Tips on chicken nutrition
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Types of feed
Different types of chicken feed carried locally are mixed poultry corn, chick crumbs, growers’ pellets, layers’ mash and layers’ pellets.
Hens can eat scraps, as long as it has been cooked. Lettuce or cabbage leaves and other greens help make the yolk orange. Potato and other vegetable peelings must be boiled before fed.
Oyster shells will replace calcium needed to make eggshells, and also grit, which they use in their gizzards to grind up their food.
They enjoy bread crusts, cake and stale cookies, but avoid anything salty since birds have an intolerance to salt.
Besides salt, they should not be fed things such as banana skins, orange peels or tea bags.Date Published: May 18, 2015Date Updated: May 18, 2015
How much to feed
How much you feed depends on many things such as the size and age of your hens, the weather, and how much they can find for themselves.
A simple rule of thumb is about a handful of pellets and a handful of corn for each bird.
Adjust if you include scraps and if there’s any food left over after feeding. If there is anything left after an hour, you are probably feeding too much. Extra food left around will attract vermin such as rats. If all feed is gone in just 15 minutes, you are probably not feeding enough.Date Published: May 18, 2015Date Updated: May 18, 2015
A chick of 6 weeks old will require approximately 2 oz. per day, divided between chick crumbs and corn.Date Published: May 18, 2015Date Updated: May 18, 2015
A grower of 12 weeks will require approximately 3 oz. per day, divided between growers’ or layers’ pellets or mash and corn.Date Published: May 18, 2015Date Updated: May 18, 2015
A laying hen will require 4.5 oz. per day, divided between pellets or mash and corn.Date Published: May 18, 2015Date Updated: May 18, 2015
When to feed
Feed mash or pellets first thing in the morning and the corn an hour or so before bed. During summer, feed corn and collect eggs in the afternoon.Date Published: May 18, 2015Date Updated: May 18, 2015
Hens will drink a surprising amount of water, especially when they are laying.
Make sure they always have access to an adequate source of water and that it’s defrosted in winter.
Water towers for chickens are best, but a small bucket will also work as long as they can reach the water.
For birds with fancy feathering on their heads, narrow-lipped drinkers are required to keep the feathering from getting wet.
Source: The Illustrated Guide to Chickens by Celia LewisDate Published: May 18, 2015Date Updated: May 18, 2015
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