Still confused on what to feed chickens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by CrazyBirdLady, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. CrazyBirdLady

    CrazyBirdLady Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 20, 2009
    Salem / Redgranite
    Okay... I read a lot of the posts, but I still have some questions. I notice a lot that everyone has their own opinion or way and not one way is the "right" way for everyone. But I want to get the facts and make sure my chickens aren't starving.

    So please correct me if I'm wrong:
    *Grit - sand/dirt to help them digest; free range chickens shouldn't need it except in the winter
    *Oyster/egg shells - calcium for better egg shell production; offer at all times and they'll eat what they need
    *Scratch - this is "warm" food like corn; offer on cold mornings and during the winter.
    *Daily food - most food will come from free ranging and scraps; I read the list, know what NOT to feed

    Questions:
    What does "chicken food" generally consist of?
    Is it best to put it out at dusk to "lure" the chickens home?
    Do I leave it out 24/7 or pick it up after I lock up the coop?
    If I offer scratch in the winter do I leave it out 24/7?

    Thanks in advance oh wonderous chicken know-it-alls! [​IMG]
     
  2. soctippy

    soctippy Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 22, 2007
    the three primary ingredience in chicken food is: soaybean meal, wheat, and corn. there are also vitimins and trace minerals added, in some cases they also add antibiotics.
    around dusk chickens will naturally go bak to their chicken house to sleep, so hopefully no bribing required.
    I leave food out 24-7 but if you are having problems with rodents or predators it would also be fine to remove the feed for the nignt.
    I have never used scratch so i have nothing to write.
     
  3. Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Scratch is an incomplete feed that does NOT increase the chickens body temperature of the chicken. It is to be used to give the Care Taker a 'warm fuzzy' for giving their chickens something to enjoy.

    Jim
     
  4. WA4-Hpoultrymom

    WA4-Hpoultrymom Never enough coops...

    Feb 5, 2009
    Monroe, WA
    My Coop
    Chicken feed, layer feed, game feed, contains a lot of protein. I mostly have laying hens, so we use the layer pellets. If your birds were not free ranging, it would be their primary source of protein. I do provide this at all times, even though the birds are let out to free range most days.

    I don't leave scratch out, I throw a few handfuls in the run for them to peck and scratch at. If they were confined in the coop I'd just put it on the floor instead of outside. Gives them something to do.
     
  5. CrazyBirdLady

    CrazyBirdLady Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 20, 2009
    Salem / Redgranite
    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay :

    Quote:Scratch is an incomplete feed that does NOT increase the chickens body temperature of the chicken. It is to be used to give the Care Taker a 'warm fuzzy' for giving their chickens something to enjoy.

    Then it seems that I have misread something... Can someone please tell me what examples of warm foods are? Warm foods being foods that help increase a chickens body temperature, if there is such a thing.​
     
  6. Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Scratch is an incomplete feed that does NOT increase the chickens body temperature of the chicken. It is to be used to give the Care Taker a 'warm fuzzy' for giving their chickens something to enjoy.

    Then it seems that I have misread something... Can someone please tell me what examples of warm foods are? Warm foods being foods that help increase a chickens body temperature, if there is such a thing.

    Feeds that cause hindgut fermentation will increase body temperature, those feeds will be high in fiber, but you will also be decreasing overall feed/calori intake by feeding a bulkier feedstuff.

    Teh best bet is to provide access to a quality feed at all times and have your birds in good condition going into cold weather.

    Jim
     
  7. Hillbilly Rooster

    Hillbilly Rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 16, 2009
    Middleville, Michigan
    I Feed my chickens a brand called Dumors that I get from TSC I have nothing but luck with that brand great starter, finish grower, and layer. I dont have to get oyster shell. I use wheat straw in there coop and they scratch at that in the winter and they did great.
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I would not leave scratch out 24/7. This may lead to an unbalanced diet as they would probably prefer scratch to their other foods.

    As with many things, there seems to be a difference of opinion as to whether scratch increases body temperature. I've seen several references where you should feed them scratch, usually corn, just before they roost in cold weather as digesting it helps them keep warm, possibly by keeping the blood in the body core. I'm not a biologist, so I don't know. I tend to agree with this however.

    As far as scratch or treats in general, I've seen the recommendation to not feed more than they can clean up in 10 to 20 minutes. To me that is easier to understand than coming up with a percentage of daily intake for a balanced diet. However, I just treat these as general guidelines. If the chickens get much of their food from free-ranging, they probably don't get a perfectly balanced diet anyway, certainly not the scientifically formulated one to maximize egg production or growth. But your feed costs may drop enough to more than make up for the loss in efficiency. Again, I am not a biologist, so I don't really know.
     
  9. WoundedEgo

    WoundedEgo Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 1, 2008
    Alabama
    I heard from others that they free range their chickens and they don't feed them any special feeds at all and they do claim that they do fine.

    I've been trying that and the chickens don't seem too interested in the feed I set out. I do toss them bread, which they love, and wheat.

    If the feed you buy is part wheat, well that costs $6.50 for 60 pounds at the feed store, so it seems that providing that as a supplement is fairly painless.

    Of course, now that they free range all day, the hen has taken to hiding her eggs from me.

    I'm so proud of my son's dog for protecting them, rather than feeding on them.

    I'm more interested in the meat than in the eggs, though they are nice too.
     

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