Chicken eggs are full of essential vitamins and minerals. But, if fed incorrectly, chickens could start eating their own as well as others’ eggs!
Cooked eggshells provide chickens with much-needed calcium while providing delicious treats! Baked, scrambled, poached or boiled are all great ways to use eggshells as food sources; whether baked, scrambled, poached or omelette style are just fine – their delectability makes for delicious additions to their diets!
Feeding a Healthy Diet
Chickens require a balanced diet for health and productivity. Their diet should include access to commercial poultry feed as well as other nutrient-rich sources like berries, apples, tomatoes and cottage cheese.
Hens that are actively egg-laying require special “layer food”, which contains more protein than starter feed to offset the extra energy necessary for egg production. Furthermore, chickens that can freely range, peck for insects, and scratch around in the dirt produce richer and healthier eggs than those kept cooped up all day long.
Though it may be counter-intuitive, feeding laying hens a nutrient-rich diet is key for avoiding FLHS (Foul Layer Hen Syndrome). FLHS occurs when there are low calcium levels and their eggs cannot be laid due to weak shells; providing additional sources of calcium such as ground oyster shells or grit is one way of combatting this tragedy and often fatal condition.
Free-range and pasture-raised are often misused terms when discussing chicken life. Both terms refer to their general lifestyle but differ when it comes to how much outdoor time each label requires; those classified as free-range must have unfettered access to nature while those labeled pasture-raised must spend at least six hours outdoors per day, giving them plenty of room to roam freely and forage for food.
Problematic egg farms do not adhere to free range or cage-free standards for their hens, with most being kept in overcrowded conditions without access to fresh air or natural environments to stimulate their inquisitive minds. Even stringent Animal Welfare Approved and Certified Humane certifications do not guarantee enough outdoor space; some even allow debeaking – the cruel practice of cutting off baby chick beaks so they cannot eat or clean themselves – an act which should be condemned as cruel and inhumane by consumers who should refrain from supporting large egg farms altogether.
Treats should be used sparingly as part of a nutritious, balanced diet for your flock. Treats can help you understand their personalities better while at the same time providing your birds with necessary sustenance.
Fruits, vegetables, table scraps (such as cooked vegetables and raw meats) and grit can make great treats for chickens; however, be wary of foods high in salt or sugar content.
Young chicks love small pieces of spaghetti as a treat; they see them as tasty worms! Other tasty items to feed baby chicks include strawberry tops, cucumber slices and melons as well as the insides of squashes and pumpkins. You could also offer hard-boiled eggs as treats – just remember to break up their shells into smaller pieces since their teeth haven’t come in yet; scrambled eggs make delicious snacks while providing essential nutrition! When offering any fruit with seeds too big for baby chicks’ bodies like these could lead to illness and even fatality – beware of giving too many fruit seeds which could cause severe consequences like this!
Chickens require three basic needs for good health: adequate shelter, nutritious food and clean water. While most poultry owners intuitively understand these necessities, often times clean water gets neglected.
Hens rely on water to digest their feed – dry crumbles, pellets and scratch contain very little moisture that they need to digest easily without water. They also rely on it for calcium storage in their medullary bones – once this supply runs low hens may become egg-bound with very slim chances of survival.
Hens that do not receive enough water can develop Mycoplasma gallisepticum. This disease causes respiratory distress (coughing, snicking, rales and discharge from eyes and nose) that reduces both feed intake and egg production. Moldy feed containing mycotoxins that haven’t been destroyed through regular heat processes could be contributing factors; checking water quality regularly will ensure optimal results.