Feeding Chickens

I had a thought this morning, or more an observation actually. I have been getting weaker eggs lately, the shells are breaking easily and the yolks less rich in color. This has corresponded to 2 things; 1. I penned the birds because I got tired of stepping in poo (they have a huge yard though and always have vegetation growing) and 2. I had to go cheap and buy the regular laying pellets from Dumor, which is made by Purina. They get free-choice oyster shell and DE.

Now, I have no problem with the feeds in general, the hens seem healthy enough, but frankly, if I want eggs like those in the store I might as well buy them there, it’s about the same price and far less work. At least my hens get bugs and fresh produce regularly, but it’s not the same. Before, I had them penned and got rich, yummy eggs by feeding birdseed, a very high quality birdseed. We also went through less feed, but we were feeding the wild birds too which was irksome. Lately, though, I have noticed that the wild birds want nothing to do with the chickens feed; odd how switching to layer ration made the wild birds leave the food alone. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? My hens don’t really want it either. It’s mostly soy and corn, and the by-products at that. No wonder they don’t like it!

So, I am going back to feeding birdseed as soon as I can. I like the ones with sunflower seed. The hens did really excellent with nijer seed, though it is really expensive and you have to dole it out only in amounts they can eat in about an hour or the wild birds will eat a lot of it when the hens are done. I buy birdseed without corn or soy, and that is more expensive, then I mix it with oats and wheat if I can find it. Any whole seed seems better than the layer mixes or scratch grains. What you eat really does make a marked difference, and sometimes it’s more obvious in animals where you control almost every aspect of their existence.

About nigerianmeadows

I am a homeschooling mother of 2 autistic children and cook gluten-free, I homestead on 2.5 acre and raise goats and chickens for dairy and eggs, I garden, cook, quilt, and take photographs. I build, paint, scrub, and dance on tables. I am the ultimate WOMAN!!! Oh, yeah, and I like my husband a whole lot (he is the one that makes all this possible, and he loves me like no other!)
This entry was posted in Chickens, Homesteading and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Feeding Chickens

  1. laura little says:

    We had a similar experience here! Due to an economic pinch, we had to buy a very cheap feed in place of the layer pellets we usually get. Want to guess what happened? Same thing. One thing I try to do to keep shell strength up is I save the eggs shells, crush them up and mix them into their feed. I find this to be very effective at producing a strong shell.

  2. LindaG says:

    Thank you so much for this really informative post!
    I have heard of many people feeding the black sunflower seeds to their chickens. Is that what you mean when you say ‘with sunflower seed’, or do you buy a mixed birdseed?
    Have a wonderful week!

    • Yes, it’s the black oil sunflower seed, though they like any. It’s around 16% protein, so is a great way to bring the protein content up since soy is usually how they do that. I think fish meal is good for them too, but until we have fish I can’t experiment with that. Chickens are omnivores, so they need (and eat) more than seeds and greens. They love fresh fish if they can get it, and boiled entrails from butchering, just don’t give them anything related (you know, fowl) because of possible disease issues and illness. In most places insects form the majority of their protein source, but when that is not available you have to give them something to provide it and soy is the cheapest form so it is typically what is used. Most birdseed mixes are only 10-14% protein at best, so you have to keep this in mind when feeding your chickens, who need closer to 18% for laying, 21% for growth, and 16% at other times.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s