with a little more book-smarts than me about chickens could help.

    And, if my apprehensions about corn are well-founded, can anyone give me any recommendations as to alternative chicken feeds?

    Thanks so much for reading all of this and bearing with me, you guys are so helpful ^^;.
  2. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    My advice would be to switch feeds until you find one that has less corn in it. I'm no expert, but all I know is feeding them corn constantly leads to fat chickens with no vigor and dull feathers. The only time I recommend feeding corn is if you're trying to fatten them up for butchering. I usually cut my birds' feed with oats.
  3. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    I feed my dog raw (prey model) so yeah, feeding chickens is an entire 180 from what I'm used to!!!

    I'm pretty sure chickens can eat almost anything. Unlike dogs, grain is good for them.

    For what it's worth, Dumor chick starter's first ingredient is ground milo, second is ground corn, so [​IMG]
  4. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    The food industry, livestock & pet feed industry, and "King Korn" in general has gotten a lot of bad press lately. Probably much of it has been deserved.

    Corn in poultry feed is primarily there for its calories. Unless the mill is using corn gluten, the protein is coming from other ingredients.

    As a source of calories (energy), there are some others: Tala has mentioned milo; ChickenToes talks about oats; wheat, barley and other grain sorghums could be thrown into the mix.

    Richard J. Julian, a veterinary pathologist at the University of Guelph in Ontario gives some advice on "Poultry Husbandry." His booklet is online as a service from poultry veterinarians. Dr. Julian talks about alternatives and talks about an upward limit of 65% of corn in formulas.

    That's a major part of a ration but corn as the greatest part of a chicken's diet isn't uncommon. For the purpose of egg and meat production, the poultry producers makes a great deal of use of corn. The feed industry supplies them (and us) with chicken food. To make it on our own could get difficult if we are expecting the high production these birds are capable of. (There are breeds that are better at foraging and the expectations for production are lower.)

    There's been a lot of change in the plant but at its basic level, corn is a grass. Chickens eating grass seed certainly doesn't seem unnatural. They have an omnivore's diet and there are commercial feeds out there that are 100% plant-based. A dog is more carnivorous than a chicken. Cats and, I'd imagine, ferrets take the meat-eating a step farther but those are quite different animals from your scratching-around-for-a-living chicken.

    . . . just my 2¢.

  5. Glenda L Heywood

    Glenda L Heywood Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2009
    I find the feed that most of us want to use for chickens diet is 16% protein
    regardless of the first most ingredient
    which is corn in most instances

    that Domer feed that the first ingredient is MILO
    Make a note MILO takes Vitamin A out of the birds body and WOULD NOT be good for the HATCHING of eggs

    as the females as well as the males need Vitamin A for making the eggs hatch

    so I would not use a feed that has mostly Milo in it

    The use of corn only gives 9-10% protein so they are having to put some "UMPT" in the feed to boost the protein

    corn has been the most used feed for chickens
    I prefer treats of whole oats as a feeder full as well as feeder full of the crumbles
    always feeder of grit

    Chickens were brought to the Americas from the foreign countries and they used grains to feed them
    after a while the old timers found out for more protein they needed meat by products
    soon there was a balanced diet for chickens
    I like to suggest that you go to
    enter lions grip feed recipes

    CHICKEN FEED: Feed Recipes Feed formulas formulae blend recipes ... Feed formulas formulae blend recipes for natural chicken feed, baby chicks, raising and feeding chickens by traditional methods and organically. - 30k - Cached - Similar pages

    CHICKEN FEED: Main Menu Information exchange on natural, organic chicken feed and poultry nutrition, ... With Lions Grip Traction Pads. MAIN MENU Introduction · Feed Recipes ... - 44k - Cached - Similar pages

    More results from »
    credits May 9, 2006 ... Chicken Feed. Lions Grip. 11 April 2006 <>. Chicken Recipes. ... - 27k - C

    you can spend a couple days there and get the sense of the modern day and old timey feed recipes etc
  6. cybercat

    cybercat Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2007
    Greeneville, Tn
    Well, since you are educated on dog foods then you know how bad corn is. It is no differnet for chickens. It is cheap and a filler so it is used the most in chickens feed. If you check you yellow pages under feed store you might find one that you can buy to make your own feed. The other grains are much better than corn when it comes to chickens. Although soy is another nono in dog food as well for many in chickens feed.

    The main reason chicken is so bad in many dog food is because of the corn and soy fed chickens that go into the dog food. It is the chemicals to keep these plants bug free and produce more that are the problems. There is feed out there that are corn and soy free but they are not cheap to get in as only a few make them. Much easier to blend your own from local sources. Co-op is great for the or a feed mill.

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