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Feeding your chickens


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#1
Henny

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A simple guide to feeding your chickens and notes to go with them.

First off remember that a treat is a rare food you give your to chickens once in a while not on a daily basis. It should not replace your chickens main diet of layers or meal.

Layers Meal: A complete powdered version of the layers pellets. Do not store in warm sheds as it tends go foamy and smell like beer! Meal is good to feed your chickens if you have the proper storage for it, it's easy to make up by adding cold or warm water. Meal is great stuff because can warm it on those cold frosty mornings and you can add your powdered supplements to it to, there's less spillage involved so probably better in the long run then pellets. You will need to make fresh every day though its quick and easy to make up.

Pellets: The most popular form of feed to give to chickens. It's a pellet form of meal and is a complete food which has all the chickens will need to form a healthy diet. It can be watered down but like with the mash you will need to make it up every day if you go down that route.

You will need to check the chickens feed every day. Make sure there is always food available; when you're low stock up. Chickens should always have pellets or meal available to them as their main feed.

Corn: Only feed solidly if your hens are free range. If your hens are for meat beware corn can turn their skin yellow! Even then I would not recommend corn as a main feed as it's highly fattening stuff, chickens are more prone to egg binding, heart attacks, collapse if they are overweight just like people in that way. Feed in moderation if enclosed and don't get out much, corn is like chocolate to a chicken a small helping in the morning is fine. I wouldn't recommend feeding before bedtime as any uneaten feed may attract vermin and even foxes.

Veg: Again to be fed in moderation. A cabbage can be a good boredom breaker but too much veggie can result in runny poop!

Fruit: chickens love fruit especially strawberries they go nuts for them but only give once in a while like with veg you can unsettle your hens tummy.

Human food: Stay away from dairy products (hens are intolerent to dairy products). Do not feed bread unless watered down as dry bread can expand in their crops, avocados and chocolate are deadly to chickens so are also a big no. Don't feed them potatoes either as these can be very starchy and are probably not good for hens either, no cakes, no high in sugar feeds or high salts and nothing thats too fattening.

Porrige: if you feed your hens pellets then porrige is a good way of getting your powdered supplements to them like poultry spice, added with a bit of garlic your hens will go nuts!

Garlic: very good stuff can help prevent worms and parasites, cleanses the blood, high in protein and the hens love it! Give in moderation as it can make their eggs taste like garlic.

Scrambled eggs and egg shell: good winter treat for your hens they will love it. I usually feed them this if I have far too many eggs going around.

Meal worms: again a nice winter treat and a good taming tool to gaining your hens trust no hen can resist meal worms. If you're squeemish you can get dried meal worms.

Water: fresh clean water is vital to a hens health even in the winter they can become dehydrated so try and make sure it's always available to them as fresh as possible. In the winter you can wrap your water bowls in bubble wrap and this will keep the frost off.

Water tonics: These are a choice thing you don't have to feed them if you don't want to, they go in the water or you can use a rabbit bottle with water and the tonic in and then the hens won't waste any. I'd recommend ACV (apple cider vineger) it helps improve egg production, can prevent coxidosis and worms and can improve visual health of the birds) make sure its from a poultry supplier and not from the supermarket.

Grit: if your hens are out on a regular basis you probably won't need to feed them grit as they will find the stones themselves while out and about, if you enclose your hens you will either need to scatter or feed in a bowl on a weekly basis. Chickens don't have teeth so grit is vital to their diet it will help them grind up what they eat and aid in digestion if they never get out they could starve without it. Mixed oyster shell is best as it contains calcium.

Notes: fresh clean water/grit/ layer meal or pellets is the main dietry requirements of your hens they don't really need anything else as the meal and pellets are complete meaning it has everything they need for a balanced diet, always feed anything else in moderation its just treats they can survive happily without all this extra human influence. We feed them these extras mainly because its fun to watch them react to something new.

Edited by Fluffychooks, 24 October 2010 - 09:54 AM.
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#2
kennethw

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would add that potato is ok as a treat if cooked. never feed raw. Feeding eggshell can encourage egg eating. Earthworms are also a treat, too many can give eggs a bad flavour. Have started a wormwery as a supplement, it is also possible to build up a mealworm culture, save some and allow them to turn into adult beetles to renew the cycle - remember adult beetles fly

#3
Welshy

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View Postkennethw, on 04 January 2011 - 03:03 PM, said:

would add that potato is ok as a treat if cooked. never feed raw. Feeding eggshell can encourage egg eating. Earthworms are also a treat, too many can give eggs a bad flavour. Have started a wormwery as a supplement, it is also possible to build up a mealworm culture, save some and allow them to turn into adult beetles to renew the cycle - remember adult beetles fly

That's very interesting a mealworm culture, how do you build one up like this and what materials would I need to build one?

#4
madbird

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regarding grit can any bird grit be given to hens ?

#5
craft widower

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If egg shells are ground fine and unrecognisable its OK

#6
Henny

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Note on feeding grit -

When choosing grit look at the size of your bird and then look at the size of the grit and thats how I choose. Don't give grit thats too large for a small bird it does come in different size so try to get grit thats labled for chickens. Having said this chickens will pick up tiney stones when free ranging so if your girls are let out often enough they probably won't need grit added.

Another thing is to check your layers ingrediants as some contain grit, you can't over feed a chicken grit as they can only take so much so its a good idea to give in smaller quantities then you might think. You will find it may well sit for some time so make sure you check the grit hopper on a regular basis as this will become unhygenic if left.




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