Salt?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by CritterFarmer, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. CritterFarmer

    CritterFarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 28, 2009
    Ontario
    Does anyone offer salt free-choice for their birds?

    Our layers our free range, have a hopper of layer mash indoors, a scoop of scratch grain tossed in the hay daily and thrown outdoors as well. Their outdoor fenced area is looking a little sad these days as nothing's growing yet (heck we just got more snow today!). And now, for the first time I've been noticing some feather picking/eating.

    Since the layer mash is only a portion of their diet, I'm not sure they're getting enough salt, and I've seen a few recommendations on giving chickens salt free-choice which I'd like to do.

    As well, are black-oil sunflower seeds sufficient for upping the protein?
     
  2. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Um, salt is toxic to chickens...
    Your layer ration is higher in protein than scratch so is probably a better choice now that it's warmer.
    I'm assuming your layer ration contains grit and oyster?
    I think if you offer layer ration only and forget the scratch you may see improvement.
    If you want faster protein boost, also offer them some yogurt, cooked egg, or cooked ground meat scraps...
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2009
  3. CritterFarmer

    CritterFarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 28, 2009
    Ontario
    I understand the toxicity of salt, hence why it would be free-choice and not added to food or water. I've never done it before, but I've seen it referenced in a few books and articles now that I'm thinking maybe it wouldn't hurt to give the birds the option, if they so need it.

    They don't get much scratch right now, but the pasture is of such low quality right now (too early) that I'm not sure if they're getting everything they need.
     
  4. SandraChick

    SandraChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Absolutely no need for salt. There are birds that require salts (pigeons for example)...but not chickens.

    Feather eating on the other hand is a sign of protein deficiency. BOSS is a great treat during feather eating because it has a sulfure based protein in it that is now readily found in the enviroment (or feed) that is necessary for feather growth. Chickens will often begin eating feathers when they need this protein.

    Feather picking can also be a boredome issue. Hanging some treats just out of their reach so they have to jump to get it, is a good way to give them some entertainment. A favorite for this method is a head of cabbage, but you can use almost any larger treat.

    Sandra
     
  5. CritterFarmer

    CritterFarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 28, 2009
    Ontario
    Thanks [​IMG]

    And again the controversy over salt [​IMG] Still, I've seen references to chickens given salt free-choice however in practice it seems no-one does it!

    A few examples:
    Storey's Guide to Rasing Poultry
    http://www.geocities.com/solarcereal/Biophilia5b.html
    http://www.lionsgrip.com/intro.html

    They go outside daily and over the winter, and still now, usually once a week or so they get "cabbage on a rope". So I don't think they're bored at all... hence why I'm thinking there's something lacking.
     
  6. DustytheFarmer

    DustytheFarmer New Egg

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    Mar 17, 2013
    Even though this thread is ancient, im compelled to respond.

    i'm creating a custom chicken feed for my layers & later for meat as well. I look at a lot of recipes, and I have definitely seen salt in layer mashes from feed producers. I do not think that salt is toxic to chickens. Salts are necessary for all complex metabolic organisms, but in low quantities. And especially low quantities for chickens is what my research is revealing.
     
  7. DustytheFarmer

    DustytheFarmer New Egg

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    Mar 17, 2013
    referenced from http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...i43cgJEtvSGmezRd-n4HjcA&bvm=bv.43828540,d.aWM

    Even though the body only contains about 0.2% sodium, it is essential for life and is highly
    regulated. About half of the sodium in the body is in the soft tissues of the body; the other half in
    bones (129). Sodium makes up about 93% of the basic mineral elements in the blood serum and is
    the chief cation regulating blood pH. The ability of muscles to contract is dependent on proper
    sodium concentrations. Sodium plays major roles in nerve impulse transmission and the rhythmic
    maintenance of heart action (129). Efficient absorption of amino acids and monosaccharides from
    the small intestine requires adequate sodium (184).

    The other nutrient in salt, chloride, is also essential for life. Chloride is the primary anion in blood,
    and represents about two thirds of its acidic ions. The chloride shift, movement of chloride in and
    out of the red blood cells, is essential in maintaining the acid-base balance of the blood. Chloride is
    also a necessary part of the hydrochloric acid produced by the stomach which is required to digest
    most foods.



    What i need to find out is if they free-choice is well, and if i can mix 50/50 salt kelp together for them
     

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