What's considered healthy?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by csaylorchickens, Mar 4, 2017.

  1. csaylorchickens

    csaylorchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My girls all get layer crumble. I give heads of cabbage, grapes, and sometimes goat cheese or spinach. I was told to limit treats due to layer feed being enough. How much is a healthy amount? I'll put the head of cabbage in the run so they slowly peck at it and grapes or spinach 5 days a week.
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Generally speaking you want "treats" to be no more than 10% of their overall nutritional intake - that being said, it is not a hard/fast rule as it would depend on the quality of the commercial feed and the nutritional value of the "treats" - example being a lower protein commercial feed, coupled with low protein content veggie scraps, etc would potentially work out to be an overall protein intake below the minimum for sustaining healthy production --- but a lower protein commercial feed coupled with higher protein treats such as animal protein would result in an overall higher protein intake. Similar consideration would need to be given to the other nutrients -- so using the 10% rule is an easy way to generally keep yourself out of trouble without having to sit and think about what nutritional value various things bring to the table.
     
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  3. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Chickens do best if fed only the layer feed and given treats once a week...Spinach is not really good for egg production...It can cause the shells to be weak....Once a month or so won't hurt....


    Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Do you want to educate us on what it is about spinach that "makes egg shells weak"? I'm curious because spinach is rich in calcium and that's what egg shells depend on for strength.
     
  5. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens



    No need to educate you.....A quick google search is all you need.....Why always the need to contradict my replies?......I am replying to the OP.....Leave a reply and only discuss what the OP asks.....Simple.....


    Anyways.....;)


    Cheers!
     
  6. Louise Waffles

    Louise Waffles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The oxalix acid in spinach binds to calcium, making it difficult to absorb. If you toss the spinach with ACV, it makes calcium and other nutrients easier to absorb. Just plain spinach isn't that great for chickens.
     
  7. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    All righty then. I am now educated. Thanks.
     
  8. tmarsh83

    tmarsh83 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't understand the notion of everything that isn't layer crumble being a "treat."

    Fruits and veggies are loaded with vitamins and minerals.

    The exact things that are "treats" for birds, doctors can't get us to eat enough of.

    Then we throw them a crumble and say, "that's all they need."

    Meanwhile, anyone with half a brain knows that you can't get everything you need just swallowing vitamins.

    I'm not saying you should be feeding low-nutrient stuff like scratch all the time, but my god, I was covered up in eggs last year and the chickens got everything from the garden that I didn't use and even then they got the leftovers.

    Yes, I feed an 18% all-flock, so it's not hurting protein as much as those laying lower protein mixes, but good lord. A head of cabbage or a tomato isn't cotton candy.
     
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  9. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    All these foods are nourishing in their fashion. The risk involved with offering too many of these is that, like toddlers and cookies, they fill up on them and have satisfied their appetites, thus leaving no more room for the balanced feed which has been formulated to include all the nutrients they need.

    No one suggests these treats are bad. It's that they may crowd out the other obscure nutrients they are supposed to be getting from their feed. You would need to be a chemist/nutritionist to be able to balance all the non-feed foods in order to accomplish the same thing as the commercial feed does. It can be done, but it sure would require a lot of time and effort and knowledge of which most of us haven't got a surplus.
     
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  10. tmarsh83

    tmarsh83 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I get that, but what's the loss from optimal? An egg a week?

    It's a misnomer that anything that isn't a processed feed is a treat.

    Chickens peck. They aren't horses. I've yet to see a chicken belly up to pile of tomatoes and eat until full. They peck, they move. Most times they leave scratch on the ground because they lose interest and move on to the next thing.

    As long as a balanced feed is always offered and available, I've yet to see anything compelling to lead me to believe that anything other than scratch should be provided with limited access. It's just not a chickens nature, it's not how they eat.
     

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