Healthy & Delicious: Feeding Your Backyard Chickens Right
By Tom Seest
At BackyardChickenNews, we help people who want to raise backyard chickens by collating information and news blended with our own personal experiences.
When it comes to what to feed backyard chickens, there are some basics that you need to follow. These basics include providing a free-range environment with plenty of shell grit and quality grains. Chickens also like high-protein treats and insects. To keep your hens healthy and happy, try to avoid giving them any bread or other processed foods. Chickens also like to eat leafy greens and garden waste that is young and tender. Another popular protein treat for chickens is dried mealworms. These can be rehydrated and fed to your hens. Kitchen scraps are also excellent for your hens. However, don’t over-feed them because too much of a good thing can have negative effects.
Table Of Contents
- How Can Scratch Grains Benefit Your Backyard Chickens?
- What Greens Should You Feed Your Backyard Chickens?
- Do Oyster Shells Make a Healthy Treat for Backyard Chickens?
- What Table Scraps Should You Feed Your Backyard Chickens?
- What Fruits Can Backyard Chickens Enjoy?
- What Benefits Does Commercial Layer Feed Offer Backyard Chickens?
Scratch grains are a wonderful way to provide extra nutrition for your chickens. You can provide scratch grains to your flock in the morning and/or evening after their daily feed. When feeding scratch grains, you should feed your chickens enough that they can finish it in about 15-20 minutes.
Scratch grains can be made in a variety of ways. One method involves fermenting grains to release more nutrients and make them easier to digest. A typical scratch grain has eight to nine percent protein, three percent fat, and four grams of fiber. The exact composition of nutrients will depend on the type of grains and seeds that you feed your chickens.
Scratch grains are a good alternative to commercial layer feeds. The grain mixture is palatable for chickens and provides them with plenty of energy. They will also enjoy the feeling of satisfaction they get from eating scratch grains. In addition, scratch grains are cheaper than commercial feeds.
Scratch grains are a great way to increase your chickens’ calcium intake. Adult laying hens need around four grams of calcium per day. You can add oyster shells to the scratch grains to provide extra calcium to your chickens. However, you should not add too much of this type of scratch grain to your chickens’ diet.
You can feed your backyard chickens greens in several forms. You can mix greens into your chicken feed or throw them into their run. They may peck at the greens, but this is not a bad thing. If you’re concerned about the effects of spinach, you can add some apple cider vinegar, which helps balance the acid in the stomach and improves calcium absorption.
Your chickens will love greens, especially those that are tender and succulent. Try growing them in a vegetable garden or in your chicken zone. You’ll need to wait until the greens have matured before feeding your chickens. Fresh vegetables are also a good choice. Choose vegetables with greens attached, like cauliflower leaves and carrot tops. These will be easier for your chickens to eat. Greens are also a great source of protein.
Another great green to feed backyard chickens is kale. This leafy green contains an array of vitamins and minerals that chickens require. It contains vitamin A, which is essential for egg production, manganese, which helps with hatchability, and calcium, which is important for strong bones and shells.
When it comes to weeds, you can feed your chickens some of these, too. These greens are rich in calcium and phosphorus, which chickens need for strong bones and eggshells. You can also feed them mustard greens, which have been known to improve chicken growth and skin.
Oyster shells are a great way to enrich your chickens‘ diet with valuable calcium. You can use crushed oyster shells to add to their regular feed, but you have to remember that you don’t want to overdose your chickens on calcium. As long as your hens have easy access to calcium, oyster shells are a great addition to your backyard chickens’ diet.
The cost of oyster shells is relatively high, but they’re worth it if you’re committed to raising healthy, delicious eggs. The oyster shell will disintegrate in the hen’s gut, providing calcium to its diet. Many people also use eggshells from their own hens, but these are unlikely to provide a sufficient calcium supplement for laying hens. However, you can still give your hens oyster shells as a calcium supplement by chopping them up and mixing them with eggshells.
You can purchase crushed oyster shells at local feed stores. These oyster shells are heat-treated to preserve their purity. You can also buy a pelletized version of oyster shells from online stores. Oyster shells are a great source of calcium and will help your chickens develop strong eggshells.
Chickens that lack calcium will begin laying eggs at a slower rate. As long as they have access to oyster shells, they will begin to instinctively know when they should start eating them. The oyster shell is a great source of calcium, but be sure to keep it separate from the rest of your flock’s food.
When feeding your backyard chickens, table scraps are a great way to supplement their diet and decrease their feed bills. But there are some things to keep in mind. Most table scraps are safe for chickens to eat, but unhealthy table scraps can contain toxins that can harm them. The best way to feed your chickens healthy table scraps is to make sure to clean up after them after they use the scraps.
Table scraps are especially good for your flock during winter. When the weather is cold, chickens can feel stressed and start fighting more often. Giving them table scraps will give them a daily source of activity and the supplements they need to stay healthy. Table scraps are also excellent food sources for chickens who may have trouble getting the proper nutrients from a feed.
You should start feeding your backyard chickens with table scraps when they are about 3 or 4 months old. They will need the protein and vitamins in the scraps to grow. When you start feeding your chickens table scraps, be sure to start with small amounts of scrambled egg or chopped dandelion leaves. As they grow, you’ll be able to gradually introduce more table scraps to your flock while introducing them to new foods at a slower pace.
While there are some foods chickens can eat, be sure to avoid foods with too much salt. A good source of calcium is found in eggshells. Smashed eggshells are a rich source of calcium and are good for chickens.
Fruit is an excellent way to provide your backyard chickens with a balanced diet full of essential nutrients. Many chickens enjoy eating strawberries and other berries, which are rich in vitamins and minerals. They are also high in anti-inflammatory agents and can be fed to your chickens in moderation. Bananas are also a good choice for backyard chickens, as they can be cut into small pieces. Peaches are another healthy treat that chickens will enjoy. They are packed with vitamins and minerals but do remember to feed them in moderation to avoid causing diarrhea. Lastly, you can also give your chickens pineapple, which is packed with vitamins and minerals.
Oatmeal is another healthy alternative for backyard chickens. It contains vitamins, minerals, and protein. Certified organic rolled oats are great for chickens. Oranges are another great treat for chickens and contain a variety of vitamins and antioxidants. Pomegranate seeds and husks are also great treats for chickens. However, be aware that orange peels contain cyanide, and chickens should avoid peach pits.
While apples are great for backyard chickens, some people don’t like giving apples to their coop. However, this advice is not backed by scientific evidence. Apple seeds are high in arsenic, and chickens are naturally inclined to peck at windfalls. Avocado skins are also toxic for chickens, but the flesh is not.
Commercial layer feed provides your backyard chickens with the nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy. This feed is available in a variety of forms, including pellets, mash, and crumbed varieties. The ingredients of these commercial layers’ feed are a combination of grains, grit, and calcium. You can also scatter other seeds and grains around the coop and environment to encourage foraging.
You should use a good layer feed for your backyard chickens if you are interested in producing eggs. There are several types available and you will want to choose the one that provides the nutrients they need to lay strong, nutritious eggs. If you want to raise meat chickens, you’ll want to give your girls a more protein-rich diet in order to encourage rapid growth and weight gain.
Aside from commercial layer feed, you can feed your chickens with free sources of protein and vitamins. Backyard chickens can also forage for insects and other small creatures in their yard. These are an excellent way to provide your chickens with a varied diet, and you’ll find it much cheaper than a commercial feed.
It’s also important to provide fresh water to your backyard hens. Their digestive systems require lots of water to produce eggs. The water should also be easily accessible for the lower hens in the pecking order.
Be sure to read our other related stories at BackyardChickenNews to learn more about raising chickens in your backyard.