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What should I be feeding my girls?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by krista74, Sep 13, 2014.

  1. krista74

    krista74 Songster

    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    I think my Laying Hens have a pretty good diet. They get free access to properly formulated Layers Pellets, free access to shell-grit and water, a few vegie scraps as they come to hand, and a small handful of either wheat or cracked corn late in the afternoon.

    I also have a Broody Hen, who is stuck tight to her nest on Day 6 today. As she is still in the main coop, and her nest is one that only she ever lays in, I thought it would be ok to leave her there for now. She doesn't really eat much of anything at the moment. I have never seen her off the nest, but I did find one broody poop on Day 3 and I presume she must get up to drink at some point. At present, she still has access to the same diet as my Laying Hens - Layers Pellets and the occasional choice lettuce or cabbage leaf I give her, but to be honest she isn't really eating much of anything.

    Finally I have a Momma Hen with a 6 day old chick. The chick has a low tray filled with Medicated Chick Feed and a little scratch mixed in. Momma has a tray higher up with corn, wheat (grain) and a few Layers Pellets mixed in. Both obviously have free access to water in a shallow tray, and there is grit sprinkled on the dirt floor for Momma. They get some vegie scraps and some raw porridge oats each morning which Momma is showing chick how to eat - so sweet!

    I would appreciate any advice on what I should be feeding Momma and Broody at this point. I think the Laying Hens and the chick's diet are ok, but would appreciate any extra pointers in that area too if you feel I have got it wrong. Hubby said we can buy Growers Feed when the chick gets to 8 weeks, but I don't really want to buy anything else until then. In stock we currently have: Cracked Corn, Wheat (Grain), Scratch, Medicated Chick Feed, Layers pellets, Shell Grit and vegie scraps. I am happy to feed any combination of those.

    Any advice appreciated. I just want them all to be happy and healthy and am trying to do the best that I can for them.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. evemfoster

    evemfoster Songster

    May 6, 2014
    NE, Wa.
    It is always a little stressful to chickens when you suddenly change their feed and they will sometimes refuse to eat the strange feed and layers can stop laying for a while. To prevent this try not to change feed more than 10% at a feeding. Keep her on what she was getting before she went broody. It will only be 3 weeks and shouldn't harm her in that time.

    Oh, oyster shell and grit are two different things. The oyster shell is calcium, it melts in the digestive tract and the chickens use it to make egg shells. The grit is rock fragments that the chickens use to grind up their food in the gizzard.
  3. krista74

    krista74 Songster

    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    Yeah, that's what I thought too! I know in the US you guys have Grit and Oyster Shell, two separate products. But my local rural feed store assures me that in Australia there is only one product called "Shell-Grit," which is apparently a combination of the two?

    I tried two other feed merchants and they are telling me the same thing. [​IMG] And these are big, rural suppliers!

    The stuff I have does just look like crushed up sea shells, not a pebble per se. Luckily, my chickens do get to free-range accross a couple of acres so I'm hoping that they get what they need from that.

    Thanks for your reply!

    - Krista

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