The Ultimate Guide to Optimal Chicken Feeding
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 many factors to consider when choosing what to feed backyard chickens. Your situation should determine the frequency and amount of feeding. If you stay home to care for your chickens, you may feed them several times throughout the day. But if you have to go to work, you should feed them only twice a day and only after you return home.
Table Of Contents
- What Benefits Do Oyster Shells Offer Backyard Chickens?
- Can Kitchen Scraps Keep Your Backyard Chickens Healthy?
- Are Vitamins Essential for Backyard Chickens?
- What Layer Feed Does Your Backyard Chicken Need?
- What Scratch Feed Gives Backyard Chickens?
- Can Yogurt Be a Healthy Treat for Backyard Chickens?
Oyster shells are a great source of calcium for chickens. Chickens need calcium to grow and lay healthy eggs, but oyster shells provide it in a way they can digest it. When they eat oyster shells, the calcium passes through the chicken’s digestive tract in 90 minutes. It then enters the bloodstream, where it is needed. Moreover, the calcium content in oyster shells helps chickens lay more eggs.
Oyster shells are best given to chickens that are at least 18 weeks of age. When they are not lying, they won’t eat them. They will only eat the amount they need. You should also provide oyster shells to your chickens year-round.
If you don’t want to buy oyster shells, you can collect them from the local beach. Most local beaches allow the gathering of sea shells, but you should be aware of any restrictions or bag limits. Once you have collected enough shells, you can bake them to remove mold and bacteria. You can place the baked shells in a burlap sack or an empty feed bag.
Oyster shells are an inexpensive and effective source of calcium for backyard chickens. Chickens need about four times the amount of calcium they get from regular chicken feed. You can easily make your own oyster shells to give your flock calcium. You can also mix them into their regular feed.
Feeding chickens kitchen scraps is a great way to reduce your food waste. You can feed chickens a variety of foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, cooked grains, seeds, and meats. By offering your flock kitchen scraps, you will be saving yourself from buying expensive feed for your flock, and you will also be helping to promote worms and bugs that make a great home compost for your backyard chickens.
Most fruits and vegetables are safe for chickens to eat, but remember to cut up your kitchen scraps before giving them to your flock. Always feed your chickens fresh scraps; never feed them spoiled or moldy food. You can also provide your chickens with a bowl of free-choice scraps. Squash, zucchini, and pumpkin are good choices for free-choice feeding.
A good rule of thumb is to not feed your chickens scraps from a commercial kitchen. You can feed your flock with organic, vegan, and vegetarian food if you want to be green and follow the regulations set out by DEFRA. However, feeding your chickens scraps can also cause health problems for humans if you are not careful.
Vitamin premix for backyard chickens should be formulated with a wide range of vitamins and trace minerals to meet the needs of backyard chickens. These nutrients can vary in bioavailability, so it is important to choose the best source. The vitamins and trace minerals should also impart acceptable physical attributes to the premix. Coated forms and spray-dried formulations are beneficial in terms of flowability and stability.
Using a vitamin premix for backyard chickens is not only beneficial to your chickens, but it can also be cost-effective. These products usually have a shelf life of 6 months, which is a great advantage if you have a small flock of chickens. You can also share vitamin premix with other backyard chicken keepers in order to save money.
A recent study evaluated the impact of vitamin premix withdrawal on broiler chicken performance and immunity in two different rearing systems. The results of the study suggest that the absence of vitamin premix does not adversely affect broiler chicken performance.
Layer feed is made up of a variety of ingredients, including corn, diatomaceous earth, and oyster shells. A nutritionally complete layer feed will give your chickens the necessary nutrients they need to lay eggs. However, it should not be mixed with treats or snacks, which dilutes the quality of the protein found in the layers pellets. Moreover, feeding treats and snacks to chickens can cause aggression, obesity, and poor egg production.
When your hens reach around 18 weeks of age, you can switch them to a complete layer feed, which provides all the essential nutrients that laying hens require. However, you need to give your chickens enough time to adjust to this change. Most birds adjust within a week, but some take longer. Regardless, make sure to keep the flock’s routine constant while making the changeover.
You should choose a layer feed that contains 16 percent protein, 3.25 percent calcium, and important vitamins and minerals. It should also include additional ingredients that promote hen health and the quality of their eggs. Change the feed gradually to avoid digestive upset.
Scratch feed for backyard chickens is an excellent way to supplement your chicken’s diet. It is usually made from natural ingredients, such as milo, millet, barley, rolled corn, oats, sunflower seeds, and wheat. It is available in bags for easy feeding.
Scratch feed is a great way to encourage your chickens to return to the coop, and it is also an excellent way to reward good behavior like delousing. It also helps keep them warm at night. Some old-time chicken keepers did not use scratch feed, but it can be a great way to start training your chickens.
The best scratch feed for backyard chickens is a mix of cracked corn and grains. The grains are rich in protein and are good for chicken health. They are also cheaper than commercial feed. While grain-based scratch isn’t as high in nutrients as other types of feed, it can provide enough calories to keep your flock healthy and happy.
The best scratch feed for backyard chickens contains 15% to 18% protein daily. A typical laying hen needs up to 18% protein in her diet to lay eggs. When free-range, chickens can also consume a lot of greens, bugs, and kitchen scraps. A balanced diet is essential for good health. It’s also important to limit the amount of table scraps that you give your chickens because they can get botulism from them. Moreover, avoid giving them scraps with strong taste and odor, such as onions, sour milk, and strong flavors.
Yogurt is a great food for backyard chickens, but it should be given only occasionally. It is best to avoid giving it to your chickens every day, as it can cause stomach upset. Only offer yogurt to your chickens once or twice a week. You should also be careful to limit the amount you give them to about 3/4 cup at a time. Chickens‘ digestive enzymes do not work as well as yours, so feeding them too much yogurt can make them sick.
Yogurt contains probiotics, which are beneficial for chickens’ digestive health. However, you should be very careful to feed your chickens too much of it because too much yogurt can harm their digestive system. In addition, yogurt contains magnesium, zinc, vitamins, and phosphorus. These nutrients are beneficial for chickens, although they may not be as beneficial to human health.
Besides yogurt, chickens can also be fed kefir, kombucha, and cultured buttermilk. Yogurt is a great source of calcium, and probiotics can help boost your chicken’s immune system.
Be sure to read our other related stories at BackyardChickenNews to learn more about raising chickens in your backyard.