When and What to feed my chickens! Help!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by leighhancock, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. leighhancock

    leighhancock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think I am messing up. Being from the south it is common to be told to "just get a bag of scratch" for your chickens. So thats what I have been doing. Now that I have joined BYC I am thinking different! Ya'll gotta help me!

    Ok... I have about 30 bantam sized chickens. (Cochins, Silkies, Frizzles, ext....) They are anywhere from 5 months old to a year old.

    Right now they are free ranging and they have been getting 2 1/2 coffee cans of scratch a day or every other day. (I know now wayyyy to much...omg!)

    I have lost about 7 chickens for reasons unknown since it got cold. I also haven't gotten any eggs in months. I know it HAS to do with the feeding! They have large draft free clean coops and clean water. No mites and no worms.

    So let me have it for the sake of my birds. I want them to be healthy and happy!

    First..... RIGHT NOW... while they are able to free range...... What do I need to be feeding them so they recieve everything they need? (I don't have access to alot of greens.)

    Second..... When it warms up and its breeding season and they are in their breeding pens/coops and can't free range often. What should their diet be?
     
  2. Sooner

    Sooner My kids Mom!

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    Layer pellets or crumbles. It will be a little while before they want to eat it considering all the scratch they have been getting. When they go into the breeding pens it would be the same thing. Others that do serious breeding may have additional advice but layer pellets or crumbles for sure.
     
  3. leighhancock

    leighhancock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was confused! Everyone had told me NOT to give them layer feed...UGH!! Said it was to much calcium. But now I am learning different! Thank you! I hope I get lots of advice... oh my poor birds....lol!!
     
  4. Shiningfeather

    Shiningfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Things like lettuce and spinach are easy to grow even in flower pots if you don't have a garden and want to add more leafy greens to their diet, and they would love it. Just make sure you plant the seeds very shallow and you may want to start them indoors this time of year. [​IMG]
     
  5. leighhancock

    leighhancock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I didn't think about potting some greens in the house....lol. Thank you!
     
  6. Shiningfeather

    Shiningfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your welcome and [​IMG] .

    Really carrots, beets, turnips, swiss chard, and any type you can pick the leaves off of that will keep producing more will work. I have spinach, beets, and turnips in my garden that I planted in the fall that I am still picking the foliage off of for my chickies. I have enough that I get a large bushel basket full every time I pick them, at least once a week. They eat every bit of them. They loved my broccoli stumps that I left in the ground and gave them one every couple of weeks as a treat. Just pull it up and toss it in their run.
     
  7. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you have a mixture of hens and roos, and young ones, rather than just a laying flock, you can use an all-around feed that is often called "flock raiser". Then you will need to provide oyster shell separately for the hens. As they are free-ranging, they can supplement as needed most of the time. But a well-balanced ration is still best for them. They may have quit laying due to the short day-lengths that we have in winter.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. CaseFarms

    CaseFarms Out Of The Brooder

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    I was feeding mine developer for five and a half months (+ table scraps and free range grass, etc). Just switched to Purina Layer feed last week and got my first eggs this week. They seem to like it.
     
  9. ewesfullchicks

    ewesfullchicks Out Of The Brooder

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    The original poster was probably told not to feed layer feed while they were chicks! That feed does have too much calcium for the little ones. However, scratch is basically "junk food". The birds LOVE it, and it's OK in small amounts, but NOT OK as a complete feed - read the bag - it states that clearly!

    For birds past 18-20 weeks - feed layer, and use scratch for "training" like to get them all back in the coop area at night. Before that, they need starter then grower.

    Quite honestly, I'm a firm believer in giving animals whole grains, so I will give my birds small amounts of scratch just "because".

    However - older birds need to be on layer ration!

    Rachel
    Tx
     
  10. Joyryder

    Joyryder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with layer feed since the youngest is 5 months old. They need a minimum of 16% protein to lay eggs. I use 20% because I add cracked corn for heat in the winter. Of course they get kitchen scraps. This way my average stays above 16%. I also give them as much vegetation as I can, improves yolk color and egg quality.
     

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