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Feeding Chickens

29 11:54:24

Feeding Chickens

     When choosing feed for your chickens, you'll have to account for their age and your goals for them. You'll need to use different feed for chickens which will be egg producers than you will for those meant for meat production.

Feeding Baby Chicks

Start out your chicks on 20 to 22% protein for egg producers and up that to 24 percent for meat chickens. Use chick starter until the age of 6-9 weeks (depending somewhat on the breed of chicken and how quickly it matures). After maturity, the feed should be switched to "broiler finish" grains until they are ready for slaughter (if meat chickens) - otherwise, continue with the egg feed.

Many who raise meat hens should use feed that has antibiotics to prevent Coccidiosis. Even egg layers are often given these antibiotics unless they are being raised as free range or organic.

Often, those who raise their own meat hens do so in order to avoid the large number of hormones given to commercially-raised chickens.

Adult Chickens

Adult chickens should be put on a 14% protein feed. Calcium is also very important for egg layers and for large breed hens such as Jersey Giants.
Adult hen feed comes in pellets, crumbles, mash and scratch. The best way to get the most balanced diet for your hens is to mix some scratch in with pellets or crumbles, and supplement with vegetables and calcium.
Adding clean, crushed egg shells into their feed can supplement the calcium for the hens. Chickens know what they need, so they'll eat what they require if it's available.

Vegetables and Peelings

Leftover veggies like spinach, Romain, carrot peels, and whole grains like oatmeal, barley, and small amounts of fruit make your chickens healthier and happier. These are supplements, however, not replacements for hen feed. Your chickens must have the protein and other nutrients that is provided by a good chicken feed unless they are totally free range in a very nutritious environment.

Just about anything that is not a meat product and that is fresh, it can be given to the chickens.

A Chicken Tractor/Mobile

A chicken tractor has the advantage of allowing you to move your flock from place to place in your yard. This allows the vegetation, available bugs, and grit fresh and the hens exercised. This is a good way to do it if you do not have the room for free range, or need to protect your chickens from daytime predators.

This movement will keep your yard from getting brown areas where the chickens have been.

Beware of using fertilizers or pesticides in areas where the hens will be scratching. Chickens will eat just about anything, so they will peck at fertilizer granules.

Chickens can be poisoned by grass and plants where weed killers or sprays have been used. Whatever your hens eat, you'll end up eating too. Pesticides and chemicals can be in your eggs before the chicken shows any sign of illness.

When raised properly, hens can be great family fun and a source of excellent nutrition. Well fed chickens can greatly enhance your breakfast and dinner tables.