What to eat and what not to?

RhodeIslandRed5

Songster
May 28, 2019
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I have a pullet who seems to have lost a little weight since her leg injury. She's not as hefty as she once was. All of my girls are kinda scrawny. What do you expect, they came from Tractor Supply. My mother told me to feed different kinds of food. What can I give her that will put some meat on their bones?

What I know is good: watermelon, fig, boiled or scrambled egg, fresh ripe tomato.

What I know is bad: Citrus fruits such as apple and oranges. Unripe tomatoes.

Another question: can chickens eat bananas? Are they safe? How about cooked rice or potatoes?
 

Sequel

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6 Years
Feb 17, 2015
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If I had scrawny ones I would be feeding a good quality fresh all flock that is higher protein than most layer feed, oyster shell on the side. Next would be to check for worms. I'm not an educator here but it seems they recommend holding off on treats that exceed 10% of the total diet. And as long as they're scrawny I wouldn't give them high carb low protein things like cooked rice or potatoes. The fruits and veggies you listed are fine for chickens in moderation. Try to think of the perspective. Figs and watermelons are fine for us humans to eat too, but would you eat a wheelbarrow full? We probably wouldn't but they will if it's tasty, and they need us to make sure their diet is balanced. Good luck with your flock, I hope they get some meat on their bones and you are happy with them!
 

RhodeIslandRed5

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They are still on Purina medicated chick starter. However, I am about to switch over to Dumor 16% layer food. Do I just switch immediately or mix the foods and slowly switch over?
 

Sequel

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They are still on Purina medicated chick starter. However, I am about to switch over to Dumor 16% layer food. Do I just switch immediately or mix the foods and slowly switch over?
I personally don't use layer food. I use an all flock with at least 18% protein and offer oyster shell on the side. If you do want to use layer food, only switch to that when all your birds are actively laying. The grower food is just fine until then. And I would offer a dish of oyster shell on the side as well. I have switched foods by running out and not finding the last one in stock, so you can mix if you want but mine didn't seem to mind the switch.

I feel better feeding my chickens a higher protein all flock because any of them can eat it at any time, whether they are still growing, not laying due to molting or if they are male, whatever. Many people use layer food and have good results. I have a small flock and every member is valued so a couple dollars more for higher protein food doesn't make much difference, but I feel they have an easier time going through molting for instance. Layer food is designed for chickens laying eggs actively and not sustaining them through stress or molt. That is my take on what I read here. I have heard that the cost ends up being a moot point because they need less of a better food. I can't offer an opinion or any facts on that, just something to think about.

You said earlier you thought your birds were scrawny. If they are still young birds they might well look scrawny compared to mature hens. I have some 6 month old pullets and they look like olympic swimmers compared to my mature sumo wrestler hens, lol. Give them the best freshest feed you can find, limit the treats and you're probably doing just fine. If you enjoy spoiling them as most of us do, mix some of their feed with water to make it like oatmeal. They go nuts over that and you can feel you indulged them a little. Good luck!
 

RhodeIslandRed5

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The bag of layer food I have doesn't say a word about waiting to give it until after the chickens start laying, it says give a month prior to laying. They are almost five months old now, I bought them April 22nd of this year. My pullets don't nessecarily 'look' scrawny, they 'feel' scrawny....my bad. Especially Big Girl now, I'm worried about her. Her limp seems much better, It's like she's not eating and she doesn't seem to be active. I gave her a dab of Nutri-Drench this morning, and was thinking of boiling her an egg. Would that be ok, or is that too much with the Nutri-Drench I gave her?
 

BaaKaaawk

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Premium Feather Member
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Apr 4, 2011
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The bag of layer food I have doesn't say a word about waiting to give it until after the chickens start laying, it says give a month prior to laying. They are almost five months old now, I bought them April 22nd of this year. My pullets don't nessecarily 'look' scrawny, they 'feel' scrawny....my bad. Especially Big Girl now, I'm worried about her. Her limp seems much better, It's like she's not eating and she doesn't seem to be active. I gave her a dab of Nutri-Drench this morning, and was thinking of boiling her an egg. Would that be ok, or is that too much with the Nutri-Drench I gave her?

Most birds feel scrawny when you pick them up... the feathers hide a little bony body under there. Some scrawniness is normal, and doesn't mean an unhealthy bird.

As far as food, I think you got a few good responses there already. My birds have 1/4 acre of fenced woods so they get a lot of natural food out there, but otherwise I just feed good old layer pellets and crumble and they are all very happy with me.
 

RhodeIslandRed5

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May 28, 2019
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It would need to be crumble food. My birds are spoiled and picky. They won't eat their chick food unless it's crushed into powder, but recently I've stopped crushing it because if they think I'm gonna keep crushing their food for the rest of their lives, they're sadly mistaken. Since I've stopped crushing it, they haven't eaten much, but they're gonna have to learn.
 

MANNA-PRO

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