What do you fed your chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Newbie chick 30, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. Newbie chick 30

    Newbie chick 30 In the Brooder

    Jan 31, 2011
    Orlando, FL

    I'm new to the board and fairly new to chickens. I got my 1st batch of chickens about 9mos ago. I'm unsure as to what is a good balanced diet for chickens. My chickens get only laying crumble and a few scraps here and there. They are also free range and I figure they get a lot of their extras from that. The chickens have been laying well for some time. I was also told by a friend to recycle the egg shells back into their food to help keep the eggshells strong (i.e. replace oyster shells)...which I do from time to time.

    So my questions are...

    What do you feed your chickens on a daily basis? What do you give from time to time but regularly? What changes in the diet do you make when the chickens are ill?

    Thanks for reading and hoping answering [​IMG]

    PS - Apologies for any spelling or grammar errors.
  2. ARose4Heaven

    ARose4Heaven Songster

    Apr 16, 2009
    Flippin, AR
    My laying hens have Layer crumbles, oyster shell and grit available at all times for them to free-choice. My new chicks get medicated chick starter. When pasty butt happens, I mix a little yogurt with their Starter.

    I give them treats daily, but limit the quantity because the layer crumbles should be their primary diet.

    I have 54 hens, today they had about 3 cups total of breakfast treats. Scrambled eggs w shells, oatmeal, 1 thick slice of bacon, yogurt...all liberally sprinkled with crushed red pepper and sand.

    The meat and eggs give them extra protein to help with egg production during cold weather. The yogurt helps with intestinal health. The Red pepper gives a boost to egg production. The warm oatmeal makes them feel all toasty inside during a blizzard like today.
    And sand is grit to make it all go down well.

    I usually just toss out a couple handfuls of Black Oil Sunflower Seeds (BOSS) as a treat.
  3. UrbanGrower

    UrbanGrower Chirping

    Sep 29, 2010
    West Jordan, UT
    First off [​IMG]

    Most people give their chickens a commercial feed, a layer ration for egg layers, and scratch. The commercial feed is a complete feed with high protein (16% or so). Other than that, I let my chickens eat all the greens they can get (not much in the winter). They absolutely must have a calcium supplement, calcite or oyster shell is easiest, or recycled crushed egg shells are ok, but you might want to clean them.

    As far as treats, including most scratch mixes, it's hard to not give them all sorts. Cottage cheese, scrambled eggs(damaged eggs usually), left over pot roast, stale bread, fruits and vegetables etc.. They eat almost anything. However, if it isn't a vegetable or forage greens they probably shouldn't get too much at once, and it should probably only be 10% of their diet. You might also want to consider grit, but if they free range that likely isn't necessary.

    I feed mine boiled pumpkin from halloween(which has been previously cut into chunks and frozen), once per week throughout the winter.
  4. cybercat

    cybercat Songster

    May 22, 2007
    Greeneville, Tn
    I free range and they get layer once a day. In winter they get scratch too. But they range for their feed here mostly. I do feed eggshells back. That way they spread the calcium around for me. [​IMG] Tread they get are things that we would throw away like tops of carrots, corn cobs, last piece of bread, old popcorn that did not get eaten the night before ect. For winter they get squash and I will be starting this year with beets.
  5. Newbie chick 30

    Newbie chick 30 In the Brooder

    Jan 31, 2011
    Orlando, FL
    Thanks for the replies. Do you guys ever give any kind of supplements,vitamins...mineral blocks? I see them at TSC but I don't really know what they do or if they really need them. Also, when I USED to buy eggs...I would see Flax seed and Omega listed on some of the cartons (supposed to make the eggs better for you)...does anyone add these to their feed?

    BTW...I always clean out the egg shells...that would be one nasty mess to keep around...lol
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
  6. mychookschick

    mychookschick Songster

    Aug 28, 2009
    First off, I wanted to say [​IMG] ! I know that you will enjoy it and become as crazy as the rest of us! Just Kidding!

    I use mostly Layer Pellets... With a free-choice of oyster shell. They get all of they leftovers and such, heels of bread, leftover corn, etc. I also make them a sort of flock block but I make it small enough to fit in a suet cage. I always include some cayenne pepper to warm their stomachs on cold days and increase laying. I only give them the flock block on cold days when they are locked in the coop.

    Hope this helps!
  7. CarolAnn

    CarolAnn Chirping

    Aug 23, 2010
    I feed my chickens get Layene crumbles. I provide oyster shell and grit outside and give them a 1# can of black oil sunflower seeds ( aka BOSS) every morning. I also give them cracked corn morning or evening, but just once a day. I occasionally give them things like apples, oranges, cabbage, lettuce and most any other produce I get free from the grocery store. They loved pumpkins when they were available.
  8. WonderChicken

    WonderChicken In the Brooder

    Aug 14, 2010
    High Ridge, Missouri
    I feed free choice a complete layer feed, scratch, calcium and grit. Everything is in their covered run and the heated waterer is in the insulated lower level of the coop. They don't care much to come out of the run to free range when the ground is covered w/ snow but as soon as small patches start to melt off they are begging to come out. I will be preparing a warm mash for them when they head into the roost for the night and then a few more times throughout the night as the temps drop. This will give me opportunities to check how they are managing and keep some warmth in their bellys.
  9. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    The typical thing to do is give them hen feed from your local hardware or feedstore. I give mine Layer pellets, but I also free range mine to eat shrubs, grass, bugs, etc. And, from day to day, I give them any sort of treats such as fruit, sunflower seeds, quinoa, grain mixes, vegetables, etc.

    This summer I really hope to grow my own non-GMO crops to sustain my flock with more than just cheap, useless corn, wheat, and soy feed though. I especially also hope to add fish to their diet.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
  10. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Songster

    Oct 19, 2010
    Montgomery County, TX
    Quote:x2, except the fish. I want to hear how others do, especially the guppy idea before I try it. My birds encountered fancy purple Romaine lettuce last week. They decided it was edible after a while. And yes, rumors are true -- blue poo.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by