How to Feed Chickens Properly

Pecking – chickens spend most of their day foraging for food. What the poultry eats has a significant impact on their health, but also on their laying performance. In this article, we have put together for you what you need to pay attention to in order to feed your chickens appropriately.

Feeding the Chickens: Components for Appropriate Nutrition

As with all animals, diet is critical to the welfare of chickens. It also affects the production of eggs. For these reasons, you should ensure a varied and balanced feed.

A species-appropriate diet for chickens consists of four components:

  • Grains and seeds: The easiest way to meet your grain needs is with a high-quality complete feed. So you can be sure that all essential minerals and vitamins are contained in the feed. Complete chicken feed is available both organically and conventionally.
  • Green fodder such as vegetables, lettuce, and fruit: Fresh green fodder not only contains a lot of vitamins, it is also well received by chickens. You can also recycle leftovers from the kitchen.
  • Free-range food: the more species-appropriate the run, the more food your chickens will find there. They peck for worms and insects and eat grass and herbs.
  • Grit: So-called chicken grit consists of shell lime and stomach pebbles. The chicken needs the fine white-gray grains for digestion and bone structure: Since chickens do not have teeth, grains of grain migrate into the stomach without being crushed. With the help of the grit, they are ground up there and can be digested more easily. The shell limestone also contains a lot of calcium and therefore ensures strong bones and firm eggshells. The chicken grit must be an essential part of the chicken feed, otherwise, the animals will suffer from a life-threatening undersupply or malnutrition or malnutrition.
  • It is already included in many complete feeds.

Ideally, each component of this meal plan is covered on a daily basis.

What is Good as Fresh Feed for Chickens?

Chickens are essentially omnivores. On the farm, they traditionally enjoy kitchen waste. The following types of fruit and vegetables are particularly suitable as fresh feed:

  • Zucchini
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Salad
  • Berry
  • Apple
  • Pear
  • Corn

Please only feed fruit as an occasional change!

Grasses and herbs such as dandelion, nettle, mint, or parsley also enrich your diet. You should supplement your poultry menu with protein-rich foods such as mealworms, snails, or larvae – especially if the exercise area does not offer enough of them.

What Should I Not Feed Chickens?

Even if chickens are omnivores, not everything should end up in their food bowl. You should avoid the following leftovers and foods that are difficult for chickens to digest:

  • Raw and cooked poultry meat
  • Meat meal
  • Citrus fruits
  • Avocado
  • Cabbage
  • Cat and dog food
  • Raw potatoes
  • Sweets

Chickens are also not allowed to eat moldy or spicy leftover food.

How Many Times a Day Do I Have to Feed the Chickens?

Most chicken farmers feed their animals once a day. Whether you feed your chickens in the morning or in the evening is up to you. It is important that feeding always takes place at the same time and that the chickens always have sufficient feed and water available throughout the day. Daily feeding also includes tasks such as cleaning the accessories – such as the food bowls or dispensers – and replacing the drinking water.

How Much Feed Does a Chicken Need?

The number of feed chickens needs is very individual and depends on the breed or size and the type of exercise. If your chickens find enough feed in the free-range, the amount of finished feed is significantly reduced.

As a rule of thumb, a two-and-a-half kilogram chicken needs around 120 grams of feed and 250 milliliters of water per day.

Tip: Feed pans and containers should always stand a little higher, for example on a brick or a tree trunk disc, so that no excrement gets into the feed.

If you don’t want to feed your chickens by hand, you can use a chicken feeder. This feeding device, also known as a chicken silo, always fills up automatically when there is no more feed in the bowl. A special chicken water trough instead of a water bowl has also proven its worth. This is because the water in these invertible drinkers is protected from contamination.

The Diet of Chickens in Winter

In winter, chickens need a particularly high-quality diet to compensate for their increased energy requirements due to the cold. Therefore, feed nutrient-rich complete feed during the cold season and supplement it with vitamin-rich green fodder such as fruit, vegetables, and seedlings.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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