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I recently butchered my cornish crosses and bought egg-laying birds. I want to make sure that they maintain a healthy diet in order to prolong their egg-laying capabilities. If anyone has any advice or tips pertaining to different supplemental feed that I can give them, please let me know.
 

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Give them the rinds of your melons. They love pecking at a cabbage, we put a rope through it and hang it. We keep a piece of wood on the ground and dump water buckets on it. Bugs gather under it, so just roll it and there is a treat for the chickens. They love amaranth and it is easy to grow.

Hope that is what you are looking for.
 

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Most garden vegetable scraps will do a great job as a nutritional supplement. Mealworms are a favorite of our girls as is fruit scraps especially berries. We also grow Basil and toss a few sprigs to the chickens daily.

Don't forget some sort of grit, like oyster shell grit and add a bit to their food every so often.
 

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Don't go nuts on boutique feeds. TSC has 20 different kinds ranging from $9.99 to $87.99 for 50#. Find one with about 20-22% protein and you'll be fine (15% protein is the cheapest I've seen). Maybe add a little calcium supplement. The latter will prevent them getting egg bound. Cheapest isn't best - look for value. Protein-per-penny, if you will.

All the scraps mentioned above are GREAT! just don't give them nightshades (tomatoes, eggplant, potato GREENS, etc...)

If you have dietary concerns (and I don't, not really) you can reduce the lectin (said to cause GI problems in humans) content of the eggs by avoiding corn. Select a "wild bird seed" rather than scratch feed. This can also be countered by "free ranging" you're chickens and letting them find their own bugs and grass to eat. Arguably the source of the best eggs. Not practical in urban or predator rich areas. Mine stay in a coop all the time.
 

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We will second the Tractor Supply Feeds.

As @Jem alludes, Free Ranging can be rewarding yet dangerous. Winter Free Ranging is good in our neck of the woods, but the underbrush and woods are very thick in the summertime and our Cattle Dog who watches over them, cannot see them in the underbrush in summer.

A weekly treat of a bag of grass clippings in also a nice summertime treat. Strange as that may sound.
 

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Those above mentioned items are good things to supplement regular feed.
Buy regular chicken feed in the 50 pound bag, 16% protein.
Down South that is called layer pellets. If your birds are biddies (very young), feed them 16% layer crumbles to start.
16% is about the highest you want for egg layers. The above mentioned 20-22% is for game birds, you don't want your layers to eat that.
Add a little crushed oyster shell in for calcium.

We've been keeping chickens for 25 years now. Wife knows what she's doing.
 

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Great post and replies.
Our Rhode Island Reds are 6 weeks old. Feeding them Purina medicated crumbles. Will switch to Layer feed in October when they should begin egg production.
BoF
 

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Great post and replies.
Our Rhode Island Reds are 6 weeks old. Feeding them Purina medicated crumbles. Will switch to Layer feed in October when they should begin egg production.
BoF
That's the way to do it.
Chick feed has extras in, the "medicated" part. That's how we start ours off.
Then on to layer crumbles, then layer pellets.

In the past, we have tried things like Purina Layena with Omega 3. But for the dollars spent, we went pack to plain old 16% pellets.
When we started years ago, a 50# bag was $7. Now it's up to $16.
At one time we had enough birds we used six 50# bags per month. Now we are down to two per month.
 

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My chickens loved loved loved my compost pile!!! They would scratch at it, peck at it, jump around and dig at it; and the whole time they were turning it up and over, just to get the worms and all the bugs and larvae; then they'd poop on it - I had the best vegetable garden ever!!!! If you have chickens, I highly recommend a compost pile - throw in all your veg and fruit scraps.
 

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When you want some fun, go to the bait and tackle store and buy some crickets.
Dump out the bag in the chicken pen and give the girls a treat.
 

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When you want some fun, go to the bait and tackle store and buy some crickets.
Dump out the bag in the chicken pen and give the girls a treat.
True Story;

Had a buddy who was a Frat Brother of David Letterman in college at Ball State (Rest In Peace Steve!)

Their Fraternity would hold a charity event for a local orphanage that was mainly Down Syndrome kids. Letterman had an idea to hang treats (Donuts, Twinkies, shit like that) from the ceiling at various heights and reward the kids for certain achievements.

Sounds innocent enough, right? Well the kids didn't just untie the treats, they attempted to eat the treats while they hung from the ceiling. Steve said it was hilarious and the kids LOVED it. They did that for years until the PC Patrol put an end to it.

Steve told me that years later he would see some of the kids and they would always talk about the great fun they had at the event.
 

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I recently butchered my cornish crosses and bought egg-laying birds. I want to make sure that they maintain a healthy diet in order to prolong their egg-laying capabilities. If anyone has any advice or tips pertaining to different supplemental feed that I can give them, please let me know.
as noted above, all types of vegetable/fruit scraps are great, as is a medicated 20% crumble or pellet feed as well. also adding electrolyte and probiotic packs to their water, tractor supply has both for less than $2.

i personally used hydro-hen 3-in-1 when we took care of upwards of 1,000 chicks at a time and saw good results with that.
 

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I agree with RPD about the amount of protein in their diet. 16 to 18% is about max. If they get too much, you could get eggs with 'protein' spots. Looks like a blood spot and is NOT a beginning embryo. You can tell if you back off on the protein for a few days, the spots should disappear. OTOH, if they aren't getting enough protein (or calcium), they could start eating their own eggs. Other signs of low calcium is thinner shells, signs of too much calcium is some odd looking shells with bumps, ridges, etc

Just know that hens go thru a yearly molt and may lose feathers and slow or stop egg production for a few months. Some will continue as if nothing happened. All depends on the bird, breed and care they get. No harm done. You can force your birds to continue to lay thru the winter with supplemental light in the coop, but it does put alot of stress and strain on the birds overall health.

You can also add some Apple Cider Vinegar to their water for a health boost. It doesn't have to be everyday, just every now & then. About a capful to a gallon of water.

Grass & greens are good for them too. They need their vitamins & veggies like anyone else. If they are bored, hang a cabbage head or tie a bunch of veggy or garden scraps together to give them some interest.

Just don't go overboard on their care or needs. Chickens for the most part, are pretty hardy and usually only need feed, water, shelter for protection. Hot summers....provide more water so they can keep hydrated. Cold winters can be the worst, depending on your location. They can die of frost bite/hypothermia faster than heat stroke in summer in the desert. Their coop needs enough ventilation without being drafty. Without it, there is condensation that freezes creating frostbitten combs & wattles first, eventually the bird.
 

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ps........also know that meat birds are completely different than egg layers in nearly every respect
We have always kept egg layers.
And, actually, it is my wife who is the Chicken Whisperer. I'm just the Hired Hand.
When the discussion turned to protien percentage, it was her that I asked.
Our standard feed is 16%, the 18% she calls "feather fixer" and uses it as needed. Not very often, either.
 

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I scanned the replies to make sure I wasn't being repetitive so forgive me if I've missed this, but feeding them pumpkin will be a natural dewormer. Once a year is plenty and keeps them healthy from those internal parasites. Also, I third, fourth, fifth, whatever its up to now for Tractor Supply feeds. Should be good to go for you.
 
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