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Silkie Diet
Janice Lacanette
27 February 2005
This is my interpretation of George Mihalik's diet for Silkies. Some of the details may be somewhat different from George's actual practice and I don't always have precise quantities. It was very kind of George to share this information; I believe he really cares about the health of the entire Silkie population.
Begin feeding medicated chick starter until the Silkies are 5-6 months old. After then feed a mix of 50% laying crumble and 50% grain. For grain you can use horse feed called 3-way or sweet feed that has rolled oats, rolled barley, and rolled corn with molasses. Because in warm weather this horse feed can mold quickly, the feed store I use here stops selling it in the summer. Add whole wheat to the mix. I also add oats, rapeseed, and proso to the mixture. Use Brewer's yeast for firm feces and to keep healthy bacteria in the gut. I sprinkle a little bit of the yeast into a handful of the grain. Fruits (apples, cantaloupes, grapes) and vegetables (especially carrots) are extremely important in their diet. .
I buy a bag of mixed greens (spinach, turnip, Swiss chard) and mix the carrots and a little olive oil into the greens. I sprinkle chopped egg on top to complete this "chicken salad". George prefers canola oil to olive oil and adds wheat germ oil in the spring. I give fresh grains and greens every day, and oil at least twice a week.
If you buy the mixed greens be careful because mustard, soy, parsley, and peas may be toxic to chickens. I'm not sure about the toxicity, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. Maybe some of you know more about what plants are toxic; I'd love to know.
For calcium you can use eggshell (microwave a little while to kill anything they have, like salmonella) and crush. Every other week or so add a bit of garlic (raw or powder) for deworming.
I use white play sand with grit sprinkled on top for dust bathing and grit for digestion.
For vitamins I mix a pinch of "Missing Link" into their salad once each week.
I know everyone has his or her own favorite chicken diet. I adjust as I learn. I think about 15 to 20% protein is ideal. Any more than about 25% and the chickens could get gout (kidney failure).

Marge Ussery - 27 February 2005
It was very nice of you to go to all of that trouble to put that out on the email. See, now you are becoming the expert!!! I'm dying to see how people respond to it. I thought it was perfect!!!!
I think George did get the idea of sweet feed from me, but maybe not. I've been using it for years. I use Omolene, 100, 200.or 300 depending o the time of year. The 300 is for colts and has milk products in it. I thought they would like the molasses in it also.
I do think George's insistence on the vegetables and fruit is what really makes them so healthy. He gets up all night long to give the babies grated hardboiled eggs and carrots. They never get pasty bottoms.

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