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Comments On - Feeding Chickens


Chickens need sunshine, bugs, and plenty of fun places to go dig and scratch. I give my chickens Oyster Flakes also, especially if they are laying.
Put out a little Bowl or just scatter some in their scratching areas. If your farm store ain't got em you can get some at OysterShells dot us.

Yeah all our Neighbors got free ranch chickens and they all mingle and scratch together. Roosters get along good, strange enough.
The Beer Oyster, Newport, NC
Posted: 5/12/2014 5:03:42 PM
I've had 2 hens die within a week. I've been fighting with my husband and his family who insist they need cracked corn when I've been giving them layer feed and the first ingredient is corn. Since the big fight, I backed off and let them take over taking care of the chickens(Me and my daughter were the only ones doing anything with them before). And now that I backed off, quit feeding them the layer feed as much, basically quit taking care of them and let them do it, 2 have died. I was giving all of them Duramycin in their water because they were sneezing and coughing which has now passed, but I'm still upset that they think they know what's best for these chickens and their answer is just straight cracked corn. Please help before the rest of the flock is gone!
Holly, Smethport, PA
Posted: 4/25/2014 6:25:26 PM
Good info.
Sarah, Marathon, ON
Posted: 4/2/2014 7:57:50 AM
I usually feed my girls fresh weeds, wild grass, and produce from my garden in addition to their layer rations, and they love it! Plus, it saves me money and cuts back on garden waste!
Lori, Pueblo, CO
Posted: 5/13/2013 9:34:52 PM
Chickens are omnivores that can and do eat just about anything. Give them the overripe scraps from your garden. Give them the thinnings and prunings. What they don't actually eat, they will peck, scratch and dig around while they cover it with wonderful fertilizer. Then, throw what's left (if anything) into the composter, or the worm bin. They deserve first crack at your waste stream from the dinner table and kitchen preparations. After all they do for you (eggs, meat, insect removal, fertilization, friendship, security), treat them to whatever you have.

This does NOT, of course, replace the grain and scratch feeds, but is a wonderful supplement to their diet.
Bruce, Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 11/27/2012 2:09:21 PM
Good information
Annie, Houston, TX
Posted: 9/18/2012 7:27:23 AM
Just another thought about oyster shells: supposedly they do have some protein in them (I don't know how much) but they provide too much calcium for growing chicks. As Cheryl said, oyster shell is good for laying hens but not as a grower feed supplement.

As far as eggshells, they are great for calcium supplements and opinions vary on whether recognizable shells lead to egg-eating. To be safe I always crush them. Most hens will eat an egg that's been accidentally broken in the nest but that doesn't indicate that they'd break an egg to eat it.

We have been buying non-GMO grains and legumes from local farmers plus a vitamin/mineral supplement from a local feed producer. We bought a small grain mill and have been happy with the feed for both chickens and pigs. Our chickens would rather forage all day but much of the year there's not enough out there to keep them going.
Marie James, Colville, WA
Posted: 9/14/2012 5:15:12 PM
Great advice.
Galadriel, Lothlorien, ME
Posted: 8/30/2012 11:58:14 PM
When I start to get chickens, I probably won't be able to afford organic feed.
Harrison, Dayton, TN
Posted: 7/31/2012 4:39:56 PM
If you want to feed chicken eggshells, you should probably crush them up first to avoid egg-eating habits.
Harrison, Dayton, TN
Posted: 7/18/2012 3:35:39 PM
I was curious about feeding back the egg shells to the layers. At first it happened by accident by droping one of their eggs, but now if we get a cracked egg or just the shells from that mornings breakfast, we take it out to the chicken coop. They absolutly LOVE their own egg shells. I am just wondering if this is ok for them. After all it is calcium back into their diet so they can lay more eggs.
Moriah, Guntersville, AL
Posted: 11/3/2011 8:52:58 AM
Firstly, I want my profile to be connected to these comments so that I can communicate with people on here about other comments. Bad design.

Secondly, the bit that reads, "Finding higher-protein feed can be difficult, but you can supplement layer feed with oyster shell." is misleading. Oyster shell, unlike the other commenter says, is a supplement for layers, not growers. They don't need extra calcium if they aren't laying. The issue is, oyster shell has NOTHING to do with protein. I'm not sure what the author is getting at here.

Lastly, to the commenter who asked about greens for chickens, there are a couple of books that have nice resources. "City Chicks" and "Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens" will get you some info on greens and such. There are also resources online that a quick Google search will find you. One of the easiest things to do is to grown sprouts in buckets inside. You want to bleach those buckets between sproutings to avoid contamination, but it's a good way. Good luck! Maybe an article on here would be useful.
Darren, Indianapolis, IN
Posted: 7/30/2011 5:03:59 AM
I'm getting ready to switch from starter feed to layer; I make sure they get grain first thing in the morning, and a few hours later, they also get the garden leftovers;cukes,tomatoes,squash,etc...
My birds are almost 11 weeks old
Chris, Kannapolis, NC
Posted: 7/20/2011 11:58:14 AM
I wish this had more information about growing things in small spaces to supplement your flock's food - which greens are most nutritious and beloved by chickens? What is your greatest return in grain if you have limited space but want to grow part of the chicken feed? etc.
Jess, Olympia, WA
Posted: 6/14/2011 12:13:48 PM
Good Info
Tracy, Bonham, TX
Posted: 4/20/2011 9:28:20 AM
"Finding higher-protein feed can be difficult, but you can supplement layer feed with oyster shell."

This should read "...you can supplement GROWER feed with oyster shell."

Otherwise, good information!
Carla, Portland, OR
Posted: 1/1/2011 1:20:15 PM
When I had chickens, I fed them wild bird seed with corn in it. When I switched to a commercial layer feed, the chickens became very stinky. If you want to figure your own protein for your chickens and come up with your own feed, try this formula. I use it make my own goat grain mix. www.lionsgrip.com/protein
Rebecca, Fraziers Bottom, WV
Posted: 12/31/2010 5:08:13 AM
I feed my chickens a flake of alfalfa everyday - makes for rich, orangy yolks. If you don't have a ranch, you can pick up alfalfa at the local PetCo in the rabbit food section. Easy way to give greens.
Lisa, Malibu, CA
Posted: 12/10/2010 9:41:40 AM
Wonderful info, but I'd really like to find a more simple way to feed out chickens. We've only had them for about 2 mos, and we've been buying commercial food. I'd like to mill our own, but haven't been able to find a good recipe that's easy enough and economical. If anyone has a good recipe (no hard to find or expensive ingredients) I'd really appreciate it if you share it!! You can post it in the comments of our blog BlackForestHomestead.com
Thanks!
~OrganicMama
Shannon, Grand Rapids, MI
Posted: 12/10/2010 8:20:40 AM
Sounds awfully complicated. Chickens are great at determining what they need. Offering a place to graze and kitchen scraps along with organic layer feed to your layers and they will be healthy as can be. Sometimes we scare people away from chicken raising because it seems too complex.
Rebecca, Cedar Rapids, IA
Posted: 7/13/2010 5:46:57 AM
Great tips.
Galadriel, Lothlorien, ME
Posted: 6/20/2010 11:53:30 PM
Very informative article. Especially found the importance of not altering a balanced diet by feeding to many goodies or other foostuffs that would decrease the consumption of the balanced diet.
With our hens we feed a balnaced ration and also allow them an outdoor run which can be moved around the yard and or through the garden area as the vegetables are harvested. I will also dump a small amount of grass clippings into their pen when I mow the yard as they love going through it looking for crickets, grasshoppers and other bugs that have made it into the lawn mower bagger. We do not use any yard herbicides or sprays so the grass is something they thoroughly enjoy going though.
Mark, Lexington, KY
Posted: 5/21/2010 7:14:37 PM
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