Searching online for chicken feed can be confusing and time consuming, but here are a few key considerations that will help you choose the appropriate feed for your flock.
Layer feed has been specifically developed to promote top egg-laying hens. It provides an optimal mix of proteins, calcium, vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients designed to promote prolific egg laying.
Chicken feed is an amalgamation of ingredients designed to meet the dietary requirements of your flock. These may range from animal fats and brewer’s yeast to vitamins, grit, and calcium supplements – each tailored specifically for optimal flock nutrition.
Protein is another essential element in chicken feed. Sources of this important nutrient include soybeans, canola and sunflower meal (a byproduct of oil processing) or other sources like lupins or peas; certain feeds even include poultry meat and feather byproducts to further increase protein levels.
Feed your chicken according to its age and purpose – for instance, chicks need starter feed with high levels of protein while adult hens may require grower/layer food.
Chickens depend on a wide range of nutritional components in order to live healthily and produce enough eggs to support themselves and their flock. Most commercial feeds feature grains, protein sources and supplements in their formulation, making sure all their needs are fulfilled.
Cereals such as corn, wheat, sorghum and barley provide chickens with essential energy sources while providing essential vitamins and minerals.
Chickens require protein for muscle maintenance and to produce eggs of optimal health, with soybean meal being one such source. Other important ingredients include alfalfa hay or leafy greens as supplements as well as calcium (often provided through oyster shell or recycled eggshells) and grit for their nutrition needs.
Selecting the proper chicken feed for your flock is a key decision. Be sure to select high-quality non-GMO feed containing high levels of vitamins and minerals as well as omega 3 fatty acids for best results.
Good chicken feed contains a blend of grains designed to meet the natural foraging instincts of birds, along with shell grit, which acts like coarse gravel in terms of providing extra calcium for their flock.
Stay away from fillers like cornstarch and soy flour as these offer little nutritional benefit compared to more nutritious ingredients.
With so many labels and claims on chicken feed it can be daunting to try to navigate them all. A 10-minute trip can become 45-minutes as you attempt to interpret what they all mean!
Labels like “Free Range” and “Cage Free” can be very deceiving. While these terms imply that chickens raised with free-range feed may roam freely, in reality most are still fed conventional corn instead of organic feed.
Poultry feed contains soy, which may pose problems for those with allergies. Many flock owners are incorporating complete and supplemental feeds to provide their hens with the healthiest diet possible.
Mash is an exquisite texture of chicken feed available, boasting the full complement of ingredients to ensure each bite is perfectly balanced. However, misplacement in an incorrect feeder could result in waste on the ground and possibly cause clogged hoppers or unhygienic eating among chickens.
Scratch mix is a coarse food consisting of some larger bits that is somewhere in between mash and pellets, often used for young chicks whose digestive systems are still developing and their beaks too small for pellets. Many poultry enthusiasts also opt for fermenting scratch mixes as an easy, healthier solution that increases nutrient absorption.
There is an array of chicken feed varieties, and selecting one with the appropriate texture can make a substantial difference to both their enjoyment and performance.
Pellets are the go-to feed choice for chicken flocks, as it’s easy for them to consume and waste is reduced significantly. Plus, all essential nutrients won’t get lost should an unexpected knockover occur!
Mash is a mixture of whole grains ground into flour and mixed with protein meal and other ingredients to produce a nutritionally complete ration for chicks. Sometimes it is fermented or sprouted for easier digestion and absorption of its essential vitamins and minerals.
Crumbles are an excellent source of calcium, essential for bone and tooth health. In addition, they contain high concentrations of vitamin B2, an essential nutrient for optimal nerve and blood vessel functioning as well as serving as a great source of fiber and selenium.
Even though pellets and crumbles differ in texture, both feeds offer similar benefits for flocks. Pellets can make an excellent chick starter feed due to being heat treated for easier digestion by young birds.
Consumption is also easier with pellets; however, due to their tendency for breaking down quickly into dust particles and needing regular cleaning of feeders.