An Overview Of The Best Foods for Free-Range Chickens
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.
There are several options for feeding your free-range chickens, and each has advantages and disadvantages. Some chickens are allergic to some types of food, so it’s important to know which is right for your flock. These foods include mixed corn, Layer feed, Fruits, and Vegetables.
Table Of Contents
- Is Layer Feed The Best Food for Free Range Chickens?
- Is Fruit The Best Food for Free Range Chickens?
- Are Vegetables The Best Food for Free Range Chickens?
- Are Table Scraps The Best Food for Free Range Chickens?
- Are Commercially-Formulated Feeds The Best Food for Free Range Chickens?
- Is Yogurt The Best Food for Free Range Chickens?
Layer feed is the most common food for chickens and contains balanced protein, calcium, and vitamins. These nutrients help your chickens grow and produce top-quality eggs. Layer feed is similar to grower feed, but has extra calcium to make eggshells crisp. Make sure to introduce layer feed to your chickens when they are between 20 and 22 weeks of age, when they begin laying eggs.
To supplement the calcium in their diet, you can add crushed oyster shells. Oyster shells are a natural source of calcium and will benefit your hen’s eggshells. If you don’t have oyster shells around, you can also crumble up the shells and feed them to your hens free-choice. Another option is grit, which is limestone or granite gravel that helps the gizzard grind food. Split peas are another good source of calcium and can be fed to your free-range chickens free-choice.
You can also feed your chickens leftovers or treats. However, remember that chickens should always be fed in moderation. While a steady diet of commercial layer feed will provide them with the essential nutrients they need to grow and lay eggs, a little variety of “a la carte” treats can help keep your flock happy and healthy.
There are many benefits to feeding your chickens fruit. These fruits contain vitamins and minerals that will keep them healthy. One of the best types of fruit is strawberries. This fruit has anti-inflammatory properties and can be included in your chicken’s daily diet. Another healthy fruit that chickens love are blueberries. They are rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants. Plus, blueberries will turn your chickens’ poop blue!
Although some people recommend against giving chickens fruit, it can be beneficial. Some chickens love the seeds of cantaloupe, which is considered safe for them to eat. However, you should avoid giving them the pits, as these contain cyanide, which is toxic to chickens. However, it is safe for adult chickens to eat the flesh of the fruit without worrying about any potential side effects.
Bananas are also a great source of vitamin C and A. They also contain minerals like magnesium, iron, niacin, and trace elements. However, you should make sure that the banana is small enough to be fed to chickens. Another great option is mangoes. These are a healthy snack for your chickens. You should not feed them the whole mango though, as the seeds can be harmful to their digestive system.
A healthy diet for chickens should contain a variety of vegetables and fruits. These are rich in vitamin B2, C and K, and also contain traces of minerals such as potassium and calcium. Chopped up into small pieces, they provide vital nutrients for chickens. However, they should be fed in moderation. This will ensure that they don’t overeat, and it will also help them digest the food better.
A variety of vegetables can be fed to your chickens, including fruits, green vegetables, and grains. Some of the vegetables chickens enjoy eating are leafy greens, corn, and non-sugary cereals. They can also be fed sliced cucumbers, cooked potatoes, and beets. They also enjoy eating various kinds of fruits. Watermelons with plump seeds are particularly popular with chickens.
In addition to vegetables, chickens also enjoy other foods you prepare at home. These foods can include grains and seeds. They also like cracked corn and dried morsels. You can also give them treats like raisins and barley.
Table scraps are a great way to supplement your flock’s diet. Table scraps are particularly beneficial during the winter months, when chickens are prone to stress and fights. The scraps also give your flock daily activity and are a great source of supplements.
However, table scraps should be fed in moderation. They should make up no more than 10% of your chicken’s daily diet. Table scraps include cooked and raw vegetables. Be careful not to feed them moldy or spoiled vegetables, as they can be harmful to chickens. Other types of table scraps are unfinished spaghetti, rice, and shrimp tails.
Chickens are omnivores, so they can eat meat scraps and bones from your own dinner. Turkey carcasses and bones are great sources of protein. Avoid feeding chickens deli meats and processed meats, which contain preservatives and salt. Fish is also a good source of protein for chickens.
If you’re concerned about your chickens’ diet, don’t give them table scraps until they’re four months old. Chickens can also be fed small amounts of scrambled eggs and dandelion leaves. But don’t feed them too many of these items at once, as they may lead to overweight and unhealthy chickens.
A commercially-formulated free-range chicken feed contains all the nutrients chickens need to be healthy and grow. In addition, these feeds can help keep your chickens free from illness and disease. Moreover, preparing your own feeds will cost fifty to seventy percent less than buying commercially formulated feeds.
Besides commercially-formulated free-range chicken feed, you can also supplement their diet with raw vegetables and fruits. Try giving raw carrots, bok choy, and silver beet to your poultry on a daily basis. You can also feed them cooked food in small amounts.
A free-choice feeding system may be a better option for many producers who do not want to spend too much on feed preparation. Free choice feeding offers the advantage of minimizing grinding and mixing ingredients. It also gives birds the freedom to choose their diet based on their own physiological and environmental conditions.
The commercially-formulated feeds are composed of various feedstuffs. They may differ in the nutritional content and storage requirements. However, the results of feeding chickens with these diets are the same. Their final weight and number of eggs produced were comparable in both groups. The formulated diet contained more protein than the free-choice diet.
If you’ve ever wondered what the best food for free-range chickens is, the answer is a variety of different fruits and vegetables. They are full of essential nutrients and vitamins. Besides those, they can eat various seeds and worms. You can also give them various types of green leafy vegetables. Fruits like strawberries and cantaloupe are also safe for chickens to eat. They contain high amounts of antioxidants and water, and they are great treats.
You can purchase yogurt in most grocery stores, but make sure to choose natural yogurt without preservatives and other additives. Even though yogurt is a low-calorie food for chickens, it should be given in moderate amounts to avoid affecting their digestive system. It is also recommended that you use unflavored yogurt. Flavored yogurts contain artificial flavors, coloring, and sweeteners that chickens can’t digest. They can also be harmful if they are spoiled.
Chickens’ gut microbiome is different from ours. Giving them yogurt after an antibiotic course will help to increase the number of good bacteria in their gut. This will help them digest their food more efficiently. However, make sure you use yogurt that has live cultures. It is also important to remember that too much yogurt will cause diarrhea in your chickens.
Be sure to read our other related stories at BackyardChickenNews to learn more about raising chickens in your backyard.