What to feed, do I have this right?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by squeakyballs, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. squeakyballs

    squeakyballs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I want to get 3 - 4 hens (I think 2 ameraucana and 2 buff orpingtons).

    So, for food...

    I'm supposed to always have layer pellets in the feeder, and I can scatter a few handfuls of scratch on the ground?

    Or, is it better to mix everything together?

    I saw one person post that they also mix wild bird seed in with their layer pellets. Is that a good idea?

    And I thought I would just move the compost pile so that it was closer to the chicken coop, so they can eat scraps and "mix" it for me when I let them out. But, will they get too many scraps that way and get fat?

    How much feed to you think I'll go through a month? (About how much will it end up costing, for just 4 chickens)? It is usually about 1/3 pound of food a day, each, right? I'm just getting mixed up with all the choices, and how much they should eat of each thing.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2009
  2. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, these birds will already be laying and that's why you are thinking they should have layer feed - right, Tofu?

    If chickens think that there is something special to eat at the bottom of their feed, they will dig thru it until they've got the something special. The expensive commercial feed may end up on the floor with all the digging. It deteriorates quicker than the scratch and costs more $$.

    Many people sprinkle scratch on the floor to encourage their birds to get some exercise and stir up the litter.

    I don't put any cooked food in my compost. With that approach, the chickens would only have vegetable trimmings from the kitchen to go thru. That and yard stuff wouldn't be much to worry about.

    Steve
     
  3. RendonRoo

    RendonRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 7, 2009
    ft. worth
    Tofu, i'm new too but the general idea i get is starter feed untill you get your first egg, then go to layer feed.
     
  4. squeakyballs

    squeakyballs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, bennett1956. digitS' is right, though. We aren't going to get babies. Unfortunately. *sniffles* My husband is very against having chicks that have to stay indoors for any period of time.

    Showing him pictures didn't help change his mind. I sometimes think he has no heart. But, I'm excited anyways.

    I don't usually put cooked stuff in the compost so it should all be good :)

    What brats, to dig through all their food like that. Our bunny does that too, so I shouldn't be surprised.

    Thanks for the advice :)
     
  5. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:Baby chicks do not have to be brooded in the house! I got my chicks in early April and brooded them in a predator proof shed that was free from drafts.
    Only one of my chickens has ever spent more than a few minutes in the house and that's only because the dog tried to "play" with her. She spent the night inside.
    They can be brooded in any building/coop that is free from drafts and can be kept to the proper temperature needed per the chick's age.
    I've been around BYC for awhile and I know I'm not the only one that doesn't brood chicks in the house.
    Just a little FYI, if you really have your heart set on some chicks.
    Feel free to PM me. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2009
  6. squeakyballs

    squeakyballs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you gritsar! I think I'm going to let him "win" this one though. Pick your battles, I don't mind losing this one... Mostly I think he is looking forward to having eggs and doesn't want to wait long. I'm just happy that he agreed to the chickens in the first place [​IMG]
     
  7. jnjross

    jnjross Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2008
    edwards, ms
    i was told by one of the mother hens, scratch is for winter or chickens who have no where to go scratch. i have mine mixed 1 to 3 with crumbles with feeder at their back height so they can't kick in it,
     
  8. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Aah, I have the same problem with my wife [​IMG]. I was allowed to use the basement . . . once. Since then, it has been the greenhouse. What is it with some people, anyway [​IMG]?

    How much feed to you think I'll go through a month? (About how much will it end up costing, for just 4 chickens)? It is usually about 1/3 pound of food a day, each, right? I'm just getting mixed up with all the choices, and how much they should eat of each thing.

    Overlooked this part of your post. - - Starter feed is expensive and it cost me just over $6/pullet for the earliest to reach point-of-lay last year and $9/laggard for the one that took 6 months before kicking in with her share for room & board. Actually, the feed costs are very low for the first few weeks but later, they are eating nearly as much as a full-grown hen.

    One-third pound/day for adults is probably pretty close to standard for dual purpose breeds, at least, with the lighter ones. The feather-weight leghorn types are about one-quarter pound to feed each day. Feed prices vary like crazy from one area to the other.

    My hens increased their feed consumption by about 1/3 when their daytime environment dropped to around freezing and heaven knows what it would have been down around zero when their water froze every night inside a tight, insulated coop.

    I contend with the higher Winter calorie needs by increasing the treats enuf that they are still eating about one-quarter to one-third pound of their expensive feed. I buy a 20% protein feed so that more of their diet can be low-protein food from the garden & kitchen and grazing on the lawn [​IMG]. And, they are out there every day, eating mostly dead grass between the piles of snow. I think it is primarily for entertainment and they've got their commercial feed free-choice at all times.

    So, I find it real easy to weigh their feeder every afternoon when I refill it. That gives me an idea of how much in the way of leftovers and such I should give them thru the evening. If you want to do that, there's no reason why you can't keep your 4 hens at 30 pounds of purchased feed each month. If it amounts to 100% of their diet, and you don't live in the frigid north, probably the 4 of them will eat around 40 pounds or a little more each month.

    Do you make tofu? My hens got a little of that along with some mushrooms and gravy the other day [​IMG].

    Steve
    edit to say: here you told us you weren't getting babies and I'm still babbling on about their feed costs [​IMG] . . . oh well.​
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2009
  9. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    My Coop
    I feed my birds Starter/Grower until I get my first egg then I switch them over to layer feed. If I have any Starter/Grower left over I just mix it in until it's gone. I offer them dishes of free choice oyster shells and granite grit. I offer the oyster shells when they start to lay. The chick grit, I offer to them as chicks whenever I start giving them any kind of treats or other than their crumbles/pellets. They take what they want.
     
  10. squeakyballs

    squeakyballs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you make tofu? My hens got a little of that along with some mushrooms and gravy the other day [​IMG].

    Steve
    edit to say: here you told us you weren't getting babies and I'm still babbling on about their feed costs [​IMG] . . . oh well.

    Thank you for all of the information! (And thank you, too, everyone else!) Babies or not, it is still good to know :)

    As for tofu... I have an awesome General Tso's Tofu recipe, and I pan fry it sometimes and add it into stir fry :) Tofu can be either really good or really bad, haha :) I'm glad I'm not the only one who uses it!​
     

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