Are you thinking of raising chickens?
The Different Types of Chicken Feed That Exist Today: Whether you are raising backyard chickens or you live on land large enough to accommodate many animals, raising chickens can be a great experience. You will benefit from fresh eggs, free fertilizer, natural pest control, and more. Chickens are also well-behaved pets that are great with children and adults.
However, raising chickens does require effort. Aside from caring for them, you also have to choose the right feed for them. There are many different types of chicken feed and choosing the right one can be a bit confusing.
If you are wondering what to feed your chickens, this short and simple guide is for you.
Chick Starter Feed
If you are just starting your chicken coop, you likely need chick starter feed. This feed is typically used to feed baby chickens that have just hatched.
Chicken starter feed includes a variety of nutrients that will help your baby chicks grow into strong and healthy chickens. You will usually feed your chickens starter feed until they are around 18 weeks old. This starter feed comes with a high protein-rich diet that fulfills the dietary requirements of baby chicks. It is also helpful in preventing chicks from a parasitic disease called Coccidia, which can cause bloody diarrhea and can sometimes even kill chicks. It is necessary not to use the chick starter for too long, as it can lead to liver damage and affects the immune system in the long run. This type of diet usually comes in crumbles and looks like sand or dirt. The enticing texture of the feed makes it easier for chicks to digest the food easily.
Once your chicks have graduated from starter feed, you will start feeding them grower chicken feed. This feed has fewer nutrients than the starter feed but it is still packed with everything they need to stay healthy. Grower feed is generally used until your hens start laying their first eggs. Unlike chick starter, the grower feed is not medicated, so it is necessary to complete the medication procedures regularly your pullets need. This chicken feed comes with large size pellets and quite denser than the crumbles of chick starter. Even some chicks can have a problem eating it whole. Therefore, you can try breaking the pellets into smaller pieces for few days until they become habitual of full-sized pellets. Even the mixture of chick starter and grower feed can work wonders until your chickens get used to the new food.
For many people, one of the benefits of chicken raising is the fresh and organic eggs you can collect. To help support your hens through their egg-laying phase, you will need to feed them layer feed.
This feed contains extra calcium, which is essential for healthy egg-laying. Layer feed is usually available in crumbles, mesh and pellet forms. Comparatively to grower feed, it contains similar levels of protein, around 18-20%, though has extra calcium to keep the eggshell strong and crunchy. Also, the eggs can have some issues of thin shells, small eggs, lopsided eggs, and eggs without a yolk. However, layer feed fulfills the protein and calcium needs in hens, which results in better and stronger eggs. It is one of the cheapest feeds and is usually pelleted. This type of feed should be fed to egg-producing hens after they lay their first egg. If you are looking for a quality layer feed, click for more information.
Flock Raiser Fee
If you are not raising chickens for a specific purpose, the best chicken feed to use is flock raiser feed. This feed contains basic nutrients that will keep your flocks healthy. As a note of caution, do not use this feed if you are raising egg-laying hens or have young chickens. This type of feed doesn’t have added calcium that is necessary for shell growth. Hence, you have to make sure they have another source of calcium. Even you can go with oyster shell for this. It is available at feed stores and should be offered regularly to fulfill their bodily needs.
Grit is important because it helps chickens digest their food easier. For this reason, shell grit is essential to have on hand for feeding your chickens. This grit is made of finely ground shells or other natural materials, such as limestone, granite, or flint. It acts as a brilliant source of calcium for laying chickens and increases their chances of laying quality eggs. It helps to break down the food in the gizzard and gives your chickens’ calcium levels boost, which eventually aids in the flock’s bone and eggshell strength. Even on chilly winter nights, it keeps your flock bellies warm and healthy.
Broiler feed is very high in protein. It is commonly used to raise the chickens faster and make them ready to slaughter at eight weeks. Balanced vitamins, protein, and minerals help support the strong development of feathers and bones during accelerated growth stages. Broiler feed with 22 percent protein contains targeted amino acids to support chickens’ growth and help to reach market weight efficiently. You can purchase the white rock and Cornish chickens from the hatchery. They grow extremely fast and can increase weight by about 4.5 pounds by the end of 8 weeks.
Just like humans, chickens need to eat good bacteria, which is why they need fermented feed. By eating this feed, your chickens will have a strong immune system, digest food easier, and live a long and healthy life. The process is quite simple. You can mix the fermented seed with water, and place it in the airtight bucket, and keep it as it is for 2 to 5 days. After that, the beneficial bacteria get added into the fermented feed and eventually improves chickens’ digestibility and provides healthy nutrients. Also, this process helps to reduce the cost of feeding chickens, as it is like pickles for the chickens but feeds instead.
Cracked corn is a supplemental diet, which is high in fat and very low in nutrients. It acts as a source of energy during cold winter days. Just a handful of these is very effective in keeping your chicken bodies warm and relaxed. It comes at a reasonable price but is not a sustainable diet for chickens. Also, keep in mind that your chickens need highly nutritional food, and cracked corn does the same for your chickens. It provides extra calories that boost their energy levels and even keep them warm in winter. It is an excellent source of fulfilling the basic nutritional requirements in chickens’ growth and development.
These Are the Types of Chicken Feed That Exist Today
There are a few different types of chicken feed you can use to feed your chickens.
Depending on a few factors, you might feed your chicken chick starter, grower, flock raiser, or layer feed. You will also need shell grit, broiler feed, cracked corn and fermented feed. Make sure you are choosing the right feed to cultivate happy and healthy chickens.
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