your opinion - feeding hens AND a rooster

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ams3651, Nov 3, 2008.

  1. ams3651

    ams3651 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2008
    NE PA
    I had read some thing a while back about roosters having health problems potentially from eating layer feed. One person suggested to feed Flock Raiser which I can not find in my area. My options are layer and grower/finisher. I love my roo, I dont want to feed him something that he could have a problem with but my options are limited. Help. I just poured in the last of the starter I had to finish up and as of a couple days ago all 5 are laying. Oh and I do offer oyster shell but I dont think they do much with it.
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Since I wanted to feed Purina's Sunfresh Layena I e-mailed the folks at Purina to ask what to feed my roos. They told me feeding him the Layena (layer feed) was fine. My thinking is that if the feed makers thought they could get away with selling a seperate feed for roos they would. So layer feed is fine.
  3. snowydiamonds

    snowydiamonds Chillin' With My Peeps

    You can provide both in separate containers and they choose what they want, when they want or mix the two feeds together or alternate what you are feeding, its what I've been doing, along w/a bag of layer only but that created problems for at least three birds and that's when I decided to alternate, mix, etc.
  4. Tuffoldhen

    Tuffoldhen Flock Mistress

    Jan 30, 2007
    I've always fed my roosters the same thing the hens eat, layer pellets, I have never had problems with the roosters health!
  5. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    I offer both layer food and game bird maintenance food (which doesn't have all the calcium the layer food has and that roos don't need). If hens choose to eat the game bird maintenance they can supplement with oyster shell, available 24/7. They always seem to know how much they need.

    There have been articles indicating that layer food has too much calcium for roos, with kidney problems a documented effect (I think Diana - dlhunicorn - has some interesting references). My roo BJ was being cared for by someone else for some months while I was tending to my sick mom in the hospital. They took shortcuts and only supplied layer food despite promises to feed as I requested (I supplied the food) and eventually shared this info with me. For a time afterward BJ showed signs of gout (a side effect of messed up kidneys). His feet and legs seemed to hurt a lot, maybe not something others would notice but I knew him so well and could see the change in him. I employed a remedy for gout (cherries) and in time he got better. Back on the game bird maintenance food, there hasn't been a reoccurrence of his foot/leg problems. I'm not certain the problem was from having access strictly to layer food but I am suspicious it might have been. This said, it could be that BJ's body just couldn't tolerate calcium as well as another roos might. Most documentation seems to indicate that any kidney damage would not be reversible.

    I suspect the reason there isn't much in the way of food out there specifically tailored to roos is that most folks less enamored with their roos than BYCers wouldn't buy a 50 pound bag for their one or two roos since most of it would go bad before it got used. And in the commercial world, little roos-in-waiting are generally killed while still chicklets. So the adult roo/hen ratio in the US anyway, is something on the order of 90 gazillion hens for every roo! Not much of a market.


    Edited just to add that my feathered friends also get a myriad of other foods like sunflower seeds, fruits, veggies etc, oats etc, adding variety and interest beyond the commercially prepared stuff and thus also diluting the calcium take. It still fascinates me to this day that I've never seen a roo give oyster shell a passing glance yet the hens aim straight for it when they feel the need!
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2008
  6. Pumpkinpup

    Pumpkinpup Poultry Princess

    Jul 16, 2008
    North-West Georgia
    My chickens get a custom blend of wheat, alfalfa, layer pellets, sunflower seed, oats, soybeans and cracked corn. They seem to like it very well and I have had no problems with my roos.
  7. ams3651

    ams3651 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2008
    NE PA
    they do sell game bird maintence food at TSC. i will have to check at the mill as they are usually a little cheaper but surprisingly they dont have much knowledge of it. I already do offer oyster shell as they have been finishing up the bag of starter but I dont think they eat much out of the bowl. They do eat it if I scatter it with corn and other seeds.

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