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Selecting the Right Chicken Feed

Selecting the Right Chicken Feed

If you want your chickens to grow strong and healthy, you need to supply the correct type of chicken feed. What you feed your chickens can affect the overall chicken health, physical appearance, egg production, and the quality of meat that they give you.

Before discussing the different types of chicken feed and their effect on your chickens, it’s important to first understand that the nutrients your chickens need come from various sources. Thus, the more varied your chicken’s diet is , the more vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients they are likely to get. Keep in mind too, that beans and grains are always a treat for them. They love eating corn kernels, rice, calf manna, safflower and sunflower seeds, among others. Feeds that can be bought commercially are sometimes known as chicken scratch. This is a mixture of whole grains and cracked corn. This is designed for older chickens. And although scratch is full of fat, it is quite low on protein so it’s best to give other chicken feeds to your chickens.

Pellets are another type of commercial chicken feed which contain corn, rice bran, soybean meal and other ingredients. There are various kinds of pellets for different ages and purposes. There are developer pellets for stags and pullets and those specifically made for cocks and laying hens, so ask the owner or manager of the feed store regarding what pellets are available for the age of the chicken you are trying to feed. Normally, the protein content of a particular pellet chicken feed is increased or decreased according to age. There are also organic pellets that sources its protein from vegetables and not meat.

Mash refers to a chicken feed where the ingredients have been ground. This is usually given to chicks, from one day old to two months. This is usually high in protein and is ideal for muscle and bone development of growing chickens. Like pellets, they come from corn, rice bran, soybean meal, fish meal and other sources. There are also organic varieties as well. Mash feeds are usually given to chicks dry since chicks are fed without limit.

Greens are chicken feed that come from your garden, your lawn,or the weeds. Vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, kale and other leafy greens are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals that your chickens need for overall chicken health. If you are free ranging your chickens, the grass found in the area are also referred to as greens.

Laying hen mixes are given to laying hens or pullets for increased eggs per chicken and thicker shells. This supplies the laying hens with essential nutrients for laying. If you have laying hens that you want to get table eggs from, provide a chicken feed designed for laying hens so they can start to produce them, even without a rooster around.

Meat mixes have traditionally been given by farmers to ensure that their flock gets the protein they need. If this is not available, soybean mixes are used. These are generally boiled and soaked to soften them up before they are given. Oatmeal, milk and seeds are also added to the mix to enhance their nutritional content.

Finally, if you are not free ranging your chickens, make sure that they have grit to help them digest their food. Selecting the right chicken feed for your chickens is key to maintaining chicken health. Laying hens need different nutrition than chickens for meat. Decide what your chickens need, then match a feed with the nutrition that matches the needs of your flock.

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