winter feeding??


Cj's Mandarin Ducks
11 Years
Mar 11, 2008
Central PA
Wondering what others add to their feeding program in the winter to help chickens stay warm. I have only silkies and don't really want to feed corn as it will (over time) turn a white silke yellow. I have heard alfalfa pellets or rabbit pellets added to their diet. What do you do?
There's a thead on here somewhere, that talks about scratch being good becasue it keeps them warmer etc.
I think you can put oatmeal etc in it. hopefully someone else can help you more
Fiber probably won't do it since chickens don't have the digestive ability to make much use of it. Higher protein rations probably won't either since protein, unlike carbohydrates and fats, isn't easy to convert to calories. In fact, fats don't have much more to offer than calories.

Alfalfa meal has only 1,200 Calories/kilogram.

Corn is a high calorie grain (3,350 kcal/kg) but so is rice (2,990 kcal/kg) and white wheat (3,120 kcal/kg).

Nutrient Requirements of Poultry

. . . hope that helps.


edited to say: But, I just feed extra scratch which includes the corn, etc.
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I am planning to feed them just like I do now. I may throw some scratch in the coop on days it's really bad outside just to give them something to "do" but otherwise, I'll stick with my regular feed/water and kitchen scraps.
The only thing I do different in feeding in the wintertime is that I give them more "treats" in the coop cos the weather here tends to get nasty, and they won't go outside.

I throw BOSS in the bedding to give them somethign to look for, add a bit of corn to their pellets, and hang cabbages from the celing etc to keep from boredom. I get the alfalfa compressed hay blocks and let them sit in hot water to soften, and mix with hot mash in the afternoon as a treat. Last year it got to about 5 degrees at night...very unusual!! So i made sure they had plenty of warm foods and treats...they love warm oatmeal, or crumbles made into a warm mash, mashed potatoes with shredded veggies, whole apples, etc.

Really tho, its the same food/treats they get year round, just inside the coop and sometimes made a bit warmer to get them interested. They won't play with toys, (at least mine wont), so food is a good way to combat the boredom! They always have access to outside tho so they can go out if they want to <If I deem it safe enough to open their door that is>.
Black Oiled Sunflower Seeds
can you buy JUST black oiled sunflower seeds? I will be keeping this stuff in mind myself for this winter, should it be as cold as predicted.

** and i guess most people shovel out the chicken run for them??

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