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What my Chickens eat

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by muckmuck, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. muckmuck

    muckmuck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 9, 2011
    Las Vegas
    I keep a self feeder full of lay pellets but in addition my 15-20 chickens, 5 ducks, and 4 rabbits (all free range on my half acre) get two loaves of bread, 2 or 3 scoops of whatever is in the treat can, and whatever scraps go out the kitchen window. My wife has a bird shop so the treat can usually is a mix of scratch and whatever feed is to buggy to sell. Today she brought home 50# of 16% pigeon pellets and 50# of 22% high octane pigeon pellets that will get slowly mixed into the large garbage can that I dumped 25# of BOSS into last week. They go through a 25# bag of lay pellets in the self feeder every 3 weeks, I'm getting nice eggs and they seem happy. Will the constant switching around of feed hurt them?

  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I personally feel it is more natural to offer a varied diet with balance found every few days and not necessarily all in one day. (But they do need enough protein to produce the egg). In the winter especially I might offer two types of grain and move on to another two types a few days later.

    Hence, I give my girls different things each day sometimes. My mix varies quite a bit and so does the type of treat I'll throw on the ground. They seem to relish the change and choices.

    I always try to ensure they get enough protein in the day though, and calcium, to produce eggs safely.

    I like to think of my girls as jungle chickens and they are my guests. [​IMG]

    So I would consider your feeding setup very adequate if it were me.
  3. MissJo

    MissJo Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 5, 2010
    I would really like to get away from feeding laying pellets, both cost and what's in it that I don't want to eat in my eggs or chickens.

    My girls and boys free range most of the day, but this is desert so not much green growth. They also get treats whenever I have them, then a little feed at night to convince them to "go to bed" a little earlier than sundown.

    I have recently been gifted with around 500 lbs of good hard red winter wheat, fresh from the fields. I already have a couple of hundred pound of hard and soft wheat for my own use so the girls and boys can have this. Also, pinto beans in quantity are very cheap here.

    Would a mixture of cracked wheat and rough ground pinto beans along with whatever they get free ranging and kitchen scraps and greens provide enough protein for my growing and laying chickies?


    Also have a few turkey hens in with chickens.
  4. TammyP

    TammyP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 2, 2009
    SW Wisconsin
    cracked wheat and rough ground pinto beans

    I would think that combo might make one explode! LOL Might need to supplement with some beano?


  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Quote:I recommend reading this:

    You will need to cook or sprout the beans- raw beans have anti-nutrients that are not good for them. Split peas I do feed raw as these have very much lower levels of the anti-nutrients but they cannot be given in great quantities. Even lentils really should be cooked. The soybean meal that is in chicken feed is always roasted.

    You don't need to crack the wheat if you are offering grit or they can get grit from free ranging. My chickens eat whole wheat berries every day almost with no problems. I never find seeds/grains whole in their poo.

    You might see my BYC page for ideas of other things to feed if you are interested. I myself would consider wheat and cooked beans very good for chickens (but I would also try to include my other ingredients, lol, as that is what I like to feed). It is essential to check your protein content when mixing your own feed. Protein content is available on internet for all the different foods.

    I would NOT consider wheat and cooked beans all by themselves balanced enough, though- I would try to give other things too to make sure they get more balance. Something to consider is that there are critical amino acids for health and a wider variety will bestow better health. I am very against the artificial vitamins in feed and prefer to just offer a wide variety. JMO.

    But something to consider is fish meal and/or other animal protein sources unless you are trying to stay organic.

    One idea is to check your feed store for available foodstuffs they can order for you or carry already. Or see if you have a feed mill around. The animal-grade grains and seeds are always so much cheaper.

    There is a good cookbook out there using ground beans in many of the recipes...hmm...can't find it in my cupboard and don't remember the name.

    To the OP- you are very fortunate to have a good supply of these other feeds coming in and thank you for allowing this side conversation!
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2011
  6. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    Peas can safely be fed at up to 35% of their diet & lentils DO NOT have to be cooked.
  7. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Last edited: Sep 17, 2011
  8. muckmuck

    muckmuck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 9, 2011
    Las Vegas
    This is a great discussion. Exotic birds are very wasteful and sometimes I con my wife into saving the dumps from their feed bowls. I sling a 5 gallon bucket of mixed seed, parrot, lory, and conure pellets out into the chicken yard and they go nuts! My plan for this fall/winter is to divide my chicken yard in half and turn one section of it into an orchard, so that I can stop wasting water on grass to hold the dust down. In a few years in addition to eggs out of that area I hope to be getting fruit for the family and my wifes inside birds along with mushy treats for my chickens!

  9. kjfrogster41

    kjfrogster41 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 30, 2011
    Belfast, ME
    I have just started feeding my girls a mix of cooked long grain brown rice, fresh sweet corn, tomatoes and apple bits as a treat to supplement their grow mash (they are only 8 weeks old). Has any one had experience feeding rice? I figured, couldn't hurt, it's a seed, and cooked would be easier to digest, should provide some protein. Oh, and some meal worms and/or beetles. I do want to make sure they get a variety of healthy eats and also some to help add some fat for the coming winter months. [​IMG]
  10. muckmuck

    muckmuck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 9, 2011
    Las Vegas
    That was gonna be my next addition to my chooks smorgasbord, my son is manager of an Asian restaurant that tosses all of its rice at the end of the night. I was thinking of having him bring home a 5 gallon bucket once in a while along with the scraps from vegetable prep.


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