What do Chickens Eat?
The question asked most by newcomers to keeping chickens What do Chickens Eat ? so here is one expert’s views on feeding chickens...
How to Feed Chickens for Maximum Egg Laying Production...
The answer to What do Chickens Eat ? is more complex than it first sounds. Feeding chickens is more than just throwing out a few grains into the poultry run. If you expect to raise chickens that supply you with high quality eggs and on a consistent basis you need to understand several fundamentals about chicken feeding. When chickens first begin producing eggs, all through the initial laying cycle, they are still growing and maturing. During this period they must be given a greater quantity of protein in the poultry feed. As the number of eggs chickens are laying starts to lessen their protein requirements also fall.
Big commercial chicken growers know that protein is expensive so they watch protein amounts meticulously when feeding chickens. They begin by supplying 18% protein for the initial 4 months of their laying period and then lessen it to 16% at 4 months. Protein is reduced to 15% when the laying birds drop to about 60% of egg laying production from their maximum.
Most small backyard chicken raisers like to keep things as simple as possible when feeding chickens and consequently provide their laying hens the same feed during the full laying period. This is customarily accomplished with an all-mash diet that offers about 16% to 17% protein levels.
Mash is made from finely crushed grains and is provided in two ways. It is either combined to provide 100% of the chicken's day by day nutrient requirements or fed along with other grains. Feeding hens a considerable amount of grains immediately previous to roosting time can help them stay warmer and happier all through the night time.
Poultry Grit typically is offered in the manner of small stones or granite and must always be fed to pullets eating whole grains. Grit helps grind the grains and improving digestion. Hens will consume all types of stuff, including feathers, and grit must continually be available to help hens assimilate these different materials, even when being fed all of their meals by way of an all-mash feed.
Whole grains will normally cause chickens to gain added fat which will normally cause egg production to diminish, so it is imperative not to give grains in sizable amounts. Plus, whole grains, also called scratch feeds, are generally lower in protein, containing about 10%, so the mash will contain as much as 20% to 40% protein depending on how many grains are given. A diet of mash and grains combined will provide a total protein level of about 16%.
To lower the poultry feed bill kitchen leftovers and backyard garden excess can be added to a hen's diet. These types of food can be offered as a substitute for a portion of the grains, but should be provided in small-sized amounts as they will normally decrease the protein quantities in the overall total diet. Depending on the kind of kitchen leftovers given, they can also lead to bad tasting eggs. Giving chickens vegetable skins and green tops is suitable, but providing onions, fruit peelings, and other strong-flavoured food is not.
Calcium is one of the most critical things required in a pullet's diet because it is necessary to make hard egg shells. Feeding hens an all-mash diet is generally suitable because all-mash diets normally contain around 3% or more calcium. If egg shell strength ever seems to diminish further calcium needs to be added to their feed. Calcium is generally supplied in as oyster shells.
Fresh clean water is another fundamental item that needs to be on hand at all times. Egg numbers will suffer if hens are deprived of water for even short periods of time. Making sure the water is sanitary by changing it every day is also crucial because contaminated water can discourage pullets from drinking the necessary amounts. Soiled water can also cause the spread of disease. To maintain maximum egg laying production chickens need to be offered a suitable diet and sufficient amounts of clean water.”
Many thanks to Joshua for his answer to What do Chickens Eat ?
Joshua has kept chickens for over 25 years and is knowledgeable in getting top egg and meat production from his birds. He has a website where you can read about chicken feeding, building a high quality chicken ark, and the value of feeding chickens a good diet.
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