When it comes to caring for your chickens, understanding the different types of chicken feed available is key.
With a variety of feed options designed to keep your flock healthy and strong, ensuring that you are providing them with the optimal diet can help maximize their nutrition and performance.
From organic grains to commercial feeds, read on to discover the many choices available!
Different Types of Chicken Feed?
There are several types of feed available to chickens, and which type is best depends on the age and breed of the chicken. For chicks under 6 weeks old, a starter feed with 20-24% protein is recommended; for birds over 6 weeks old, grower feed with 16-20% protein should be used. Oyster shell or crushed limestone can also be added to layer feeds containing 16% protein once hens reach 18 weeks in order to provide them with enough calcium for egg production. In addition, scratch grains such as cracked corn and wheat may be used as treats or supplements but should not exceed 10% of total diet intake.
Organic Chicken Feed:
Organic chicken feed is a type of chicken feed that has been grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or other chemical treatments.
It typically contains natural ingredients and does not contain any genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Organic feeds are considered to be more healthful for chickens compared to non-organic feeds which often have added chemicals and additives.
Here are some benefits of organic chicken feed:
- Higher nutrient content – organic feeds contain higher levels of key nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and proteins compared to non-organic feeds.
- Improved digestion – organic foods are easier for chickens to digest due to the absence of artificial additives and preservatives found in many processed food products.
- Healthier birds – since organic foods do not contain any harsh chemicals or GMO’s they can help keep your birds healthier overall by providing important vitamins and minerals naturally.
Non-GMO Chicken Feed:
Non-GMO Chicken Feed is a type of chicken feed that does not contain genetically modified organisms.
It has become increasingly popular as more people prefer to raise chickens without the use of artificial additives and other unnatural components in their diets.
Here’s a list of some benefits that Non-GMO Chicken Feed offers:
- Natural Ingredients – Non-GMO feed contains only natural ingredients, which are free from any genetic modification or synthetic chemicals. This makes it healthier and safer for your chickens to consume.
- Optimal Nutrition – With all the nutrient content intact, non-GMO feed ensures that your chickens get optimal nutrition they need on a daily basis while avoiding GMO risks such as antibiotic resistance and indigestibility issues related to transgenic products.
- Better Flavor – The natural ingredients used in this type of chicken feed result in tastier eggs with superior quality compared to those obtained when fed traditional feeds containing GMOs.
Proper diet of chickens:
A proper diet for chicken:
|Stage||Age (weeks)||Feed Type||Feed Composition|
|Starter||0-6||Starter feed||High protein (18-20%), vitamins, minerals|
|Grower||6-18||Grower feed||Moderately high protein (16-18%), vitamins, minerals|
|Finisher||18+||Finisher feed||Lower protein (14-16%), vitamins, minerals|
|Layer||18+||Layer feed||Moderate protein (16-18%), calcium, vitamins|
|Broiler||0-6||Broiler starter feed||High protein (20-22%), vitamins, minerals|
|6-8||Broiler grower feed||Moderate protein (18-20%), vitamins, minerals|
|8-12||Broiler finisher feed||Lower protein (16-18%), vitamins, minerals|
|12+||Broiler developer feed||Moderate protein (18-20%), vitamins, minerals|
|Breeder||0-6||Breeder starter feed||High protein (20-22%), vitamins, minerals|
|6-18||Breeder grower feed||Moderate protein (16-18%), vitamins, minerals|
|18+||Breeder layer feed||Moderate protein (16-18%), calcium, vitamins|
|Pre-lay||Breeder developer feed||Moderate protein (16-18%), vitamins, minerals|
|Laying||Breeder layer feed||Moderate protein (16-18%), calcium, vitamins|
|Molting||High-energy feed, reduced calcium||High protein (18-20%), lower calcium, vitamins|
Please note that the specific feed compositions and nutritional requirements may vary depending on the breed, purpose, and health status of the chickens.
It’s always best to consult with a poultry nutritionist or veterinarian for tailored advice.
Layer pellets are a common type of feed for chickens, particularly those used for egg production.
Layer pellets provide all the essential nutrients needed for healthy hens, including protein, fat, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins.
The higher levels of calcium in layer pellets make them well suited to laying birds that need extra calcium to help form strong eggshells.
Most layer pellet formulations contain at least 16% protein and 3-4% fat with an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals to keep poultry healthy and productive.
Particular attention is paid to key elements such as calcium which is important for health bones and shells on eggs laid by layers.
Layer Pellets also come in different varieties tailored specifically towards meeting the individual needs of your flock.
This includes age-specific feeds or feeds designed to meet particular nutritional requirements based on breed or size.
When feeding layer feed it’s important that you ensure your chickens have access to fresh water at all times as there will be no additional moisture present in the food itself like with wetter types of feed like mash or crumbles.
It’s also important not overfeed your flock by providing more than they can consume within 24 hours.
Leftovers should be cleared away daily so they don’t spoil due to humidity from rain or heat exposure from direct sunlight resulting in mold forming inside their coop or run area where they congregate most often when eating their meals outdoors during warmer months.
Grower Pellets, also known as grower mash or starter feed, are a type of chicken feed that is most commonly used for chickens between 4-18 weeks old.
This type of feed is formulated to provide balanced nutrition specifically designed to meet the needs of rapidly growing birds. It usually contains 20-22% protein and has an ideal calcium/phosphorus ratio which aids in healthy bone development.
The pellets may also contain additional vitamins and minerals important for the growth and development stage such as zinc, copper, thiamine, vitamin A and biotin.
It’s important when using grower pellets that you avoid overfeeding your chickens during this period; providing too much can lead to obesity which carries its own health risks associated with it including joint problems later on in life.
Growing chicks should be fed ad libitum (as much as they want) up until 8 weeks old after which point their diet should be restricted to control their weight gain from then onwards; providing them with only enough food so they maintain a normal body condition score (BCS).
For optimum results when feeding grower pellets it’s recommended that you regularly rotate different types of grains such as wheat or oats into their diet so that all nutritional requirements are being met throughout the growing phase before switching over to layer feeds at 18+ weeks old.
Scratch Grain Mixes:
Scratch grain mixes are a type of feed that is usually given to chickens as supplemental nutrition.
This mix generally consists of cracked corn, oats, wheat and sometimes other grains like barley or rye.
Scratch grain should only make up around 10-15% of the total feed for backyard chickens.
It provides extra energy in the form of carbohydrates which helps them to stay warm in cold weather and can be used as a reward when training.
When using scratch grain it’s important to remember that it does not contain all the nutrients necessary for optimal poultry health so should always be supplemented with additional nutrients from another source such as an organic layer pellet or crumble.
If your chicken doesn’t have access to fresh grass or vegetation then you may need to add some green food supplements such as alfalfa meal into their diet too.
Another thing worth noting is that scratch grains tend to spoil more quickly than commercially produced feeds due to their higher fat content so they need replacing more often if stored outside in warm climates where they can easily go off before being consumed by the chickens.
For this reason, many people prefer buying smaller quantities at a time rather than large bags which may waste money if left unused for long periods of time or stored badly causing them to expire sooner than expected.
Crumble formulas are a popular type of chicken feed, especially for laying hens.
They offer balanced nutrition for poultry, providing them with the necessary protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy and productive.
Crumbles consist of ground-up grains that have been pelleted together with the addition of water or oil in order to keep their shape after drying. The resulting feed is usually small enough for chickens to peck up easily.
When choosing a crumble formula, it’s important to select one that has been formulated specifically for layer hens as this will provide them with higher levels of calcium which helps promote strong shells on eggs.
It’s also important to look out for added vitamins A and B12 which will aid digestive health as well as other essential nutrients such as zinc and selenium which support feather growth and egg production respectively.
For a complete diet solution, always opt for an enriched crumble formula that contains probiotics which can help keep your flock healthy by aiding digestion and boosting immunity.
Medicated Chicken Feed:
Medicated chicken feed is a type of poultry feed that has been treated with medication to prevent or treat certain diseases and ailments.
This kind of feed is often used for flocks that are highly prone to disease, such as those raised in intensive production systems or kept in close quarters.
Medications can help protect your flock from common diseases like coccidiosis and diarrhea due to coccidia parasites, which can cause serious health problems or even death if left untreated.
In addition, antibiotics may be added to medicated feed to help reduce the spread of bacterial infections like Salmonella enteritidis and Escherichia coli (E-coli).
When considering whether medicated chicken feed is right for your flock, it’s important to understand the risks associated with using this kind of product.
Many medications have withdrawal times before they become safe for human consumption—so make sure you check the label carefully before feeding chickens any medicated feed.
Additionally, overuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance in livestock populations; when possible, use alternative treatments like probiotics instead.
Conclusion: Different Types of Chicken Feed?
In conclusion, it is clear that there are many different types of chicken feed available. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks.
Depending on the needs and preferences of your flock, you may want to consider a combination of feeds including commercially-available mixes as well as more specialized options such as organic or non-GMO feed.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what kind of food will best serve the needs of your chickens and fits within your budget.