Are you considering keeping chickens in your garden? Or are they already scurrying around? Great idea! But how do you know what the best chicken feed is for your feathered friends? To make the best choice, you need to answer a few important questions.
Why do I keep chickens?
- Do you want to keep laying hens? It is best to feed these hens good laying feed. This contains sufficient calcium to prevent soft-shell eggs, lots of vitamin D so that the hens will receive enough lime and lots of proteins for optimally formed eggs.
- Do you want broiler chickens? In this case, the proteins in the chicken feed are vital. You can find chicken feed that is customised precisely for white-legged and yellow-legged broiler chickens.
- Or will you keep ornamental chickens? In this case, it is best to give them the Country's Best Show product with natural pigments. This will ensure that their breed characteristics fully develop
How old are my chickens?
When you keep chickens, the amount of fats, proteins and vitamins in your chicken feed must always be precisely adjusted according to the age of the animals.
We add extra proteins to the feed for chicks and growing chickens. Proteins are important for the development of flesh and muscles. For chicks, proteins are necessary to ensure the further development of their bodies. Proteins support their growth process. Once chickens have matured (at +/- 18 weeks), they will not need as many proteins as they did on day 1. But laying hens will always require calcium in order to produce eggs. Compared to ornamental chickens, grown laying hens will therefore always need more proteins.
If you continue to feed your grown laying hens with chick crumbs, you will soon notice that they will become too fat. You do not want this, because it will affect the health of the animal and the egg production.
Which kind of feed should I use?
Did you choose the correct feed according to the age of your chickens and the purpose for which you keep them? You will have different kinds of feed to choose from.
Chicks and ornamental chickens are best fed meal or crumb. In the first case it concerns finely milled grains and seeds, and in the second case the grains and seeds are pressed. Both kinds are enriched with vitamins and minerals. Meal is digested more slowly absorbed and it digests better. This also helps keep the chickens occupied.
You can later switch to pressed grains and seeds in the form of a pellet, also enriched with vitamins and minerals. You will see your chickens grow faster, considering that they really absorb this feed well. At the same time, they also get everything they need (they cannot eat selectively) without any waste.
In addition, you will also find there is a mix of grains and seeds in combination with a laying pellet. Chickens just love those grains. So, they will be sure to absorb the feed properly.
How do you give the chicken feed?
You can, of course, just scatter the chicken feed on the ground, but make sure that you scatter the correct amount. Not too little, because then your chickens will not get enough nutrients and this will make them vulnerable for diseases. But also not too much, because this will turn your chicken run into a mud bath and you will attract unwanted guests, such as rats and mice.
That is why it is better to feed your chickens with a treadle feeder. This has a silo which is best kept filled, and a step at the bottom. Once chickens stand on it, the container will open and they can eat. This way, the chickens always have feed at their disposal without any problems.
How much should my chickens eat every day?
The colder it is outside, the more they will eat. The larger breeds of chickens also consume more chicken feed than the smaller breeds. Chicks also eat much less than adult chickens.
An average adult chicken eats roughly 110 grams per day. How will you know how much feed to give your chickens? If you scatter chicken feed in the morning and there is still some left in the late afternoon, then you should give them a little less the next morning. Keep repeating this until there is nothing left in the afternoon and you will know that you are giving the correct daily amount. Or buy a treadle feeder for your chickens and you will always be certain.
Am I allowed to feed chickens anything else?
You can always treat your chickens to something else, as long as you keep on feeding them chicken feed as well. The simply need the nutrients contained therein.
- Grit: always make it available, in small amounts to ensure better digestion and stronger egg shells. Regular grit contains stomach gravel and shells. Grit + contains extra vitamins, trace minerals and red stone to ensure the good health and condition of the chickens.
- Snacks: if you want to make your chickens hand-tame or you feel like pampering them, then give them a chicken snack once in while. Sea Mix is an outstanding supplement to the animal protein found in insects and worms. Garden Mix contains grains and herbal granules that help support the general health, immunity and intestinal flora.
- Water: your chickens require fresh clean water every day, of course. Not only to safeguard their good health, but also for the daily production of eggs.
- Food left-overs: is allowed, but not excessively. You can feed chickens vegetables, fruit, cooked noodles, rice and cooked potatoes ... But, be careful with potato peels that have green spots. Never feed them bad left-overs or dog or cat food.