Whole or Cracked Corn?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by JennaMW14, Nov 13, 2016.

  1. JennaMW14

    JennaMW14 Out Of The Brooder

    161
    9
    31
    Nov 11, 2016
    Hello, I've heard many things about giving chickens corn in the winter. I've heard that it helps keep chickens warmer in the winter and a few other things. I've also heard that you SHOULDNT give chickens whole corn because they can't digest it properly. But I also heard you SHOULD give chickens whole corn because whole corn has all the nutrients in it they need in the winter. Should I give them some corn this winter? If so how much and what kind(whole or Cracked) ?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    20,487
    3,883
    506
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You are likely to get a lot of different opinions on any of this and to me that’s what they are, opinions. To me corn is another potential food source, providing some nutrients and not providing others. Many chicken feeds contain a fair amount of corn. Mine already get corn in a good proportion of nutrient balance with the other stuff in their feed. Mine also forage quite a bit so I don’t worry about trying to micromanage every bite they eat. Since they forage that’s in their control, not mine. But some people like to try to micromanage everything they eat. That’s fine with me, we are all different.

    Whether it is whole or cracked is up to you. Their gizzards were developed to grind their food, like corn and other grains. I personally don’t see a lot of difference in ground corn (pure corn meal), cracked corn, or whole corn. No matter what form it is in when they eat it they will get some nutrients from it. If it’s already ground up they will probably get some more so to be really efficient get pure corn meal, no additives. But cracked or whole corn works too.
     
  3. JennaMW14

    JennaMW14 Out Of The Brooder

    161
    9
    31
    Nov 11, 2016
    Ok thank you very much! :)
     
  4. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,301
    821
    201
    Jul 26, 2016
    Connecticut, U.S.A.
    My layers feed has corn as first ingredient which means it has more corn than any other single ingredient. I feed a scratch grains mix which has cracked corn with 3 or 4 other grains. I feed them scratch, tossed on ground when I open coop in the morning and again later in the morning. What they can consume in 10 to 15 minutes. They forage in their large pen and eat their layers pellets till they go to roost. I have found that if they eat scratch grains in the afternoon egg quality suffers. Layers feed is fortified with vitamins and minerals, scratch grains and corn are not fortified. This is what works for me and my pullets. GC
     
  5. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

    3,221
    590
    261
    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado
    In all actuality, whole corn has more nutrients available than cracked or meal. Grain starts to leach out nutrients as soon as the hull is cracked. Fresh whole grain has all the nutrients still intact, so in essence, is better for them.

    Cracked corn is necessary for ruminants because they lack a gizzard and can't digest corn with the hull intact. (What happens when you dont chew your corn lol?) Chickens can handle whole corn with no problems at all :)
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,955
    2,628
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    In a free-range setting the whole corn is easier to broadcast and see on ground which makes it easier for me in deciding if more needed. Just now I put some out and 3 week old chicks were pounding it down without trouble then promptly going back to warm spot near momma.
     
  7. Little Fuzzy

    Little Fuzzy Chillin' With My Peeps

    599
    37
    93
    Jan 16, 2016
    I'm curious about the same question. I just bought my first bag of corn. I mix my own scratch for their nighttime treat. I bought cracked corn, I hope it's not too stale. I thought about buying whole corn but then I read you have to grind it, oh boy, too much for me. some wrote use popcorn, which I tried but the girls didn't seem to like it, especially the Silkie.
     
  8. JennaMW14

    JennaMW14 Out Of The Brooder

    161
    9
    31
    Nov 11, 2016
    Thank you everyone, I'll probably get cracked corn because I know a store near me has it but if the whole corn is also there and you state it's ok for the chickens then I might get whole corn.
     
  9. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

    3,221
    590
    261
    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado

    That's a good point! They can most definitely see the bright yellow candy on the soil that tends to hide wheat kernels; I had never thought of that being why I have volunteer wheat all over the place but no corn ha-ha ;)
     
  10. Red-Stars-in-RI

    Red-Stars-in-RI Chillin' With My Peeps

    126
    41
    101
    Mar 24, 2014
    Rhode Island
    I buy whole corn, then let my son grind it in the chicken run.

    We bought him a cheap grinder and bolted it to an old kitchen chair and keep it in the shed. When he wants to grind corn, I set him up in the run with the grinder and a couple of pounds of corn and he has at it.

    We got the grinder for him when he was 3 1/2, and he's almost 5 and still enjoys it.

    $30 for a cheap grinder, $8 for a 50 lb bag of corn, and hours of entertainment. Plus, free chickens snacks!

    Can't beat it!
     
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by