The appropriate term for chicken thinking is "bird-brained."rainbowgardener wrote:... So I just trust them to do the right thing?
digitS' wrote:Will the chickens be able to fly up ..
. and ..
. over the fence?
Scratch is different than chicken feed. Don't confuse the two, because scratch is not a nutritionally balanced feed; it's just a treat. Scratch is basically junk food and should be part of the "less than 10% of extras" that they are allowed to have. It is usually made up of a lot of corn that they don't need (nor do you want them to have) in hot months. They should have a good quaility chicken feed available free-choice all the time, but if you're feeding them scratch (which isn't necessary, but the chickens like it) in addition to their feed, reduce or eliminate the scratch in the hot part of the year. Replacing scratch with other treats -- like fruits and vegetables -- saves them from following you around waiting for you to give them 'the good stuff'. On a hot day, they'll love a slice of chilled watermelon, for example.rainbowgardener wrote:..Also I was just reading that as the weather gets hotter, they should be getting less scratch grains (chicken feed) and more fruits, veggies, and greens.
One fact people want to ignore is that chickens are cannibalistic. They will eat their own kind as an opportunistic source of meat and protein, which is why it's so important to separate an injured bird from the rest of the flock. Knowing that a chicken will consume meat from another chicken (and that other chicken doesn't have to be dead yet), all of a sudden eating eggs doesn't seem so bad. Eggs are a very nutritional treat for them. I know of folks that take hardboiled eggs, shell and all, and whopper-chopper them up in the food processor to feed the chickens. As long as the bits of shell are small enough, they've lost the appearance of being an 'egg' so no association is made between the eggs in the nest and the bits of shell in the 'treat.' However, the eggshells don't have enough calcium in them to replenish the calcium the chicken needs to make more eggshells, so you can feed them eggshells, but you still have to provide supplemental oyster shell.rainbowgardener wrote:Thanks for all the help, Allyn. I will definitely pay more attention to the protein content of our chicken feed.
Feeding eggs to your chickens seems so cannibalistic. Everyone keeps telling me don't give them eggshells for their calcium, it will train them to eat eggs....
It's not odd at all. I get a minimum of 3 flats of eggs a week. (1 flat = 2.5 dozen eggs) I boil a flat of eggs each week for the chickens. That leaves me at least two flats of eggs (5 dozen) each week. We can eat only so many eggs, so giving some to the chickens doesn't deplete our supply.digitS' wrote:It seems an odd turn.
Keep egg-layers for fresh eggs.
Feed eggs to layers to supplement diet.
WOW so are you saying they tend not to lay as many eggs as the egg layers? I'm supposing they might be BIG chickens -- are their eggs bigger? How many chickens do you have?Allyn wrote:I get a minimum of 3 flats of eggs a week. (1 flat = 2.5 dozen eggs) I boil a flat of eggs each week for the chickens. That leaves me at least two flats of eggs (5 dozen) each week.
Just to clarify, I don't keep egg layers for fresh eggs. I raise and breed heritage dual-purpose chickens for fresh eggs and meat.
rainbowgardener wrote:I'm vegetarian. My chickens will be for eggs only. When they get too old to keep laying eggs, then we will be running a retirement home for old lady hens....
At present, I have 21 hens laying. Dual purpose chickens bred to be dual purpose chickens (not just layers) don't lay as prolifically as chickens bred to be layers. All hens will, over the course of their lives, lay about the same number of eggs. If a breeder skews the breeding program towards layers, those hens will lay more eggs per week, for example, than a chicken that has been bred for meat, but she'll shoot her load faster, perhaps laying only for two or three years; whereas a bird bred for meat lays less frequently, but will lay longer, maybe for five or six years. Meat birds are bigger; they have a bigger frame to carry more meat. That's part of the breeding process, to put chickens in the breeding pool that have big frames. Layers are smaller; they're more petite and instead of putting energy into making meat, they put their energy into producing eggs. The size of the bird is not an indicator of the size of the egg. Most people want layers for their backyard flocks, so the breeders of most of what were dual-purpose chickens now produce chickens that lay like layers, having bred the size out of the strain.applestar wrote:WOW so are you saying they tend not to lay as many eggs as the egg layers? I'm supposing they might be BIG chickens -- are their eggs bigger? How many chickens do you have? When you are breeding them, do you sell the fertilized eggs, chicks, or older chickens? How do you know which eggs to keep for raising?