What is the proper/best diet for chickens?

guinea fowl galore

Songster
10 Years
May 12, 2009
2,515
11
193
Australia
My chickens are twelve weeks old tomorrow and I am wondering what the proper diet for them is.
At the moment I mix all their food in a bucket, I put about 80% organic starter/grower, 20% coarse grain mix and a handful of shell grit. I am wondering what else I should be feeding them. I have read that you should feed them some sprouts so I am in the process of sprouting some barley for them. Is there anything else I could be sprouting?
I also read somewhere that if you give them sultanas they don't get all clogged up, so I give them each four sultanas every few days.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what else I should be feeding them?
 

RevaVirginia

Songster
10 Years
Apr 26, 2009
358
1
129
Reva, VA
If you aren't raising them with any restrictions....Feed them anything that'd you'd eat. If they don't want it they won't eat it and some things are surprisingly entertaining. Of course bugs, they'll find them on their own. Greenery that grows around the landscape. Cooked/leftover pasta is one of my favorites. Stay with what you're feeding them already so they've always got some type of food and water. There's not much a chicken won't eat..including roadkill. They're just the cute version Velociraptor.
 

guinea fowl galore

Songster
10 Years
May 12, 2009
2,515
11
193
Australia
Thank you, surprisingly the chickens aren't too interested in kitchen scraps, but I am getting them used to them.
I am also going to make a garden for them with all the herbs and plants they are supposed to have.
 

ThreeBoysChicks

Songster
12 Years
Sep 19, 2007
1,915
10
194
Thurmont, MD
Sounds like you are feeding them a good balanced diet already so some scrapes will be good as treats. If you want good egg production, you will soon switch them to a laying pellet or crumbles and then I would limit extras. If you are not worried about their egg production, then the sky is the limit, like RevaVirginia said, feed them anything that you would eat.
 

guinea fowl galore

Songster
10 Years
May 12, 2009
2,515
11
193
Australia
I would like for them to lay but I would rather have healthier chickens then more eggs, by far. I will feed them the layer pellets to give them the right vitamins and minerals so that when they do lay it does not take all the nutrients they need to stay healthy but I will still give them all the other stuff too. At what age do you usually start giving the chickens layer pellets?
 

ThreeBoysChicks

Songster
12 Years
Sep 19, 2007
1,915
10
194
Thurmont, MD
If I am not mistaken, the bag of food says around 20 weeks. However as soon as I add my young pullets to the laying house, they start on pellets which is around 16 weeks. But that is my preference. Not sure about others.
 

guinea fowl galore

Songster
10 Years
May 12, 2009
2,515
11
193
Australia
What would happen if you started giving the layer pellets to them really early because my friend put her chickens in the big coop with the big chickens at around three weeks old and they started eating the same as she thought it unnecessary to buy the chick starter if they were eating the layer pellets. I advised her that it was probably not the best idea, but she did it.
 

wishful

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jan 2, 2010
59
0
39
Tacoma, WA
I think the extra calcium is bad for chicks. Hurts their liver or something? I can't remember exactly, but I do think I heard that feeding layer food to the chicks is bad.
 

briteday

Crowing
12 Years
Dec 16, 2008
1,223
132
266
Northern Nevada USA
The calcium in layer pellets (to help hens lay eggs with strong shells and not deplete their skeletal calcium) is difficult for young kidneys to process if fed daily. I generally keep my chicks on medicated starter until they are put out in the big girl brooder in the coop for a week or two, or at least are spending a good part of the day outside, depending on Spring weather here. Once they are outside a bit (usually around 6-8 weeks old) then I switch them to grower, 20-22% protein. When I see the first egg they all get layer pellets since they will all be laying soon and their bodies are mature enough to handle the calcium.
 

MANNA-PRO

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