asked us what we feed our birds. Here's the "feed scoop":
All birds are
choice". This means that food is available to them at all times
they eat what they want. Chickens will not over-eat like some
and livestock will. According to Evergreen Feed Mill's feed sack
they indicate an appropriate daily quantity of layer ration is 3.5
per bird or 22 pounds per 100 birds. READ your feed labels.
neighborhood feed stores is locally produced and there are thousands
local feed mills, so don't be too concerned with "brand names".
the ingredient labels of the feeds locally available to you. We once fed Purina feeds, but the
cost was much higher. After all, they don't eat the
"checkerboard" sacks, do they?
The feed we
use is manufactured
by Evergreen Feed Mills Inc., P.O. Box 548, Ada, Oklahoma 74820.
Here's a list of
we purchase weekly and the cost (US) per 50 pound bag.
Click on the
feed name to
see the Evergreen feed sack labels listing Guaranteed Analysis,
and Feeding Directions.
21 February 2005 (NICE to see prices drop for a change!!)
crumbles - 28% - 30% protein
2nd week until 4
months (or first egg) - Medicated chick starter - 20% protein
We feed all
our newly hatched babies (chicks, keets, poults and quail) medicated
gamebird starter for the first week because it has extra protein
to get the babies off to a good start. With chicks, we switch
to medicated Chick Starter after the first week. This contains
Amprolium to prevent and
build immunity to Coccidiosis, which is a common illness that chicks
susceptible to. They stay on this feed until they're about 4
old or they lay the first egg, whichever comes first. Many people
switch from chick starter to grower ration at 5 weeks, but our local
stores don't carry it, and the chick starter we use is formulated to
the grower ingredients.
about 4-5 months of age (or when they lay the first egg), we switch
them to a complete layer ration which
includes the extra calcium necessary for good egg shell
Most Layer Rations are formulated to include all the calcium needed, so
there's really no need to feed oyster shell separately, but it
doesn't hurt to provide a small container in the chickens' pen to allow
them to get more if they decide they need it.
Bantam breeds are fed Layer Crumbles and Large breeds get Layer
This helps cut down on waste. Crumbles strewn around while
get mixed with dirt or litter and are wasted, while pellets can still
detected and eaten if dropped on the floor. However the pellets
too large for many of the smaller bantam breeds to swallow.
feed these Medicated Gamebird Starter/Grower crumbles, 28.5% protein,
hatch to maturity. The active drug ingredient in this feed
is Bacitracin Zinc.
Keets and Poults:
keets and turkey poults get straight medicated gamebird starter (28-30%
protein) for the first 4 months of life (or until the first egg) to
give them a good start.
and turkeys have about the same nutritional requirements so we feed
the same food. Commercial feed prepared for Turkeys containing
25% protein is perfect for both. The local feed stores don't carry
feed, however, so we mix 50/50 layer crumbles and gamebird
starter/grower for our adult guineas and turkeys.
This gives us about the right protein level and our Guineas and Turkeys
are thriving on this mixture.
of what some old farmers may tell you, hen scratch is NOT
the only feed source for any poultry. We throw out a couple of
of hen scratch (about 3 pounds) in front of the barn for our free range
Barred Rock flock
and Beavis and Butthead, our pet turkeys, to keep them busy. It's
a good idea to provide more hen scratch during the winter months, since
the carbohydrates it provides will develop more "fat" and help them to
better withstand the cold.
mix hen scratch together in the same feeder with prepared poultry ration.
The birds will instinctively dig through the layer ration looking for
scratch grains and waste the expensive stuff! They're just like
they don't know what's good for them.
add vitamins/electrolytes to the drinking water about 3 times per week
when the high temperatures climb much over 90° f. in the
We use it daily if the temp gets over 100° f. It helps
keep all the birds from becoming dehydrated in the extremely hot
we have here some summers. It has hit 112° a couple of times.
also give birds that aren't 'acting right' a little boost to overcome
stress or an
(Bantam breeders and Quail):
have installed "through
the cage" feeders on all our bantam breeder cages. It makes
easy to feed them because we don't have to open the cage to fill the
They can be filled from the outside. On our Quail cages, we use 18
inch trough feeders manufactured by GQF that hang on the outside of
the cage and the quail can put their heads through the cage wire to eat.
Pens (chickens, guineas, pheasants and Peafowl):
feeders that hold 40-50 pounds of feed so the feeders only need to
be filled about once a week. We hang the feeders so that the feed
trough is at the height of the chickens' back. This way, they can eat
a problem, but the feeder is too high for them to scratch feed out on
floor of the pen and waste it.
Range Layers (Our Barred Plymouth Rock flock):
have a feeder in the pen for our free range flock which contains Layer
Ration Pellets. We also throw out about two or three (gallon
scoops of hen scratch grains in front of the barn to keep the birds
during the day. We increase the amount during the colder winter
They also have access to grass and whatever bugs (grasshoppers,
etc.) they can find during the day. They will spend hours chasing and
fighting over an elusive
grasshopper (or field mouse!).
the treats to a minimum. Under no conditions should "treats" make
up more than 10% of their nutritional intake. When we have kitchen
available, we share them among out breeders. Carrot scrapings,
peels, tomato leftovers, lettuce, celery tops, watermelon and
rinds, stale bread or biscuits all get gobbled up in short order.
When we mow the lawn, we rake up the grass clippings and throw some in
each pen in the barn. The birds love the fresh greens.
also sometimes buy mealworms at WalMart (sold as fish bait in their
goods dept). The birds will fight over mealworms! You can
start your own worm farm growing earthworms or mealworms. See the
Feed & Nutrition Help page for earth worm or meal worm sources
to get you started.