If you’re planning to raise backyard chickens or feed chicken, it’s important that you know how to properly feed your flocks. Of course, you can’t expect to produce healthy hens that will happily hatch eggs if you don’t feed them well. Therefore, you need to understand the type of food to feed your chickens and what nutrients they need in order to maximize the production of eggs.
So let’s start by talking about the type of foods that you must give to your flocks.
What to Feed to Your Chickens?
Before you get started with your backyard poultry, you need to research what you should feed your chicken. Once you know this, feeding your flocks will be a straightforward process. But when you do your research, you need to make sure that you’re reading information from reliable sources. There is just too much false information online. One of these says that feeding your chicken with potato skin is bad for them. But this is just a myth. Chickens love potato skin and it’s definitely not bad for them!
The best diet for your chicken is something that consists of high-quality poultry pellets. To keep your hen laying eggs, feed them with layer pellets that are rich in protein and minerals. This will surely encourage them to keep on laying eggs! Normally, pellets contain salt, wheat, maize, oats, and sunflower seeds.
Feeding your flocks with chicken pellets help to ensure that they will get the right amount of vitamins and minerals, which is what keeps them stay healthy. In fact, this is even more important if you do not have enough outdoor space where your flocks can freely walk around and pasture. Aside from their main diet of pellets, you must also feed them with grains like wheat and corn so they will have a variety of food to eat.
Chickens definitely love fruits and veggies so you have to feed them these as well. In fact, most chickens love to eat vegetable peels so you can feed them with kitchen scraps that may consist of broccoli, carrots, apples, and bananas. It’s safe to feed chicken with any fruit or vegetables. Just avoid the raw green peels and peels of citric fruits, like lemons and oranges.
Remember, it is best to feed your chicken with whole grain foods that have low sugar and salt content. In line with this, you might ask if you should avoid feed chicken with those food scraps from your own meals. Yes, definitely.
To ensure that you are feeding your chicken with high-quality feeds, you need to know what the chicken feed is made of before you make a purchase. It should have high-quality protein and it should be organic. Ideally, the feeds must be milled in the United States. Premium quality feeds can help to ensure that your hens will remain healthy and will be happily laying a good number of eggs.back to menu ↑
Healthy Treats That Chickens Love
If you want to be successful in raising poultry, go ahead and spoil your chickens! Aside from feeding them with pellets and kitchen scraps, there are other foods that you must also feed them. Here’s a list of the best healthy treats that your chickens will love:
• Apple Cores
Simply throw the cores directly into the pen and your chicken will happily peck them.
They love broccoli so scatter a few broccoli leftovers on their pen.
They would love porridge during the cold winter months.
Feed chickens with leftover pumpkins and include the seeds.
They love eating worms so much like dried mealworms, dried black soldier fly larvae, earthworms and more.
What You Shouldn’t Feed to Your Chickens
As you see, chickens love to eat a lot of foods. But they are also certain foods that you must avoid giving them. These foods include rhubarb, avocado, sweets, garlic, and any of those foods that are heavily processed.back to menu ↑
What Happens When Chickens Consume a Bad Diet
It’s important that your chickens will adhere to the proper diet to ensure good health. But if you have noticed that there’s a significant change in their eating habits, it may be a good idea to get a professional vet check them.
Here are some of the most obvious signs that your chicken may not have the proper diet:
• They Produce Abnormal Eggs – If the eggs that the chickens produce are too small and a lot of them contain double yolks, then consider that as an indication that they don’t have a proper diet.
• They Pick Their Feathers – If the chickens are behaving strangely, which may include picking its own feathers and that of the other chickens, this means something is wrong with their diet.
• Changed Egg Production – If the chicken’s production of eggs changed significantly even though the season has not changed, then this must be because of your chicken’s bad diet.back to menu ↑
What Happens During Molting
Molting refers to an act where the chicken would lose their old feathers and will then end up growing new ones. Generally, hens would stop to produce eggs after the molting is completed. The duration and timing of a molt will vary from one chicken to another.
Chickens that are considered late molters would lay eggs for 12 to 14 months straight before molting. On the other hand, early molters will start to molt after only a few months of producing eggs. The early molters will be shedding few feathers at a time and could take six months for the molt to be completed. Late molters, on the other hand, shed feathers faster, over the course of 2 – 3months.
During the nonproductive molting period, there will be lots of physiological changes that could happen in the chicken. One of these is a significant loss of weight, which may be due to the deterioration of the reproductive tract and significant loss of feathers and body fats. The deterioration of their reproductive tract has a great impact on their egg production cycle and the quality of the eggs they produce.
Some poultry raisers would induce a molt in their flocks by stopping the feed. Such practice is known as fasting. However, this cruel practice of starving the chicken to imitate a molt is now prohibited in some countries. There are other methods that could induce a molt without having to starve the chicken and that includes feeding them with wheat middlings, a kind of diet that consists of a combination of corn and wheat middlings, as well as corn gluten feed. It may also include alfalfa or hull.
The level of postmolt production that will be achieved when applying the alternative feeds is much lower compared to the level achieved after a molt is induced by means of feed withdrawal. Nevertheless, regardless of the molting procedure applied, this will cause the entire flocks to significantly go out of egg production and keep them out of production until they have achieved an adequate period of rest.back to menu ↑
How Much Feed to Give to Your Chickens?
It’s important that your chickens have a steady poultry supply of food to fuel them for the day. Chickens would eat if they feel like it. They would go to sleep with a full stomach since they need it to produce eggs. The fully-grown chicken will normally require around 120 g of pellets each day. You need to regularly inspect the feeders in order to ensure that they are topped up fully. It may be a good idea to have two feeders. You can use one inside the coop and the other you can place outside on the chicken run. This can prevent dominant chickens from stopping the less dominant ones in eating their own share of food.
One of the chicken’s most favorite foods is corn. In fact, you’ll see them scampering just by the sound of you feeding them with corn. Corn is also a great food to use in taming your chickens. But mixed corn is usually loaded with fats so they must only be given to your chicken as a treat. Avoid overfeeding the chicken because overweight chicken won’t be able to lay plenty of eggs. A handful of corn for each hen should be enough.
Chickens have to eat small grits or tiny stones that can help them to digest their food. They do not have teeth so they swallow whatever they eat in whole. This is why they need grits that can help to grind up the food that they eat. Therefore, you need to feed them with a steady supply of grit since it can be difficult for them to naturally look for grit themselves.
Grits that include oyster shells is much better since the oyster shells are loaded with calcium that can help the chicken to produce good quality eggs with strong shells. You can manually add a handful of grits to their food or feed them with grits using a separate feeder.
• Treats and Greens
Chickens will eat almost anything that you will feed them. They will also love to eat green veggies, pasta, cereals, bananas, and raisins. Always ensure that these chicken treats are freshly prepared when you feed them to your chickens. It’s a good idea to give them a treat from time to time but never overfeed them with treats as they might not want to eat their layer pellets anymore.