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 Post subject: Feeding of chooks
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:24 pm 
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Golden Robin
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Location: Tuross Head, NSW fsr south east coast
I received the following in a private message and then thought that if one person was interested enogh to write and ask the questions then its of interest to others as well. So I am responding to the PM here in he public forum.

Mike,

I read in one of your recent post that chicken should be fed about 100g of food per day, mainly pellets and grain should only be a treat.

My hens free range in the garden which has been denuded by the chicken over 10 years. hence, I don't think they are getting much nutrients from stratching the soil. I have given them too much grains in the past. Often a great deal was left and that explained why I had so much rats and red belly balck snake lurking in the run.

My questions are:

1. How many times should the chicken be fed?

2. Do I follow the patern of breakfast, lunch and dinner?

3. Which brad will be the best for my hens?

4. How often should they be given vitamins?

I hope you don't mind me posting my questions directly to you.

Thank you.


Firstly, the 100grams per day is an approximate amount of feed a day that a chook will eat. Some will eat more and some will eat less but its in that 90 - 120 grams of food in total that a chooks will eat in a day.

The questions
Mike,

1. How many times should the chicken be fed?

Fowls are like sheep and cattle in that they graze most of the day, they may dust bathe, sun bake or find shade at times but basically they feed all day and that allows a continual stream of food to be partially pre digested crop, ground up in the gizzard and then finally digested through the intestines. So in that respect, its probably better to let them have continual food during the day, some scratch mix just before they go to roost in the late afternoon. As a guidline, if you have a rodent problem remove uneaten food before sunset. The scratch mix really only needs to be a couple of hand fulls per flock.

It to give them a sense of contentment and fullness as they go to roost.

2. Do I follow the patern of breakfast, lunch and dinner?

Not really, we do that as humans because we have trained ourselves to fit those times to suit our lifestyles and schedules. Dietitions also advise humans to eat less but to eat that less more often during the waking hours to maintain constant energy levels.

Fowls are the same, given the choice, they will as and when they feel the need.

3. Which brad will be the best for my hens?

Just about all proprietary brands of layer pellets (or mash) are a balanced (though it may lack variety) meal for poultry. Where i live we dont have a great variety of brands so I can't really comment on which brand is best. I use Barastoc simply because that is what our local produce store carries. It works for me and I dont have health problems as a result.

I would suggest though that people who wish to breed from their fowls that they start using Breeder ration pellets for six weeks prior to mating programs and setting eggs in incubators or broody hens. Layer pellets are designed to give what is needed for a fowl to produce eggs. Breeder ration gives that bit extra needed for those eggs to produce healthy robust chickens.

The ratio of layer pellets should be in the order of 80% of their total feed. For the variety in their feed then table scraps, treats, greens and scratch mix should not be more than 20% of the total feed.

4. How often should they be given vitamins?

In a perfect world addditional vitamins should not be neccessary and should be a component of commercial pellets and mash. However, we see enough vitamin deficiencies to know that there are times when the vitamin content can be less than they need. There is health risks in overfeeding of vitamins so vitamins should only be used in the water no more than once a month unless there are signs of vitamin deficiency.

Chickens and growing fowls are different. Firstly they need different feed to adult birds as chicken starter till six weeks of age, grower crumbles until almost adulthood and point of lay. Chicken develop and grow so fast that that even with the correct food their rate of growth can see them outstrip their body reserves and they may need more vitamins in their water. The same thing applies though that over use of vitamins can lead to other health problems.

Also dont feed vitamins to chickens while they are on coccidioisis medication. There is a scientific reason for not doing that.

Hope that helps

Mike

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 Post subject: Re: Feeding of chooks
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:50 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Location: Peakhurst
Thanks for taking so much time to expalin everything clearly.

Since my chickens are free ranged, will they be smart enougn to go to the food source left for them?

Kiew


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 Post subject: Re: Feeding of chooks
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:02 pm 
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Golden Robin
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Yep - only humans will willingly starve them selves. Once they learn where the feed is then they will find it as they want it.

Mike

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 Post subject: Re: Feeding of chooks
PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:19 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Location: Peakhurst
I followed mike's advice on feeding.

It has worked really well. Now I don't have stacks of wasted food.

Thank you, Mike.


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 Post subject: Re: Feeding of chooks
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 9:44 am 
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Dapper Duck
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I give scratch mix and let free range when I am home to supervise for foxes. I also give food scraps, including meat, and occasionally a tub of yoghurt. I worm my chickens seasonally as we get a lot of wild birds in to pick up anything the chooks have not! These birds carry mites, which are not nice.

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 Post subject: Re: Feeding of chooks
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 2:41 pm 
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Golden Phoenix
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Location: Tarago, near Goulburn
Note that what's labelled "scratch mix" is NOT a complete poultry feed. It's precisely what it says on the packet - a mix of grains that you scatter widely in their run for them to scratch for.

You may wish to consider providing an ad-lib self-feeder with a complete poultry feed in it, such as pellets, or one of the layer grain mixes (such as Barastoc's Darling Downs Layer or Laucke's Red Hen Blue), to ensure they get the right balance of nutrients to keep providing eggs, and to keep warm through the ACT region's (usually!) very cold and dry winters.


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 Post subject: Re: Feeding of chooks
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 9:35 pm 
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Hatchling
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I want to get some batam sized chooks. I know that they need shell grit to help form their eggs but I was wondering what grade of shell grit to use. Should I use fine shell grit or a course shell grit? How would I know the difference?


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 Post subject: Re: Feeding of chooks
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 3:21 pm 
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Golden Swan
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I use 'Crushed Shell Grit' for all my chooks - large and bantam. It is small white shells crushed into medium to fine pieces. I get it at a stock feed place.

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 Post subject: Re: Feeding of chooks
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 5:07 pm 
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Assist Admin
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I use medium grade. There are enough finer bits for bantams and the bigger pieces of shell eventually get ground down as the chooks peck at it in its heavy terra cotta container. The bags should be labelled with the grade of shellgrit & you may even be able to see a sample to make sure. Coarse shellgrit, in the brand I buy, is too coarse for even large fowl. A range should be readily available at any stockfeed store.


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 Post subject: Re: Feeding of chooks
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 2:38 pm 
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Hatchling
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Can you just clarify about the vitamins in their water please? One of my girls wasn't well and we gave them Soluvit D and also syringe fed her some over the course of a couple of days. She's fine and dandy once again. :)

However, when you say only once a month - do you mean for one day or over the course of a couple of days?

Sorry, I am fairly new to the chicken world so I relish this information.

thank you


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 Post subject: Re: Feeding of chooks
PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:27 am 
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Site Administrator
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Once a month is only a way of ensuring that people don't overdo it. Some vitamins are water-soluble and flush out of the system if they get too much. Other vitamins don't and they build up and can causes health issues. Supplementing can be good if there's a reason it's needed but you just don't want to overdo it.

If you give them during the course of a short illness to help support them, that's fine. They often are not eating well at those times and the supplement can be helpful. Whether it's a day or a few days doesn't matter a lot. As long as vitamins supplements are not continuous it won't cause a problem.

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