What's the best feed for breeding chickens?

Discussion in 'Nutrition - Sponsored by Purina Poultry' started by jenniferlamar70, Sep 30, 2016.

  1. jenniferlamar70

    jenniferlamar70 Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,530
    290
    196
    Apr 24, 2016
    Northern California
    We keep a mixed flock of ducks, a few standard chickens/roosters and bantams. We would like to hatch out some chicks and ducklings from our chickens/ducks this spring. I've her the parents should be fed a better diet to hatch healthy chicks. I can't find much on it though. What is the best feed for this?
     
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    A 20% ish protein, 1% ish calcium flock raiser or grower feed. Supplemented with oyster shell. I use it for all my birds except my pigeons. Any brand works (though I wouldn't recommend Purina). Personally I find Bar Ale to be the absolute best brand I've ever found - use it for every one of my birds and never had an issue - amazing quality, always fresh, local ingredients, local company. I can't think of a single bad thing to say about it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,733
    2,362
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri


    Upping the protein is the first thing as mentioned above. If you are looking for sustained egg production where hens producing eggs do not stop to incubate, then use supplemental calcium. If hens expected to go broody then no additional calcium. Make certain feed is extra fresh and stored in a cool dry place. I also mix in paprika and even a little vegetable oil or whole egg to act as wetting agent to keep dust down.

    Free-range is a less demanding.
     
  4. jenniferlamar70

    jenniferlamar70 Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,530
    290
    196
    Apr 24, 2016
    Northern California


    Thanks guys. We have a few egg layers but the majority are ornamental. Should this diet just be for the chickens or do I change my ducks over to it too? Also we do free range but our landscape is pretty dry right now so not alot for them to get out of it. Fall is here so once the rain cone things will start getting green again. Should I be giving them any vitamin supplements or anything like that?
     
  5. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop


    IMO any flock that contains anything besides mature laying hens should be on a flock ration. The protein and calcium levels in layer really aren't correct for roosters, ducks, non-laying or low production hens, young birds, etc. The best thing to feed any flock is really a good quality grower/raiser. The extra protein isn't ever gonna hurt anybody and is usually quite beneficial, and there's no way for a bird who doesn't lay or isn't currently in production to consume too much calcium because she's controlling her own levels with oyster shell.

    A good quality feed should contain all the vitamins they need, but a bit of supplementation isn't gonna hurt them. I use NutriDrench as a pick me up in sickly birds. I have way too many birds to give it to the whole flock on a regular basis, but I'm sure it would be plenty good for them every so often.
     
  6. jenniferlamar70

    jenniferlamar70 Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,530
    290
    196
    Apr 24, 2016
    Northern California
    We have nutridrench and save a chick on hand already for when a single bird needs a pick me up. I thought I heard ducks need a lower protein diet but I really can't remember. We free feed oyster shell already with flock raiser.I just do alot of hatching and have seen the complications vitamin definitelys can cause in chicks whose parentage were missing things. Don't want to make the same mistake with my own flock. :)
     
  7. DrPatrickBiggs

    DrPatrickBiggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    168
    30
    73
    Aug 20, 2015
    I would suggest feeding Purina Layena to your hens and Purina Flock Raiser to your roosters. Those are both high-quality feeds that will provide your flock with the necessary nutrients to keep your birds and eggs as healthy as possible when paired with good management practices. Now, if you are not a Purina-person (I’m not sure why you wouldn’t be!), look for a feed that is complete. Most national brands of poultry feed are going to provide the proper nutrition for your flock to maintain proper flock health. Be sure that you are feeding the hens a layer feed, and the roosters an appropriate feed. Roosters should not be eating laying hen feed – too much calcium!
     
  8. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    20,854
    4,077
    421
    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Not a practical solution if the whole flock lives together. Best to just offer one feed that is safe for everyone and set out some crushed oyster shell for those that need it.
     
  9. jenniferlamar70

    jenniferlamar70 Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,530
    290
    196
    Apr 24, 2016
    Northern California
    Thanks. We don't feed layer feed because of the I'll effects for our roosters. :)


    Thanks. We feed them flock raiser right now and do offer oyster shell to the side. Is that enough to hatch healthy ducklings and chicks?
     
  10. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    20,854
    4,077
    421
    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    It will do just fine. I feed my flock the same. Just had 5 babies hatch under a broody hen last week. All healthy and strong.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by