Food, glorious food!

James and I were doing a little hen-housekeeping last week and discovered the best before dates on one of our giant 20kg bags of organic mixed corn was fast approaching. In a bid not to waste it, we have been treating the flock to an unusually large ration of the golden grain (normally, it’s just one or two handfuls of it in the afternoon), which the rabble, of course, have been polishing off no problem. It’s also not as nutritious as their staple pellets containing barley, maize, oats and wheat. I reckon corn is to hens what Green & Blacks milk chocolate is to me: there’s no holding back.

The girls love nothing better than scratching about for corn and other treats

The girls have been working their way through it nicely, but the surplus corn has had the opposite effect on daily egg yields which have plummeted dramatically. Just three offerings from the 15-strong hybrid flock on Wednesday and only five yesterday so unfortunately something had to give and it’s the usual Friday box of half-a-dozen eggs for my most regular customer, Country Living‘s art editor Chris’s. I don’t know quite how I’m going to break it to him.

I’d heard that overfeeding has an effect on laying but didn’t realise there was such a direct correlation. Has anyone else experienced this? Suffice to say, corn distribution has been reduced to normal, pre-surplus levels – using it up was definitely a false economy – and we’re hoping egg production will resume to respectable numbers in time for weekend deliveries to friends and family.

6 thoughts on “Food, glorious food!

  1. Wow, that is a surprise… I didn’t think that you could over feed chickens…
    Just goes to show that they must put all the right stuff in the Layers Pellets!!!!

    Have a good weekend…

  2. I used to feed my 14 girls 1 large scoop of corn each morning and a large scoop of pellets each evening. Twice a week I substituted this for a soup made of vegetable peelings, plus herbs from the garden (or dried in winter), olive oil, baked crushed eggshells, organic hen mash and a very cheap supplement from Scats. They pretty much all laid gorgeous eggs for most of the year and there was never a time when they all went ‘off lay”. Sadly there was a very nasty fox who dug through the fence. I am now looking at digging down a foot and laying a chicken wire fence into concrete to stop that ever happening again.

    1. Your feeding regime sounds very good, Jane. I am sorry to hear about the fox encounter, though. Digging the chicken wire fence down under the soil sounds sensible – if you bend it under away from the coop that helps protect your flock further.

  3. Mixed corn will keep for a long time if dry.. If it is not musty there is no harm in going past the sell by date. Your chickens will not eat it if it is not good. The chickens have probably stopped laying because their diet is now too high in carbohydrate and not enough protein.

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