When to give chickens oats, whole corn, scratch, treats, etc...

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Wisegirl99, Nov 19, 2018.

  1. Wisegirl99

    Wisegirl99 In the Brooder

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    I have been raising hens with my daughters for only about 2 months. I'm still learning about feeding our hens. I'm wondering the timing for feeding our hens. They have 24-7 access to Purena Layena pellets and fresh water. They have sand in their coop, so right before they go to sleep we scatter cracked corn for them to scratch around for. (Their coop has lights on a timer, the lights turn off at 7:30pm and turn on at 5:30am) We let them out around 8am and they are starving!! I'm wondering what exactly I should be giving them, since they just had the scratch the night before and possibly some leftovers in the coop in the early morning. Should I give them some whole corn and oats in the morning and wait until around 3 or 4 to give them any treats like fresh fruits and veggies? Or should I be giving them the fresh fruits and veggies first thing in the morning? Also, how much whole corn and oats do I give? I have 4 hens. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks and have a blessed Thanksgiving! 1 Thessalonians 5:18
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
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  2. FarmerGirl101

    FarmerGirl101 Songster

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    First of all, I think that 5am lights are too early so try it at about 7am and 7:30pm is too late as that is past sunset (unless you live in the southern hemisphere)
     
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  3. FarmerGirl101

    FarmerGirl101 Songster

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    Also, treats mustn't exceed 10% of their diet so I would try giving it to them when you let them out
     
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  4. Wisegirl99

    Wisegirl99 In the Brooder

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    The reason we are having the lights stay on in the evening and come on early in the morning is so they will lay more eggs. The recommended hours of light for laying eggs is 14 hours.
     
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  5. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

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    I am confused! If they have access to their layer pellets 24/7, how can they be starving in the morning??
    Chickens are far better at training people than people are at training chickens! Don't let them train you to give them more treats because it is not only unhealthy for them to have too many treats, it can actually kill them.... too much corn or scratch can make them obese. The layer feed is formulated to provide everything they need to be healthy and lay eggs. Adding anything else reduces the amount of layer feed they will eat and that starts to knock their diet out of balance. Short term this is not too much of a problem but over weeks and months it can cause a build up of fatty deposits in their body and the liver is particularly vulnerable. If there is too much fat, the liver can become impregnated fat molecules and it's structure starts to weaken. The fat also develops around the vent area narrowing the outlet and egg binding and prolapse become more of a risk. A bird straining due to egg binding or prolapse can then rupture it's liver and die. Of course it is very difficult to assess body condition on a hen that is covered with fluffy feathers and laying hens are much slighter than the supermarket chickens we see ready for the oven, so many people have no idea that their chicken is obese. Better to be mean with the high carbohydrate treats like corn, grains, bread, pasta etc than too generous and kill your chickens with kindness.
    If you must give them corn or other grains make it no more than one tablespoon per bird per day and no other treats. You really want the vast majority of their daily intake to be the formulated feed. You also need to provide them with grit and crushed oyster shells if you are giving them anything other than layer feed.
    Good luck with them.
     
  6. One potential benefit of treating your hens early in the morning is that depending on how BADLY YOU "TREAT" your hens that maybe they will run some of the treats off before it is time to give them real food. Whole corn is not a treat, whole corn is a viable chicken food on par with any of the other foods mentioned in the title of this thread. Just because the anti-Monsanto click bad mouths maize is no reason to not feed it.

    This seems to have started when High-Fructose Corn Syrup cut into the market of European sugar beet growers. Therefor this is no reason to not feed whole, un-cracked corn or American Maize to your chickens. Just do it within reason and with the understanding that there is NO BEST OR PERFECT food for either man nor beast, not even God's own Manna from Heaven.
     
  7. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

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    If these are pullets (ie hens under a year old) they will usually lay through their first winter without supplemental lighting. If you give them artificial light, it is better to have it come on earlier in the morning and let them go to roost at dusk with no light. The problem being that the light going off suddenly when it is dark outside means they can get stranded in the dark on the coop floor rather than climbing onto the roost bar as the daylight is fading as they should.
     
  8. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing

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    The general consensus is to add all the artificial light in the morning and let your chickens put themselves to bed naturally with the setting sun. If the sun sets at 5, then you would need to have lights come on at 3am to achieve 14 hours of light. You do not want the lights to go off when they are off the roost.
    But to answer your original question, treats are treats. They aren't on a schedule. Some people use them to get their chickens in the coop, some use them to get them out of the coop. I use them to use up food items. You are not going to harm them however you choose to do it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
  9. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Making Coffee

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    I throw scratch out first thing in the morning because I enjoy the hoard running to me. :)

    That being said if your layer ration is 16% protein extras will leave them deficient. I feed a higher protein ration to offset the lower protein scratch.
     
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  10. Wisegirl99

    Wisegirl99 In the Brooder

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    Thanks for the reply. We do have our lights fade on and fade off over a timing of 3 minutes so they aren't blasted with light in the morning and also not stranded on the coop floor in the evening.
     
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