Best Quality chicken feed

by Christin Brezil

Question
Best Quality chicken feed: Can you please tell me how to make a grower and layer corn and soy free feed?

Answer
The best quality feed would be whole seeds because they are a live food. Each seed contains the potential for a living growing plant.

Seeds make up a healthy portion of a natural diet for chickens. Wheat, oats, flax, safflower, and black oil sunflower are readily available as well as other healthy seed.

(I have fed whole black oil sunflower and safflower seed to my chickens and they have no trouble breaking them down, shells and all, as they pass through their digestive tract.)

Make sure grit is always available. Free ranging chickens are able to ingest forms of “grit” as they scratch through soil for seeds, roots and bugs.

The make up of most layer feeds is a combination of crushed and processed seeds with an average of 16% protein, some form of fat (often “animal” fat), plant fiber, and added vitamins and minerals.

Sometimes sand or grit is mixed in for additional digestive support (or as I suspect sometimes, a cheap filler adding weight to the feed).

Flax, sunflower and safflower seeds provide excellent protein, fat and fiber, wheat and oats have a good carbohydrate content.

Of course your healthiest seeds will be organic, and this will not be an inexpensive way to feed your chickens. Creating your own feed for a small flock can be cost prohibitive.

Most layer feeds are well balanced for good layer health and egg quality. Finding a supply of whole seeds and researching layer feed protein, fiber, fat and supplement percentages will give you a good basic formula.

It will be up to you to mix your seeds to best duplicate the tried and true balance for layers.

Often co-ops sell bulk seed and grains from local growers. Going Organic may be expensive, but will be the healthiest for you and your chickens.


Return to Raising Chickens Home Page

Click here to post comments

Return to Chicken Feed Questions.

Black Rooster Game Chicken Feed

Question
Black Rooster Game Chicken Feed: A friend showed me the feed that he feeds to his game roosters. I liked the looks of it because it had such a nutritional variety in it, so I bought a sack for my laying hens.

When I looked at the label, it said, "For mature birds not in production". I didn't see anything in it that I thought would be harmful to egg producers, or am I missing something?

Is there a reason that it cannot be fed to egg layers?

Answer
I’m sure there is nothing harmful in that feed for layers, but doubtful it contains a good balance of nutrients to meet the needs of laying hens.

There are reasons for each type of feed and even some “all purpose” poultry feeds. Layer feeds are not the right balanced nutrition for roosters.

I would be hesitant to assume this “non-production” feed is adequate for your girls.

One of the big needs for laying hens is calcium. They have to put out a lot of calcium to create egg shells, as well as other mineral needs.

Mineral deficiencies in layer diet can cause laying problems. The most obvious would be rough, thin or even non existent egg shell coating.

In the process of trying to lay improperly coated eggs, hens can have internal bleeding, tearing and worst case, partial or full prolapse of the oviduct and uterus.

Calcium is vital for healthy muscle, nerve and brain function. A diet poor in minerals and any needed nutrients can affect general health, leading to illness and death.

Unless you have a large chicken operation, mixing your own feed from the basics is probably not cost effective, but quite doable.

A study of quality layer feed ingredients and recipes and knowing the needs of your flock will help you decide what’s best.

I spoke with a lady locally who fed “breeder” feed to all her chickens and found she had better shell quality, hatch rates and general health in her flock.

Return to Raising Chickens Home Page

Click here to post comments

Return to Chicken Feed Questions.

Chicken feeds

Question
Do any of the chicken feeds contain harmful chemicals, such as pesticides or Steroids? I have heard of companies putting ephedrine in some feeds.

Answer
Any non-organic feeds will contain some residual pesticides used in standard grain and seed farming, as well as some preservatives.

If your chickens drink water from city or county water sources, there will be chemicals present. Hopefully feeds don’t contain undisclosed drugs; some contain antibiotics as listed in the ingredients.

By your note I hear your concern for the importance of knowing what you are feeding your chickens.

Sadly we live in a polluted world. Buying organic feeds; rewarding an industry working hard to produce safe and healthy products, and complaining to companies poisoning food supplies is important.

By law, human and animal feeds must list measurable levels of ingredients.

Adding things like steroids and ephedrine sounds like a feed that would cater to commercial factory style chicken operations, or be added to feeds for mass produced-short lived-meat poultry, like what we can buy inexpensively at most grocery stores.

Return to Raising Chickens Home Page

Click here to post comments

Return to Chicken Feed Questions.

Healthy chicken

by py robinson
(liverpool)

Question
Healthy chicken: Some of my chickens are having watery "poos" instead of firm ones, they are fed on layer pellets and corn plus any greens that I have.

Apart from this they all seem to be very healthy.
If you could give any advice, I would be very grateful.

Answer
Though often the main ingredient in chicken feeds, corn is a poor food for chickens. The amount of corn in the feed is balanced with other ingredients to make a whole food.

Adding corn is unnecessary and causes an unbalanced diet. Often excess corn, especially cracked or whole, moves through their system poorly digested.

Nearly all corn these days is genetically modified and not as healthy as it used to be. Greens or vegetation should be about 1/2 a chicken's diet.

In free range and natural settings chickens consume much grass and leafy greens fruits and seeds.

In warm weather, water consumption may be high, causing more watery stools than normal. The color of the watery poos is important.

Rusty reddish can mean there is intestinal irritation, possibly from parasites or organisms that don't belong.

Having a stool sample checked by a local avian/poultry vet can tell if there is a need for medication.

Return to Raising Chickens Home Page

Click here to post comments

Return to Chicken Feed Questions.