Can Chickens Eat All Stock Feed? What You Need to Know

Cows Feeding on Stock Feed

Article Summary

  • Chickens can benefit from all-stock feed, which is a convenient and affordable option as it offers complete and balanced nutrition in one bag.
  • Feeding adult chickens all-stock feeds, which may contain high protein levels, vitamins, minerals, and medications not intended for poultry, can lead to waste, coop dirtiness, difficulty in feeding, and potentially toxic effects from ionophores.
  • Chickens can consume feeds designed for goats, pigs, horses, and rabbits with certain considerations.

Raising backyard chickens is becoming more and more popular. As a new chicken owner, you likely have questions about what you can feed your flock. Many people wonder if chickens can eat all stock feed designed for other farm animals. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons.

Benefits of Feeding Chickens All-Stock Feed

All-stock feed is designed to provide balanced nutrition for farm animals like cows, pigs, and sheep. This feed contains grains, protein sources, vitamins, and minerals.

The main benefit of feeding an all-stock ration to chickens is convenience. You don’t have to purchase multiple types of feed. All-stock provides complete nutrition in one bag.

FACT

All-stock feed is also affordable since it is mass-produced for livestock. The ingredients tend to be lower cost; you can save money on feed costs for your flock.

Potential Downsides of All-Stock for Chickens

However, there are some potential downsides of feeding an all-stock ration long-term:

  • It may be too high in protein for adult chickens. Excess protein gets excreted through manure. This wastes money and can dirty the coop.
  • All-stock is designed for larger animals. The vitamin/mineral levels may be too high for a chicken’s needs.
  • The ration likely contains medications not intended for poultry. This includes ionophores which can be toxic to chickens.
  • The pellet size and texture is formulated for cattle or sheep. Chickens may have difficulty eating large, hard pellets.

Balancing All-Stock Feed for Your Flock

Chicken Feeding on All-Flock Feeds
Chickens Feeding on Chicken Feed

Many chicken owners do choose to feed an all-stock ration successfully. Here are some tips:

  • Supplement with oyster shell or grit to support digestion. The large pellets require extra grinding in the gizzard.
  • Mix the all-stock 50/50 with a chicken scratch grain to reduce overall protein content.
  • Use all-stock to feed younger growing chickens who need more protein. Avoid feeding it exclusively to older hens.
  • Purchase all-stock designed for sheep or goats. This contains less medications compared to feed for cattle.

Can Chickens Eat All-Stock Sweet Feed?

Sweet feed is an all-stock ration with molasses added to increase palatability. The molasses provides extra energy.

Chickens can eat sweet feed in moderation. However, the high sugar content can cause loose droppings. Limit sweet feed to an occasional treat.

It should not make up the bulk of the diet. Mix it sparingly with their regular feed.

Feeding Chicks and Pullets All-Stock Rations

Baby chicks require about 20-24% protein feed for proper growth and development. Most all-stock feeds fall into this range.

Baby chicks require about 20-24% protein feed for proper growth…

So all-stock can work well for meat bird chicks, layer chicks, and pullets up to about 16 weeks old. Make sure the feed does not contain medications that could harm poultry.

Supplement with oyster shell and vitamin packs formulated for chicks. Switch to a 16% layer ration at 16-18 weeks old.

Can Chickens Eat Feed Designed for Other Animals?

Chickens are omnivores and can eat a wide variety of feeds. Here are some other common farm feeds they can consume:

  • Goat feed – Similar protein/mineral content to poultry feed. Avoid goat feeds with added copper.
  • Pig feed – Chickens can eat finisher feeds but not starter feeds which are too high protein.
  • Horse feed – Limit molasses-based sweet feeds. Whole grains and pelleted feeds are fine.
  • Rabbit pellets – Pellets are small sized but protein levels are often too high. Best to limit and mix with scratch.
Pigs Feeding in a Pigpen
Pigs Feeding in a Pigpen

The key is to read the feed tag and adjust the ratio fed to meet the nutritional needs of chickens. Talk to your local feed store for advice on mixing and matching farm animal feeds.

With some adjustments, chickens can successfully and economically eat all-stock feed designed for other livestock. Monitor your flock’s health and production carefully. Alter the feed regimen if any issues arise. Let your chickens’ performance be your guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to feed chickens with all-stock feed?

Feeding chickens with all-stock feed is generally safe, as it provides a balanced diet with essential nutrients. However, it’s crucial to check the specific formulation of the feed and ensure it meets the nutritional requirements of your chickens. Always follow recommended guidelines and monitor your flock for any adverse reactions to ensure their health and well-being.

Is it beneficial for chickens to eat all-stock feed?

Yes, providing chickens with all-stock feed can be highly beneficial. This type of feed is designed to meet the nutritional needs of various poultry breeds and life stages. It typically includes a mix of grains, proteins, and vitamins essential for growth, egg production, and overall health. Regularly offering all-stock feed contributes to the well-rounded nutrition necessary for optimal chicken development.

Can chickens consume medicated stock feed without any harm?

Chickens can consume medicated stock feed without harm if used according to recommended guidelines. Medicated feeds often contain additives like antibiotics to prevent certain illnesses. It’s crucial to follow dosage instructions, as excessive use can lead to unintended consequences. Additionally, consult with a veterinarian to determine if medicated feed is necessary for your specific flock and to ensure its safe and effective use.