Whole corn or cracked?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by Firefly, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. Firefly

    Firefly Well-Known Member

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    Chickens, turkeys, ducks, Muscovies, and geese. I've added a little corn for winter. All I could find was whole corn; everyone is eating it and seems to be digesting it, except the ducks (Cayuga and runner), who won't eat it. Do they need cracked corn or do they just not like corn?
     
  2. chickenista

    chickenista Original recipe! Supporter

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    Be very, very careful with whole corn. Those are some really big chunks for the birds to digest. Make sure they have lots of gravel and grit to eat to grind it down well.. not just sand.
    A blocked crop is a slow and miserable way to go and with large pieces like that getting the crop unblocked is very difficult.
     

  3. Firefly

    Firefly Well-Known Member

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    Hmm. Thanks for that advice chickenista! Right now they roam at will but of course when the snow falls that will change. I will put out some snow gravel for them, it has all sizes of rocks up to ~1/2". I'll also look for cracked corn or maybe scratch. Not sure what scratch is, though!
     
  4. chickenista

    chickenista Original recipe! Supporter

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    Scratch is usually a three grain mix.. seriously cracked corn, oats and wheat..though the mixture will depend on the mill bagging it.
    Bird seed is also a favorite and is a great way to get the birds to clean their own coop. They must find every single little millet seed.
     
  5. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Guest

    I feed five or six thousand pounds of whole corn a year to my birds. It's cheaper than cracked and keeps better.

    Bobwhite quail and gray doves have no problem eating whole corn straight out of the corn field. Chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese won't have any problems with it either. If they are not on the ground you would be well served to supply some grit on the side, but otherwise they can eat it as-is.

    Just don't feed so much of it that you unbalance the rations you're already feeding. Also, being new they may not take much to it right off (or they may gobble it up).
     
  6. Firefly

    Firefly Well-Known Member

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    Oh boy...LOL! Well, I can get all the whole corn I need from the farmer down the road, and it's cheap, so maybe I'll stick with that. After he harvested I gleaned an ear and no one would touch it! Now they all like it except, like I said, the ducks. I'll look for millet, too. The corn is $6 for 50lbs and feed is ~$12, but bird seed is $10-20 for 20lbs! I realize it's only a treat, but still...
     
  7. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Guest

    Just remember there's a reason why chicken feed is so much more than plain old corn. If you're feeding ordinary 16% layer ration then keep the corn to only about a half-handul per bird per day in the cold weather.
     
  8. rabbitpatch

    rabbitpatch Keeper of the Oatney Zoo

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    Unless you have some picky chickens like mine that will not touch millet. One of my rooster will pick out every single tiny shred of everything else and leave a bowl half full of millet. I've even tried leaving the millet and not feeding him anything else for as long as 2 days to try and make him eat it. Silly bird still won't touch it.
     
  9. Dead Rabbit

    Dead Rabbit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    crack corn is trash....no health benefit to it. the healthy goodness found in corn is in the germ. the instant the germ is cracked, the goodness starts going out of it. so if its been cracked and bagged sitting at a feed store and stored there, stored at your place, there is nothing to it. its nothing but junk food filler.

    if feeding crack corn, you must crack it yourself and then feed it directly to the fowl. b/c it will be worthless in a day.

    whole corn is good to give during the winter. it will help warm the fowl on the cold days and night. its not the corn it self but the grinding motion of the gizzard that is creating energy,,,energy creates heat.

    to much corn will build fat. a good practice is to mix pellets two scoops to one scoop of whole corn. then add a lil somethin extra to help up the protein. like dog food or cat food. which is a good source of animal protein. as long as its not some cheap low quality dog/cat food.

    my lil OEGBantams will eat whole corn, any standard size fowl, duck or goose will have no problem at all eating corn.

    dont waste money on crack corn. its junk and whole corn is cheaper...imagine that.
     
  10. pancho

    pancho Well-Known Member

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    Right about the cracked corn. Almost useless. If corn looses the germ it isn't worth hauling home. Whole corn or no corn at all.
     
  11. Lazy J

    Lazy J Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This is completely FALSE! Where in the world do you get your information?
     
  12. Dead Rabbit

    Dead Rabbit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    im always willing to learn....prove me wrong.
     
  13. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

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    An interesting thread. I was just wondering about whole corn to chickens just the other day.

    Thanks for posting this topic!!!! I'm learning some new stuff!!!
     
  14. Lazy J

    Lazy J Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Corn is used as a source of energy in livestock feeds. Teh corn kernal consistes of four parts: Endosperm, Germ, Bran Coat (pericarp), and the Tip Cap. The Endosperm accounts for about 83% of the kernal and is almost 90% starch. The Germ makes up 11% of the kernal and contains virtually all of the oil found in the kernal. The coat and tip cap contain most of the fiber.

    We grind corn to improve the digestibility by increasing the surface area available for digestion by enzymes in the gut. The griniding also exposes the oil to oxygen which may result in the formation of peroxides and the cascade toward rancidity. However, this process does not occur over night.

    The degradation of the starches and fiver in the kernal require mositure and the appropriace enzymes, this degradation does not occur immediately and most certainly not overnight. As long as the ground corn is kept in a cool, dry environment it will maintain it's quality and nutrients for several months.

    Jim
     
  15. Dead Rabbit

    Dead Rabbit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Jim if look this subject up there is a difference in ground corn and cracked corn. difference in nutrition and in uses. im speaking of cracked corn, your post mentions ground corn.

    cracking it does slightly improve digestability but it does not improve total tract starch digestion......
    the OP wanted to know about adding corn for winter. the digestion is what creates heat for cold weather. so quicker digestion would be counter productive in this regard.

    i cannot find now where i read about the germ when cracked loses all its nutrition quickly. but its been read thats for sure. here is an interesting link on whole grains and their nutritional value over processing................http://www.raysahelian.com/wholegrains.html

    this was also an interesting link...its on feeding cattle. but i cant find anything that shows an educated study on feeding whole corn vs. cracked corn to poultry. perhaps its all the same. but i doubt it. the methods of digestion in poultry is vastly different than in ruminets.

    http://cals.arizona.edu/ans/swnmc/Proceedings/2008/16Zinn_08.pdf
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2010
  16. Dead Rabbit

    Dead Rabbit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    the exposure causing rancidity makes sense. but can you give me alink to more info on how long it takes for this to take place. another words proof that it will maintain its quality for as long as you claim? because what i read (and cant prove, right now) says otherwise.

    thanks.
     
  17. CarolT

    CarolT Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This discussion got me looking because I also feed cracked corn and wanted to know if I was throwing my money away. Here's a little of what I found, not for chickens, but their systems may work closely enough for this to be relevant?

    I know this is for pigs, but a study on whole vs processed corn in pigs says: "In conclusion, fractionation of corn through dry milling results in hulls, endosperm (throughs and tails), and germ. Each of these fractions has a unique nutritional makeup and, as a result, unique digestibility. In this study, especially germ had a very poor digestibility of P, DM, and AA, whereas endosperm had a high DM digestibility. Extrusion of corn improved DM digestibility. These data thus suggest that corn varieties with a low germ content or extruded corn would be preferred for swine nutrition when the objective is maximizing nutritional value and minimizing nutrient excretion" Link: http://jas.fass.org/cgi/content/full/85/7/1695

    And it's for human nutrition, but this site claims:"Corn germ is made by a process that isolates the embryo of the corn plant, which contains the most useful nutrients. Corn germ has a longer shelf life than wheat germ and is higher in some nutrients, especially zinc. Corn germ contains ten times the amount of zinc found in wheat germ. You can use corn germ to bread chicken or fish. It is also good when added to cereals and used as a topping." Link: http://www.moondragon.org/health/nutritionbasics/supplements/corngerm.html
     
  18. Lazy J

    Lazy J Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The article you posted does not show that cracking corn causes problems. Rather that consuming "whole or cracked grains" provides health benefits compared to heavily processed human foods.

    Feeding whole grains in poultry has been shown to improve gut health, increase gizzard and crop size, and can decrease feed cost per dozen eggs.

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2010
  19. Lazy J

    Lazy J Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When we attempt to produce rancid fat for use in resarch diets we heat Choice White Grease to 80 C and bubble pure oxygen though it to force the formation of peroxides and the rancidity cascade. In this extreme environment it takes 5 to 7 days to produce rancidity.

    A similar process is used to test high fat pet foods and use 30 to mimic a 6 month shelf life.

    Since corn has a very low oil content and is a vegetable oil the risk of rancidity is extremely low.

    Jim
     
  20. brownegg

    brownegg Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I prefer to keep things easy and natural....whole corn works best for my flock and me. I also have fed thousands of pounds of whole corn without ever a compacted crop. Keep the grit available when free ranging isn't possible. The flock will be fine, and the finiky ones can just eat out of the feeder and miss the treats. it's their choice. We all don't love chocolate, do we?
    brownegg