What should I feed my chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by coolchange, Jan 26, 2007.

  1. coolchange

    coolchange In the Brooder

    Jan 26, 2007
    I am brand new to raising chickens. I have gotten 4 hens that are between 2-3 months old. I am wondering what to feed them when they start laying eggs. I am currently feeding them #3 scratch. I have read many conflicting articles on what to feed them. We are raising them for eggs only. Also how about crushed oyster? Should I have that mixed in there food, in a seperate feeder? Also should I be feeding them crushed oysters now or wait until they start laying. Thanks in advance for any responses, I need and appreciate all the advice.
  2. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    Welcome to the new and improved BYC forum! We hope you'll enjoy and come back often!

    As for your birds, at that age they are still chicks and should be on a good chick starter. Then when they're 18-20 weeks old switch them over to layer pellets. You won't need the oyster shell until then and I give mine in a different feeder. They should not be fed scratch until they are adults and then only as an occasional treat. Scratch is like candy and kids, once in a while won't hurt but you don't want them on it all the time. Enjoy your birds, they are a wonderful addiction. [​IMG]

  3. jimnjay

    jimnjay Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Bryant Alabama
    Hi and Welcome, Your birds should be on at least 18% protein right now and can survive with 16% when they start to lay. You can feed crumble or Pellets. The crumble is more wastefull but some birds don't take well to pellets. I have found a small pellet that my gang likes. I am not sure what # 3 scratch is but I assume it contains three different grains. Some contain Milo which is a pretty low grade feed. They are not getting any of the additional vitamines and minerals in the scratch feed. They do love it but in the long run you will more than likely have health problems with feeding that exclusively. You will have to switch them over by eliminating the scratch all together. They will just go through the pellets or crumble and throw it out to find the grain. Later on you can throw a handfull of the grain to them. Most often in the evening just before going to roost. Grain helps create body heat. Not great at all in the summer.
  4. ChrisnTiff

    ChrisnTiff In the Brooder

    Jan 11, 2007
    Crane, Missouri
    If you feed layer ration at 16 percent as well as scratch then your layers will bw difficient in protein. We usually offer a 18 percent layer pellet and whole grains like barley and wheat. This whole grain is better for them than scratch as scratch is usually whatever is left over after grains are processed as well as low quality grains like milo.
    If you feed a good quality layer ration this already provides for all the calcium and grit they need so you shouldn't have to add any oyster shell. If we find the chickens eggs are a bit soft we will feed them back their shells crushed up. This is the ultimate in reycling! Good luck,

  5. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    Welcome to our madness! [​IMG]
    Chicks should get a chick starter at 20 weeks changed them to layer food.
    As much as I'd like to eat chips and chocolate all the time, it's not good for you...same with giving just scratch as food. It's a beginner's mistake and we've all made them...check out our raising chicks section, it's chockful of good information...
    Again, Welcome!!!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: