feeding chickens

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

was told today,, that IM NOT supposed to feed whole kernal corn to chickens? Is this true,, and why not?, its ok to feed cracked corn, ,but not whole?? something doesnt make sense

-- stan (sopal@net-port.com), November 19, 2001


No, doesn't make sense to me either. Did they think whole kernels might lead to impacted crop? Never heard of that, but might be an old wives tale.

On the other hand, if they were referring to not feeding corn as a sole ration then they are correct.

-- Buk Buk (bukabuk@hotmail.com), November 19, 2001.

We've fed cracked corn and/or whole kernal corn to our chickens with no problems - of course, as only PART of their feed. We've never had any problem with whole kernal.

-- Cheryl in KS (cherylmccoy@rocketmail.com), November 19, 2001.

Howdy Stan! Just asked the Feedstore man himself!(my hubby) Yep, you can feed em whole corn. Just don't do that, like the other person said, as your only feed. I usually mix some corn chops in with their laying pellets. Chickens will eat anything and everything. I have heard that you aren't supposed to give laying hens fruit. Don't know why and I feed mine whatever. I haven't had any trouble with it. You would think that I would know an old wives tale since I am one! :~) !

-- Nan (davidl41@ipa.net), November 19, 2001.

The only problem in feeding whole corn is the same for all animals -- Much of it will pass right through the animal and is not digested the way cracking or grinding will; therefore, not enough nutrition.

-- Karen (db0421@yahoo.com), November 19, 2001.

Has anyone on her seen that survivor show? Where they took the cracklin corn that was suppose to be for their chickens but they put it over the fire and ate it. They loved it. Has anyone ever eaten this stuff and is it okay to eat it? Hey, i didn't make this up it was on that survivor show. You guys do get tv don't you?

-- Teejae Bird (zachdawg@webtv.net), November 19, 2001.

I have seen whole kernal corn soaked in water being fed to poultry. I purchased some chicks this spring from a man who appeared to be into showing poultry. His barn was lined with many cages that housed pairs of chickens. Hanging on each cage was a small dish (tuna can size) of whole kernal corn soaking in water. I didn't ask any questions. (I wish I would have). I always mix some cracked corn into my laying mash. Renee

-- Renee at Briar Creek (fakeaddy@nomail.com), November 19, 2001.

Poultry have a really short time for food to transit their digestive tract. The only "chewing" their food gets is being rumbled around for a while in their gizzard with some gravel; and let's face it, whole corn grains can be as hard as some gravel, and the seed coat can be both hard and fairly waterproof as well. Cracked corn gives them a better chance to digest the food before it passes through. I guess soaking it would do as well, if it was soaked long enough.

-- Don Armstrong (darmst@yahoo.com.au), November 20, 2001.

Whole kernel corn takes more time and energy for a chicken to grind up in their gizzard and digest so much of the time it's preferable to feed it to them already cracked. That being said though if you've got a lot of whole kernel corn then it certainly won't hurt them to feed it.

You might consider supplying grit to better enable them to grind the corn if the natural stone in your area is soft. Here in North Florida we've got limestone and we've got limestone. Pretty soft material to grind up something as hard as corn. They can do it but it's harder for them. Presoaking the corn would help a lot. My grandfather way back when would soak the corn for a day before feeding. In any but the coldest weather after twentyfour hours it's pretty far along into the sprouting process and the hens loved it.

Of course you'd never want to feed corn as the ONLY feed unless the birds are extensively free-ranged.

I run Barred Rocks and Wyandottes and now that it's fall and the turkey oaks are dropping acorns by the bucket load I think they're eating the acorns. Haven't seen them actually down one yet but there sure doesn't seem to be as many acorns inside the hen yard as there are on the other side of the fence.


-- Live Oak (live-oak@atlantic.net), November 20, 2001.

I wonder if this mght contribute to the impacted crop problem posted nearby in the forum.

-- Ann Markson (tngreenacres@hotmail.com), November 20, 2001.

I give my birds a couple ears of dry corn to just keep busy here in the fall. I give regular feed and lots of little extras. Sometimes I give them sesame seeds, sometimes oats, sometimes ears of corn, sometimes kitchen scraps. The variety keeps them happy, or at least me happy. :o) Whole corn is harder to digest and use in comparison to cracked, but then mine eat it off the cob and get to peck and rip it off. I think it gives them extra fun and is natural. I provide a bit of gravel for their crops every now and then just to be sure they have no problems. If you follow just the easy digestion and usage rule, some people give their birds feed that is so fine it is like powder and when the bird comes in contact with "real" food, it will not know what to do with it! (not good if you free range them in the spring or summer):o)

-- notnow (notnow05@yahoo.com), November 20, 2001.

Teejee yes I have experience eating field corn whole. Way back when I had younger teeth! On a travois trip (a pony drag) travelling/camping on the road for 2.5 months Feb-April in '76 I utilized the free-for-the- gleaning corn in the corner of the fields (huge equipment misses a lot). The horses had plenty and I ate the corn parched first in a camp skillet with some salting. Not bad! A friend taught me that. In the bible there is a name for the practice of the landowners not going back over a field to try and gather grain that the reapers miss. That was left for the widows and others to harvest. Anyone know the name of this practice?

-- Sandra Hess (heartlandmw@yahoo.com), November 21, 2001.

As a matter of fact Teejae I don't get (watch) TV. It's bad for the mind like too much candy is for the teeth.

But about your corn, yes you can eat it that way. It's called parched corn or pinole' if you use the Spanish term. Essentially all you do is take shelled field corn (that would be the chicken feed) and roast it in a pan over a fire until the kernels puff up a bit, turn brown and the shells have cracked a little. They likely won't pop like popcorn, just swell a bit. Once they cool enough you can just chew them up like hard candy for a very filling meal. Better still is to mill (grind) the kernels into a coarse meal and eat it that way by mixing it into water and drinking it. If the corn was already cracked like what is used in chicken's scratch feed it'll be all that much easier to eat.


-- Live Oak (live-oak@atlantic.net), November 21, 2001.

Sandra, the biblical practice by widows and the poor to take the remains in the fields was called gleaning.

-- Nina (Ninasinthegarden@aol.com), November 23, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ