Feeding Chooks0 to 8 week chicks
- Chick crumbs
In a 1998 study it was found that delaying balanced nutrition in hatchling poultry for even 24 hours can retard growth and development of the gastrointestinal and immune systems and impact growth long after this. 8 to 18 weeks
- Grower Pellets18 weeks on
- Layer Pellets or equivalentNutrients Chooks Need ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS
The following six classes of nutrients are essential to life, growth, production and reproduction in all classes of poultry. Nature supplies most of these essentials in the form of pasture, bugs and insects, gravel, grains and seeds, sunshine, etc. Indoor feeding of young or adult poultry, places full responsibility on the attendant to supply these same requirements in some form or another and in adequate but not excessive amounts.WATER
: Birds can live longer without food than without water. Lack of a consistant supply of fresh water hinders the growth of young poultry; it leads to low egg production and early moulting in the laying flock. PROTEIN
: This is usually the most expensive feed material, but the one most likely to bring profitable results if properly used. Protein from animal sources - milk, liver, fish scraps, meat or meat meal - is more effective in promoting growth and egg production, than protein from most vegetable sources. Grains alone are entirely inadequate in amount and kind of protein. Excess protein has a forcing effect which may be detrimental to poultry of any age. CARBOHYDRATES
: These are the starchy materials in grains and grain products. Only a starved flock will lack for carbohydrates. They supply fuel and energy, the excess going to form fat in the body or egg. FATS
: Some fat is present in practically all feed materials. An excess of fat from fish oil or meat and fish products may cause digestive upset in birds, and lead to such disorders as fatty degeneration and "crazy chick disease". MINERALS
: Calcium carbonate (from limestone or gravel, clam or oyster shells, bone, etc) in the presence of Vitamin D, forms most of the egg shell. Calcium and phosphorous make up the major part of bone; but excess phosphorous (from bone materials) may immobilize the manganese in the diet, leading to crooked bones and slipped tendons in chicks and poults. Salt supplies some essential minerals. Green feed contains small amounts of certain highly important minerals. VITAMINS
: The naturally speedy growth of young poultry soon reveals any vitamin deficiencies in their rations; hatching of eggs is a critical test of the vitamin content of a breeder diet. Most commonly lacking in Manitoba diets are:
(1) Vitamin A (from green feed, yellow corn and fish oils). Vitamin A protects against colds and infections.
(2) Vitamin D (in marine fish oils and synthetic products, or formed in body when exposed to ultra-violet rays of sun). Vitamin D aids in laying down of mineral in shell or bone, and in preventing leg weakness and rickets.
(3) Riboflavin (in milk, liver, yeast, green feed, synthetic riboflavin, etc.). Riboflavin promotes the growth of chicks and poults, both in the egg and after hatching; hence it is one of the most important factors in hatchability. Riboflavin prevents nutritional or curled-toe paralysis in young chicks.
This article summarises the association of particular vitamins with certain problems which may be observed in poultry. http://www.poultry-health.com/library/solvits.htmFEEDS
Wheat usually is one of the best grains for poultry feeding, although a proportion of course grains in some form should always be included in the ration, along with wheat. In seasons of rust or frost, when wheat is shrunken, more should be ground and fed in mashes and less in the scratch feed. Either hard spring or Durum wheat may be used.
Oats vary considerably in feeding value, due to difference in hull. They can be fed whole as part of a scratch feed, or in mashes in the crushed, rolled, or finely ground form. If light, sift out the hulls; poor quality oats frequently have so much hull as to be of little use for poultry feed.
Barley will work well as part of the scratch feed and in mashes in crushed, rolled, or finely ground form. Ordinarily it is not quite as palatable as wheat or oats; still in seasons when these two grains are of poor quality and the barley is fair or good, more can fed in the different forms, or even as boiled or soaked barley, with very good results.
Corn is a very desirable grain fed whole, cracked or ground. Ripe corn on the cob may be fed to hens and turkeys. Shelled corn may be used with other grains as scratch feed. Corn chop could be included in any of the dry mash rations listed in this circular. The corn, if not thoroughly dried, should be mixed with the other chop in the mash immediately after grinding.
Millet (proso or hog millet), where grown, may be used to good advantage in growing, laying, and fattening rations. Millet may compromise up to one-third of the whole grain fed, and up to one-third of the chop mixture in dry mashes.
Rye is not as palatable as wheat, oats or barley, but can be fed in limited quantities as a scratch feed or in mashes along with two or more of the other grains. In large quantities it is likely to cause digestive disorders.
Flax is high in protein and fat. A small amount may be fed in the whole or ground form in mashes during the moulting season and fall and winter months. Linseed oil cake meal may also be used.
By-products of grain (such as wheat middlings, shorts, bran, barley meal, oat flour, oat middlings, and oat feed) have a place in poultry feeding, especially where feed must be bought. They may be higher in price than the whole grain, and if used should be fed for a specific purpose, such bran, shorts or middlings in growing and laying rations, and oat flour, oat middlings, oat feed, or barley meal in fattening rations.
Skim milk and Buttermilk are Excellent for all Classes of Poultry but especially valuable for young chicks, laying hens and fattening birds. Milk supplies the vitamin riboflavin which is indispensible to high hatching quality in eggs. As a desirable protein supplement, milk undoubtedly heads the list.
"Concentrates" and "Balancers" are especially prepared supplements put up by feed companies. They should be added to home-grown chopped grains in proportions recommended by the manufacturers.
Fish Oils (cod liver oil, pilchard oil, etc.) are used in chick rations, in winter laying rations and in rations for producing eggs for hatching, as a source of Vitamins A and D when the supply of green pasture and direct sunshine is limited or lacking. Standard fish oils for poultry should contain 1,250 units or more of Vitamin A, and 200 A.O.A.C. units or more of Vitamin D, per gram. If fed in dry mash the oil should be mixed first with a small quantity of ground wheat.
This wonderful information is taken from MANITOBA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND IMMIGRATION WINNIPEG, MANITOBA paper: POULTRY RATIONS and Feeding Methods.
Other useful links:
This one included the answers to frequently asked questions such as 'Why does my hen lays soft shelled eggs?' etc http://msucares.com/poultry/feeds/index.html
This one looks in detail at the digestive process in poultry, and thus the benefits and difficulties of certain feeds http://www.shagbarkbantams.com/page20.htm Quantity to Feed - Commercial Pellet based feedPlease note: the amounts given are guidelines only. Tha actual amount eaten will depend on size, breed and whether the chicks/chooks are under lights. It is 'usual' practice to feed pellet type feeds ad lib.Chicks
(Chick Crumbles) - varies from approximately 12 grams per day at hatch to 40 grams per day at 6 weeks.Growers
(Pullet Grower) - 40 grams per day at 6 weeks to 85 grams per day at 18 weeks.Adult Hens
- Quantity of Pellets in relation to number of eggs laid
no eggs: 83-95g per day (around 1/4 cup)
30% production: 95-108g per day
90% production: 120-131g per day (scant 1/2 cup)
Generally if you provide an unlimited supply of pellets the chooks won't over eat, although they sometimes do with grain based feeds (by picking out the 'good' bits)viewtopic.php?t=5708viewtopic.php?t=4200 viewtopic.php?t=6216 viewtopic.php?t=4021Information on Food Value of different Mixesviewtopic.php?t=153
Keep in mind that Commercial Mixes lose some of their food value as they age viewtopic.php?t=5938What are the different commercial feeds?
Pellets - balanced diet containing all the nutrients a laying hen needs, including calcium.
Mash - as for pellets but not pelletised
Feed Mixes, Scratch mixes - balanced diet consisting of a mix of grains, and mash or pellets. May also include oyster shell for calcium.
Other food options include vegetable scraps, meat or fish meal, meal worms, grains and seeds, free ranging, and your own feed mixes. If mixing your own food makes sure all the dietry requirements of your chooks are met.
Fresh food is impportant. Under hot and humid conditions, feed without antioxidants is subject to oxidative rancidity, which can lead to symptoms of vitamin deficiency.http://www.wattnet.com/Archives/Docs/03
... N=74030876Organic Alternatives to Pellets and Feeding Chooks Naturally viewtopic.php?t=1155viewtopic.php?t=4452Some Home Made Mash Recipes viewtopic.php?t=2950
Wet Mash viewtopic.php?t=946Forgot to buy Chick Crumble?
This will get you out of a fix!
1. Finely grated carrot and /or rolled oats - quick cooking stuff or break up bigger oats and/or milled/cracked grain, weetbix, wheatgerm - raid your pantry as stopgap.
2. Boiled eggs mashed up work miuxed with bread crumbs or on it's own.
Chicks can also be fed grains form a young age. However if feeding them grain remember that they also need very fine grit too.viewtopic.php?t=4002Feeding Scraps
Feeding scraps can be a great way of recycling scraps and of cutting your feed bill. Kitchen schen scraps should not replace pellets or grain mixes but can be a useful adjunct. Some scraps can be poisonous in small amounts or toxisity can build up over time, so avoid raw potatoe peelings, especially any green ones. Avacado is also toxic. Generally chooks won't eat things that aren't good for them but if they are hungry they maydo so take care.
Link to thread: viewtopic.php?t=5614Free Ranging for Food
This is a great way of providing a varied died and really helps cut the food bill. Remember to also provide a pelletised/grain based food as well (although they will eat much less of it).
Plants Toxic to Chooks viewto
Plants Safe for Chooks viewto
... =poisonousProtein Sources
Meat meal: http://forum.backyardpoultry.com/viewtopic.php?t=6123http://forum.backyardpoultry.com/viewtopic.php?t=6254
Growing meal worms: http://forum.backyardpoultry.com/viewtopic.php?t=3802Special Feeding RegimesFattening Chooks for Eating http://forum.backyardpoultry.com/viewtopic.php?t=1568Feeding for Showingviewtopic.php?t=1273Special Diet to Assist Ex Battery Hens Adjust to 'Normal' Food
For 5 birds:
2 tablespoons of Meat meal (protein supplement)
2 tablespoons of Bran
4 tablespoons of Pollard
6-8 tablespoons of layer crumbles or pellets (use hot water to break them down into a mash) (carbs)
Full cream milk to mix into a crumble texture
Pinch of some vitamins and minerals in the mix
1 dessertspoon of some grit mixed in with the mix (oyster shell or 1/2 teaspoon of calcium powder)
2 teaspoons of cod liver oil
Mix with water or the milk to form a crumbly texture, put into a deepish dish so they can peck at it (debeaked birds), make up twice a day
In hot weather remove it after 12 hours if not eaten and replace it.
... elled+eggsRickets Diet
This is an excellent diet for off colour or ill birds.
2 to 4 tablespoons of rolled oats or Rice Baby Cereal (easily digested)
2 tablespoons of yoghurt, NOT THE ONE WITH FRUIT OR SUGAR IN IT, very important.. find the one with the active bacillus
2 tablespoons of GRATED not chopped, apple and carrot
1 small teaspoon of honey
1 boiled egg yolk.. not the white.. only the yolk
If you have multi vitamin powder.. put a few grains into the mix... not grams .. grains.. this is about 5 to 8 grains.. a little goes a long way.
Make this into a crumbly mixture..not wet and soggy.. the bird must still be able to eat it by picking it up in her beak
Feed for 3 days up to 3 weeks.. depending on the birds progress. Most birds take around 7 to 9 days on this diet to get back to normal.
... elery+seedGrit and Shell GritChooks need both hard grit and shell grit. Shell grit
(crushed oyster shell)is a source of calcium and is usually fed in a separate container. The chooks will help themselves when they need it. You can also use crushed up eggshells as the calcium suppliment instead of oyster shell. Take care not to give young chicks too much calcium - they only need supplimentary calcium when they start to lay. Cuttle fish can also be used as a calcium suppliment: viewtopic.php?t=2875Hard Grit
is necessary for chooks eating grain and helps develop a heathy digestive system. As hens don't have teeth, the grit assists in grinding up whole grain. You should start chick on grit as soon as you start giving them grain, but they will need a finer grit than adult hens. I usually start them by sprinkling some coarse sand onto their chick crumb.
When to start with grit: http://forum.backyardpoultry.com/viewtopic.php?t=5950
Calcium suppliment for layers: http://forum.backyardpoultry.com/viewtopic.php?t=3636
Egg shells for calcium: http://forum.backyardpoultry.com/viewtopic.php?t=4382Waterers and Feeders
There are many types of waterers and feeders out there. One of the most important points to help prevent disease it to keep them clean. Here are some links:
Do it yourself waterer: viewtopic.php?t=1076
Cool water in hot weather: viewtopic.php?t=879
Rodent proof feeder: viewtopic.php?t=670
Feeders and waterers to last several days: http://forum.backyardpoultry.com/viewtopic.php?t=5361Electrolytes
When a bird is dehydrated due to illness, the provision of electrlytes in the drinking water can assist in the recovery.Commercial Powdered Electrolytes
: Treatment 24 hours or as needed
For stress and transportation stress, heat stress, 1 teaspoon to 4 litres of water.Home Made Electrolytes
(this formula gives needed electrolytes & some sugar for energy)
1 cup water
* 2 tsp sugar
* 1/8 tsp salt
* 1/8 tsp baking soda
Combine all ingredients and warm slightly.
Mix 1 teaspoon in one litre of water.
... elery+seedDietry suppliments
Dietry suppliments are additives to the diet to improve health and/or wellbeing of your chooks.Soluvet
A commercial product used as a dietary suppliment. Available at Stock Feed Stores or Vetafarm.
Link: viewtopic.php?t=1330Apple Cider vinegar
Available for Stock Feed Stores (don't use the more refined version from the Supermarket). Given at the rate of 10-20ml per Litre of Drinking water, two or three weeks out of four. Assists in acidifying the birds digestive system, making it less attractive to paracites and bacteria. Used as a preventative rather than a cure.Cod Liver Oil
- A good source of Vitamin D (assists in the absorbtion of Calcium). If a chook is lacking in Vitamin D the eggshell quality may suffer. Vitamin D is manufactured in the body from sunlight, but if there is little direct sunlight a chook may suffer from a deficiency. Try 1 tablespoon of oil mixed with commercial pellets (enough for 1 bird for 2 weeks) and see if the shell quality improves. Don't exceed this dose as too much is bad for them. viewto
... elled+eggs viewto
... elled+eggs viewto
Probiotics can help resore the gut flora following a course of antibiotics. there are commercial products available, or you can mix up your own.
Link to Probiotics and gut Flora Restoring Formualeviewto
I would like to give a special thankyou to dlhunicorn for her valuable contribution to this sticky. I have incorporated some of this information in the main body of this sticky, and her post below contains more.