Raising chickens is a huge trend, and there’s no question as to why. It gives families personal sources of eggs and meat. With enough investment, you can turn chicken-raising into a fulfilling livelihood.
Before you can even dream about scaling from a chicken coop to a chicken farm, you need to master the basics. Take a look at this quick guide on everything you need to know about choosing chicken feed.
Chicken Feed for Chicks and Adolescents
Picking the right feed for young chickens goes a long way towards making sure they see adulthood. They need food that’s easy to digest and contains a lot of protein.
Chick feed you’ll find from sellers like organicchickenfeed.com tends to contain around 18-24% protein. The higher end of the scale puts meat on growing broiler chicks.
Nutrition Needs of Pullets and Hens
If you don’t pay special attention to what you feed pullets and hens, you’ll have trouble getting eggs you’re happy with. They need lots of calcium in their diets to ensure the eggshells harden.
Female chicks should get extra calcium starting around 14 weeks. You should be feeding them 3-5% calcium by the time they’re ready to start laying.
Choosing Broiler Feed
While the maximum protein level for broiler chicks tops out around 24%, a more typical level of protein for broilers is between 20 and 22%. Feeding broilers a high-protein diet until they’re of age to sell gives an ideal combination of size and health.
If you’re raising smaller or leaner broilers such as Cornish hens, you might want a lower-protein feed. Lower-protein broiler feed is around 18-20% protein.
Provide Grit for Digestion
A chicken’s gullet makes up for its lack of teeth. The gullet stores grit that grinds food down for proper digestion. In the wild, chickens eat stones and gravel to fill their gullets, but most chicken farmers don’t encourage this behavior.
Store-bought grit is often made from oyster shells, but it’s easy to make your own without investing in seafood. You can bake eggshells at a low temperature and crush them well so the chickens don’t develop an urge to eat their eggs.
Chickens aren’t often picky eaters, so you don’t need to worry about hiding or disguising grit. If it’s more convenient for you to set out separate dishes than to mix grit into your chickens’ main feed mix, keep an eye on your birds to make sure they eat enough of both.
Feeding Scratch as Enrichment
Scratch is a mixture of corn and seeds that chickens go crazy for. When given in moderation, it varies their diet and is healthy.
Some people make the mistake of relying on dried corn for chicken feed, but it doesn’t provide all of the nutrients your chickens need. Chicken experts have nutrition down to a near-exact science and there’s no reason not to take advantage of that knowledge.
Must-Know Information for a Better Life
This guide on choosing chicken feed makes feeding your flock a cinch. Once you have your poultry affairs in order, check out other articles on this site for more information you can’t miss.
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