Quantcast
can i feed chickens just corn? - Homesteading Today
Homesteading Today

Come enter the Lehman's Aladdin Lamp Giveaway!

Go Back   Homesteading Today > Livestock Forums > Poultry


Like Tree12Likes

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Rate Thread
  #1  
Old 01/10/12, 07:44 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NY
Posts: 62
can i feed chickens just corn?

Self explanatory title. I can get corn much cheaper then i can get chicken feed. What are your thoughts on feeding just corn? or mix the corn in with the feed to make it last longer or what? Thanks for all input

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 01/10/12, 08:09 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Central Oregon
Posts: 6,026

Sure. As long as you aren't hoping to get any eggs or much growth.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01/10/12, 08:13 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: WV
Posts: 4

I feed a layer pellet in the morning and cracked corn two times throughout the day. Basically a 50/50 mix. My birds are all healthy, lay very well etc.

Corn isnt that high in protien, but most backyard birds arent production bred or managed to meet production standards and can manage quite well without the high dollar feeds. I do not ever recall feeding anything besides scraps and corn to our birds growing up....do not recall ever having health issues or loosing birds.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01/10/12, 08:31 PM
chickenista's Avatar
Original recipe!
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: NC foothills
Posts: 12,878

It is the protein that is going to be lacking with feeding just corn.
They need a minimum of 16% protein to lay well.
Corn is usually around 9%.

If you use a 16% laying pellet but water it down with 9% only corn you are not going to be reaching that 16% that gives good eggs.

Now... if you could provide a steady amount of high protein food to counter that.. like a pound or two of earthworms etc.. then you could feed more corn..
but they would still need access to greens etc.. from either free ranging or you picking a 5 gallon bucket of weeds for them.
They need the nutrients in the greens.

__________________
http://www.thehennery.blogspot.com -
the farm blog
http://thehennerytraditionals.blogspot.com/ -
the herbal blog + shop
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01/10/12, 08:34 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NY
Posts: 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by chickenista View Post

Now... if you could provide a steady amount of high protein food to counter that.. like a pound or two of earthworms etc.. then you could feed more corn..
but they would still need access to greens etc.. from either free ranging or you picking a 5 gallon bucket of weeds for them.
They need the nutrients in the greens.
So, if i mix corn with greens that would pretty much be an all natural diet for free(for me at least) correct? if i am right with this assumption, what kind of greens would be best?
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 01/10/12, 08:47 PM
mygoat's Avatar
Caprice Acres
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: MI
Posts: 9,581

Even more important than the crude protein level of corn, is the fact that corn is woefully unbalenced in amino acids, particularly lysine. Unbalenced essential amino acids = NO PROTEIN can be made. Sure, birds will be able to recycle some spent body protein but not enough to meet requirements (hence the term, ESSENTIAL amino acids). If they're allowed to free range they will be able to get some of their AA's from bugs and what they find, but likely not all.

Corn is essentially sugar, and not good for anything else really. It's a great PART of a diet, but is not a complete diet by any means. It's also short in a LOT (and I mean a lot) of vitamins and minerals. My chickens also do not enjoy 'greens' as much as I would hope except for the stuff they find on their own. When we feed 'greens' say as table scraps, they tend to ignore them. Just because you offer it does not mean it is eaten - and the diet that is eaten is the one you must evaluate, not the one offered.

I would NOT breed chickens on a greens/corn diet. I would not raise (as in from chick-age) on a corn/greens diet. I would not expect 'good' growth, production, or feed efficiency on a corn/greens diet.

__________________


Dona Barski

"Breed the best, eat the rest"

Caprice Acres

French and American Alpines. CAE, Johnes neg herd. Abscess free. LA, DHIR.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 01/10/12, 09:16 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NY
Posts: 62

well I guess i have to rephrase my whole question, Is there anything i can grow or make find myself to feed my chickens? rather then buying the stuff they sell at stores, I prefer to know where my food comes from, and saving money is great too

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 01/10/12, 09:22 PM
Terri's Avatar
Singletree Moderator
HST_MODERATOR.png
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Kansas
Posts: 11,823

Look at the ingredients on a sack of feed: can you grow those things?

Chickens eat a diet that is very similar to ours. When the kids were little I gave the chickens the half eaten peanut butter sandwiches and half-eaten apples with their bought feed, and the eggs were very cheap and the birds were very healthy! That did not last, though. Teenagers waste very little food!

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 01/10/12, 09:23 PM
Cyngbaeld's Avatar
homesteader
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Between Bryan and Austin, TX
Posts: 27,871

Stinging nettles, black oil sunflowers, small beans or peas, alfalfa or clover, amaranth, oats, milo, Indian corn, lots of stuff you can grow.

__________________

I believe in God's willingness to heal.

Cyngbaeld's Keep Heritage Farm, breeding a variety of historical birds and LaMancha goats.

Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 01/10/12, 10:20 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 11,904

Checking in my 1938 Morrison and Morrison book, Feeds and Feeding, for fattening boilers or other poultry, , MASH of 45lbs ground corn. 22.5 lbs wheat, ground, and 22.5ground oats. 10lbs skimmilk

That being said. 95% of the time, we fed shelled corn only to our chickens. Once mom had 1000, but usually it ran from 2 doz to 50, and all we fed was shelled corn

sriston likes this.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 01/10/12, 11:15 PM
chickenista's Avatar
Original recipe!
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: NC foothills
Posts: 12,878
http://www.lionsgrip.com/chickens.html

Here.
Make sure to read all the topics covered including ways to produce more of what you feed to your birds.. worms, mealworms etc..
as well as feed recipes etc..
It is a very informative site that gives the reasons why your birds need certain things in their diets.
I hope this helps. It can be done!
__________________
http://www.thehennery.blogspot.com -
the farm blog
http://thehennerytraditionals.blogspot.com/ -
the herbal blog + shop
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 01/11/12, 12:17 AM
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 247

IF your birds are on pasture or free range in the barn yard corn can be the staple and they suplement thier diet with bugs weeds and worms.If your pushing them for max production or have them confined they need some comercial feed to do well or I'v heard of lots of home made feed mixes depending on what is available and sprouting the grain helps don't forget they need gravel for thier craw if confined to grind the corn

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 01/11/12, 12:37 AM
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,792

Nothing except the most specialized of animals that you will rarely hear about and never see can survive on one food item alone. Most need a huge variety and an omnivore like a chicken is designed for some of the greatest variety of all animals. Think of feeding a human on one single food item and how fast that would cause problems. That's what you've got with a chicken. Think of feeding a human on 2 food types and ignoring the rest of the food pyramid (didn't they make that a plate recently?) and it's the same with a chicken. Variety is important for long term health and best production.

Corn is horribly unbalanced and I prefer to keep it out of any animal's diet completely but it's hard to find chicken feed without corn. Any grain is a better choice with oats being one of the highest fat and there are several that meet or beat the protein in corn. Black oil sunflower seed well surpasses the kcals in corn requiring much less even though it costs more. On top of that they need the amino acids found in animal protein not just plant. Omnivore remember. Even humans can't survive as vegetarians without fortified foods or vitamin/mineral supplements and we have less issues with the amino acid limitations of just plant protein than animals like chickens. Sure you can keep them alive and you might get some eggs for awhile but without variety you aren't going to have a long productive experience with your animals.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 01/12/12, 04:35 PM
mommagoose_99's Avatar  
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: NY
Posts: 3,453

NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!! Corn is not healthy for your chickens . They are omnivores they need variety in their diet. If you want eggs you need to feed a well balanced diet found in laying mash .If you feed less than 16% protein you will not get any eggs. If you feed all corn , which by the way is all contaminated with GMO Monsanto pollen your hens will be sickly and non productive. Why not feed your family all candy corn and see how thye look in a month.
LInda

__________________

mommagoose_99
Live from
Beautiful Upstate NY

Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 01/12/12, 05:40 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 83

Starting in early Dec, I started free feeding my birds, a mixture of 2/3 cracked corn and 1/3 whole oats. Then I also put out a couple scoops of a layer pellet. My birds have been free ranged since they where out of the brooder. Since I have started doing this, my egg production has gone up, and cost of feed down. Come spring when I get bugs and things growing, I will probably go back to feeding just the bare minimum and make them forage. Some of the increased production could be just the fact that my birds are older, but the production did go up during the shortest days of the year.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 01/12/12, 05:50 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 2,656
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrescher7 View Post
well I guess i have to rephrase my whole question, Is there anything i can grow or make find myself to feed my chickens? rather then buying the stuff they sell at stores, I prefer to know where my food comes from, and saving money is great too
I've been on this question for over a year, ever since I got my birds. I've asked everyone from old farm folks, to online gurus, read books, talked to feed salesman, you name it!

Here's what I come up with;

Corn is OK during the spring, summer and early fall months when/if chickens have access to free foraging outdoors where they gobble up bugs, grass,and seeds all day long. The protein level is a bit too low for proper growth/health/laying during winter. Also there isn't enough calcium. Old timers have told me that all they ever fed was corn and a few scraps and their chickens have always done fine. Many feel that all these new concepts about chicken dietary needs are designed to get gullible newbies to buy expensive feed.

I have fed only corn in summer and fall ( I grew most of it myself ) but now that winter has prevented their natural forage, I augment with commercial feed ( about 50% with 50% still corn ). I get lots of good large eggs and my birds are very healthy and robust. When they were growing I fed them commercial growing mash and allowed them to forage at 7 weeks.

Come spring, when the bugs and grass come back, they're off the feed and back on corn and forage. I will be making an even greater effort to grow as much of their corn as I can. I'm not running a commercial egg operation, so I have no need to maximize egg production to an extreme degree. I use no artificial lighting, I free forage my chickens every day all day, and I grow as much of their feed as possible. At the end of the day I still have alot of eggs, and good healthy birds.
sriston likes this.
__________________

Last edited by Darntootin; 01/12/12 at 06:06 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 01/12/12, 06:36 PM
mygoat's Avatar
Caprice Acres
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: MI
Posts: 9,581

I actually do the opposite - I don't force my hens through the winter (no supplemental light/heat) so we feed half whole corn and half our custom grain mix. The birds need a bit higher energy anyways to maintain homeostasis below their thermoneutral zone anyways. Come spring, we cut out the corn and go back to just the custom mix.

We would NOT do this if we expected them to produce thorugh the winter though. We collect 1x per day and most winters that means most eggs are frozen anyways so forcing them to lay would be a waste of time (and I'm NOT going to heat a coop, thank you very much, haha. )

__________________


Dona Barski

"Breed the best, eat the rest"

Caprice Acres

French and American Alpines. CAE, Johnes neg herd. Abscess free. LA, DHIR.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 01/12/12, 06:59 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 8,569
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darntootin View Post
Many feel that all these new concepts about chicken dietary needs are designed to get gullible newbies to buy expensive feed.
That's me! I always fed table scraps and corn. I would also save egg shells, scrunch them up and feed them to the hens. You just have to make them scrunched up so they don't recognize what they are.
I honestly think most of the animal dietary guidelines for most animals are simply made to sell feed.
dkhern and sriston like this.
__________________

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 01/12/12, 07:04 PM
pancho's Avatar  
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 11,948

Corn is great for keeping birds warm in the winter. Free ranging birds will eat more corn in the winter as it keeps them warmer than the softer feed. During summer they will naturally slow down on the corn.
It isn't a complete diet but can be fed to free ranging birds.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 01/13/12, 06:06 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 83

Since I started adding corn and oats to my birds diet, I will say that I also picked up a 50# bag of oyster shells to ensure they get enough calcium for the shells. Also I have started saving the shells from the eggs we eat to feed back to them. I also considered adding a poultry mineral block and for the most part cutting out the layer pellets completely. Haven't gone that route yet. Anyone else use the mineral blocks for their birds? How long does something like that last?

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 01/13/12, 06:29 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NY
Posts: 62

thanks for all the inputs. any suggestions on natural foods that are high in protein?

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 01/13/12, 08:10 PM
Steph in MT's Avatar  
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Montana
Posts: 557

I feed my poultry flock grain screenings from a local mill that I can get pretty inexpensively supplemented with free food scraps from a local restaurant and beef liver from our butcher shop. The birds look great and lay lots of eggs.
Steph

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 01/14/12, 09:08 AM
chickenmommy's Avatar
nosey, but disinterested
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Florida
Posts: 3,132

Put the corn in a feeder for the squirrels.

Feed the layers layer feed supplemented by some high protein snacks. I make a mix of meal worms, oats, cracked wheat, milled flax, cottage cheese, and yogurt with some chopped spinach mixed in some times. They love it.

__________________

Nina's Grammy

Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 01/14/12, 10:41 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrescher7 View Post
well I guess i have to rephrase my whole question, Is there anything i can grow or make find myself to feed my chickens? rather then buying the stuff they sell at stores, I prefer to know where my food comes from, and saving money is great too
Do you know anyone who works in the foodservice industry? Get them to save some veggie scraps from the kitchen. Most people are happy to do it. Mine get those type of scraps, along with a small amount of layer pellets and corn thrown out in the mornings, and free range most days. I also take the excess eggs I have laying around and boil them, mash them up and feed them back to them. I try to keep my hens as economically as possible. A bag of layer pellets lasts me quite a while...
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 01/15/12, 09:08 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 2,656
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrescher7 View Post
thanks for all the inputs. any suggestions on natural foods that are high in protein?
Worms. Your chickens will find them by themselves.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 01/15/12, 10:17 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: se South Dakota
Posts: 1,047

back when I raised alot of chickens I got a grind and mix made at the local grain mill and had it made with "" no "" meds . I fed this to all my poultry, ducks , geese , chickens and ect . the kids would go to the creek and catch chubs and carp and throw them to the birds and they loved it , in the summer they ate alot of bugs off them fish , the fish didnt last long enouf to stink. The birds did great and I had several going into the 4H show ring and winning top prizes

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 01/15/12, 10:57 AM
Banned
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 2,524

There is a disease called Pellagra that is virtually nonexistent in the US today but was not uncommon in the south until the 1920s. Poor Southerners, prisoners, children in orphanges could develop a severe rash, dementia, and eventually some could become violently insane. It comes from a diet highly concentrated in corn and is the result of a Vit B3 deficiency. Few know of pellagra today because many of our foods, like cereals, come with added vitamins. Pellagra went the way of scurvy (vit C), Ricketts (vit D) and Beriberi (some other Vit B).

I have no idea if CHix can develop pellagra, but it certainly shows that a diet overly concentrated on one food, corn, is not healthy.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 01/16/12, 10:51 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 321

Mine get Layena and grass clippings in the summer. Come winter, less pellets, more corn to keep 'em warm, and I'm not expecting an egg a day (protein-wise) anyway. And if a really cold night is expected, I throw them shelled sunflower maybe with some too-old-for-humans shredded coconut for even more fat and heat.
I have some old canned refried beans, but I haven't tried them yet.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 01/16/12, 12:43 PM
chickenista's Avatar
Original recipe!
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: NC foothills
Posts: 12,878
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrescher7 View Post
thanks for all the inputs. any suggestions on natural foods that are high in protein?
http://www.lionsgrip.com/chickens.html


This is the link I posted earlier... it tells you all about such things..
__________________
http://www.thehennery.blogspot.com -
the farm blog
http://thehennerytraditionals.blogspot.com/ -
the herbal blog + shop
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 01/16/12, 10:56 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrescher7 View Post
well I guess i have to rephrase my whole question, Is there anything i can grow or make find myself to feed my chickens? rather then buying the stuff they sell at stores, I prefer to know where my food comes from, and saving money is great too
I didn't see where anyone mentioned that you could feed your chickens your scraps, so pardon me if I reiterate anything already said.

When we kept our chickens in a moveable chicken house, we fed both our broilers and bannies scraps from our daily meals plus letting them eat fresh grass kept their consumption of grain pretty low. The few warnings I that I know about feeding chickens scraps is to make sure to grind up egg shells, which as good a source of calcium as egg shells are, you don't want to give them the idea that eggs are for eating. Also, since chickens are birds, dairy products should probably be limited, but I haven't killed one yet - they were so fat and happy that the raccoon couldn't resist tasting them before us........
__________________
Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:39 PM.