5

votes

What to feed chickens for best eggs

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 08, 2012 at 6:47 PM

I'm hopefully going to get some hens, maybe today (4H fair). I've been getting eggs at the farmers' market and ask whoever's selling eggs what they're feeding their hens, been trying to go soy-free, corn-free and also just GMO free in general, I hate supporting that practice. The best I've found so far are wheat fed, free-ranged chickens, which is fine with me. On the other hand it's a pain to ask the vendors and then possibly reject their eggs. I always feel so emotional at the farmers' market! "Oh...your carrots are too expensive, I'll get them from the guy next to you instead..."

Anyway, I do love the farmers' market, but I figure I'll save myself some questions and use the chicken pen/house I have out back. I did a search on here but haven't seen recommendations for exactly what to feed chickens for best results. I did see someone recommend this place http://www.scratchandpeck.com/ and I would like to have some grain and scratch in addition to feeding scraps, etc... Chickens running free in my yard is not an option so much where I live. Southwest U.S. mountains filled with coyotes n such. I can do it a little.

If you do have suggestions, please be specific! What exactly do you do? Do you toss out kitchen scraps EVERY DAY or just once a week, etc...? I guess they can get insects that wander into the pen, but I don't know how much that would be. I'm looking to keep 4 birds just for eggs.

4b05d725a8332e8e917a4ca58b6e8a1e

(1239)

on August 09, 2012
at 03:16 PM

Oh, that's a great deal! Local farmers can be so helpful with this kind of thing. Good luck with your ladies. :)

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on August 09, 2012
at 04:35 AM

That is one lovely blog. Very much enjoyed the chickens in the yard pic and was inspired with the shredded veggies idea. I'm hoping to get a circular situation going even in my desert yard. Chicken poop>raised bed>veggies for chickens...and hopefully enough left over for me.

Cebbca9a78d5612bf3468b273c2010d5

(452)

on August 09, 2012
at 12:50 AM

Bugs are VERY important! Really look into mobile pens if you can. They are easy to move, and you can have them out there with the dogs, so they are then protected from the coyotes and fox.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on August 09, 2012
at 12:20 AM

We try! My boyfriend has been slacking on fixing his breakfast every day, and I can usually only eat about 4 a day. We save some up and bring them over to his parents :)

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on August 08, 2012
at 11:37 PM

That's a nice amount of eggs! Does your family eat them all? I'm hoping for 20 a week in warm weather.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on August 08, 2012
at 11:35 PM

Ha, I have encouraged one of them (heeler) to herd chickens back to the pen before and it kind of works.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on August 08, 2012
at 11:34 PM

Thank you, I agree. I have an *okay* sized pen, but will try to work with letting them free if I can train my dogs to guard them a bit for a few hours. They're pretty good dogs, but we'll see.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on August 08, 2012
at 11:32 PM

Sounds fun, thanks!

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on August 08, 2012
at 11:31 PM

I see you are in Oregon, I guess you can probably pick up the 40lb bags locally? That seems like the best deal and no shipping. I just talked to a guy at the farmers' market today though and he's ordering corn/soy free from oregon with a couple other local chicken farmers and says I can order with them. Awesome for me! I assume it's the same place, didn't ask for specifics. Chicken tractor may not work, I live on a pile of dirt and rock, but I do have a small fenced raised bed i could use for this and may use Nemesis's mealworm idea with it.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on August 08, 2012
at 11:28 PM

Update: Went to the 4H show and the sweetest, smartest young girls showed me all of their chickens for show and told me prices. The chickens can't be released until Saturday afternoon, but I think I can get two breeds of pullets that I like. So excited!

  • C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

    asked by

    (971)
  • Views
    6K
  • Last Activity
    1547D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

5 Answers

5
4b05d725a8332e8e917a4ca58b6e8a1e

(1239)

on August 08, 2012
at 07:09 PM

Yay for Scratch and Peck! That's what we feed our gals. It's a shame you can't let them roam in your yard, but a chicken tractor is the next best thing. That allows you to move their enclosure around the yard without leaving them exposed to predators. There are tons of plans online to build your own or you can usually find prebuilt ones on craigslist.

In addition to the Scratch and Peck feed, our hens get leftover fruit (watermelon rinds and blackberries are their absolute favorites), various veggie scraps, and all of the creepy crawlies they can catch in the yard. When I'm ready to turn my garden under in the fall, I open the gate and let the chickens to go town. They honestly don't need much supplemental feed in the summertime, but it comprises the bulk of their diet in the winter. You'll have to experiment a bit to see what your new hens like and how fast they go through their feed. They can be pretty particular. Two of our hens won't touch any vegetables, but the other two love them. If they aren't eating something that you throw them, just remove it and try again with something else later.

Crushed oyster shells are a must to keep the egg shells in good condition. We just set out a small dish of them and the chickens will take what they need.

Enjoy them! They're a lot of fun and incredibly useful.

4b05d725a8332e8e917a4ca58b6e8a1e

(1239)

on August 09, 2012
at 03:16 PM

Oh, that's a great deal! Local farmers can be so helpful with this kind of thing. Good luck with your ladies. :)

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on August 08, 2012
at 11:31 PM

I see you are in Oregon, I guess you can probably pick up the 40lb bags locally? That seems like the best deal and no shipping. I just talked to a guy at the farmers' market today though and he's ordering corn/soy free from oregon with a couple other local chicken farmers and says I can order with them. Awesome for me! I assume it's the same place, didn't ask for specifics. Chicken tractor may not work, I live on a pile of dirt and rock, but I do have a small fenced raised bed i could use for this and may use Nemesis's mealworm idea with it.

4
20203f15287a14924c714eb68a34ce6c

(596)

on August 08, 2012
at 07:11 PM

I would before anything else get my hands on some of the Joel Salatin's books. For sure, it has great tips on this topic, specialy regarding feeding hens, pigles(as he sput it) cows and lamb. Try "You can farm", or "Pastured poultry profits": here

I'm not even from America and till can relate to that guy speech and attitude. real great guy!

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on August 08, 2012
at 11:32 PM

Sounds fun, thanks!

2
6f7dff370a9178fc54125dc9ccde5c36

on August 08, 2012
at 07:37 PM

I've heard a few times that feed is important but them getting access to bugs is very important too. It changes the quality of the macronutrients in their eggs. That us why "free range" is important not just that they eat non soy non corn etc.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on August 08, 2012
at 11:35 PM

Ha, I have encouraged one of them (heeler) to herd chickens back to the pen before and it kind of works.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on August 08, 2012
at 11:34 PM

Thank you, I agree. I have an *okay* sized pen, but will try to work with letting them free if I can train my dogs to guard them a bit for a few hours. They're pretty good dogs, but we'll see.

Cebbca9a78d5612bf3468b273c2010d5

(452)

on August 09, 2012
at 12:50 AM

Bugs are VERY important! Really look into mobile pens if you can. They are easy to move, and you can have them out there with the dogs, so they are then protected from the coyotes and fox.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on August 09, 2012
at 04:35 AM

That is one lovely blog. Very much enjoyed the chickens in the yard pic and was inspired with the shredded veggies idea. I'm hoping to get a circular situation going even in my desert yard. Chicken poop>raised bed>veggies for chickens...and hopefully enough left over for me.

1
1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on August 08, 2012
at 08:46 PM

We had a small mealworm farm at one point which the chickens just LOVED. (I speak of it in past-tense because we kinda forgot to take care of the worms after they changed into beetles, but the chickens ate the dead bugs anyway, lol).

Ours will eat anything I throw in there excepting meat. Corn on the cob, leftover veggies from dinner, whatever.

We feed ours Layena Plus Omega-3 by Purina, as well as offer a separate oyster shell feeder for them to peck at will. Most chicken feeds have calcium & other essential minerals in the feed, so you want to keep the added shell separate. Birds know what their bodies need, it's best not to force it on them so they don't get calcium deposits or constipation. So far, six out of our eight Delaware hens are laying every day, nice firm-shelled large brown eggs.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on August 09, 2012
at 12:20 AM

We try! My boyfriend has been slacking on fixing his breakfast every day, and I can usually only eat about 4 a day. We save some up and bring them over to his parents :)

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on August 08, 2012
at 11:37 PM

That's a nice amount of eggs! Does your family eat them all? I'm hoping for 20 a week in warm weather.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!