Raising a healthy flock of chickens means balancing a number of factors that contribute to the growth of those chickens. One of the most important factors, however, is the chicken feed that a person chooses to give their flock. Chicken feed is not a product that you pick a certain type of when a chicken is born and continue to feed it that type throughout its life. In fact, the chicken feed required by your flock will vary from chicken-to-chicken in some cases.

Learn everything you need to know about what to consider when choosing the chicken feed, you will be serving to your flock in order to bolster their health and lifespans.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Chicken Feed

Right Chicken Feed

When it comes to choosing chicken feed, many people may wonder whether it really matters if you give one of your chickens a feed that is slightly different than another brand. However, there are actually serious health and growth factors that chicken feed can influence for the better or worse. Some of the most notable drawbacks of feeding chickens wrong include:

  • Certain chickens may become sick which can create influence over the entire flock
  • Hens in your flock may stop laying eggs
  • In extreme instances, certain chickens may perish from the food
  • General digestive problems may result from giving them the wrong food
  • Problem behavior or issues including deformed eggs, feather picking, aggressive behavior, and more could emerge

Chicken Feed Vocabulary: Breaking Down the Terms

As you begin to look at different chicken feeds on the market, there are a number of terms that you may come across which you’ve never heard of before. Understanding these terms can help you better understand what the product is and has inside of it:

  • Mash Food: If you see chicken feed that states it is mash, this simply refers to unprocessed feed. The food included in this type is broken down extremely finely, with the particles being close to powder. Generally, this can be fed to chickens wet or dry.
  • Crumble Food: Crumbles are chicken feed pellets that have been reduced to a smaller size, typically to be fed to chicks.
  • Pellet Food: Chicken pellets are one of the most common forms of feed and are a pelletized form of feed that makes for easy disposal.
  • Fermented Food: This term refers to any type of chicken feed that has been combined with water, as well as allowed to ferment naturally over a given period of time.
  • Un-medicated Food: Perhaps the most confusing type of feed type, un-medicated chicken feed refers to any that has been processed with a coccidiostat.
  • Medicated Food: On the other hand, medicated food has actually been treated with a coccidiostat that helps members of flock defend against attacks by coccidian protozoa.

Basic Feed Requirements to Consider

Ensuring all members of your flock are receiving adequate nutrition in the feed they consumer is an important job for all chicken owners. Depending on a number of factors, the level of nutrients your chickens need will vary greatly. However, the basic requirements for chicken nutrition that feed should provide include:

Choosing Chicken Feed

  1. All chicken feeds should include protein to some degree, with this value changing depending on the age of the bird or the type of the bird.
  2. Chicken feeds should include a number of amino acids including lysine and methionine.
  3. Common vitamins such as A, D3, E, and B12 are ideal for chickens and certain trace mineral elements can also be included.
  4. Fibers and enzymes that help with the digestive process should be included.
  5. There may be additional additives, such as Omega 3, but it’s best to avoid chicken fees that are made up primarily of additives.

Questions to Ask When Choosing Chicken Feed

As you start to try and find a trusted bulk chicken feed brand with good reviews to fee your flock, there are four primary questions you need to consider when evaluating your options:

What is the purpose of your chickens?

The purpose for which you are raising your chickens will play a major role in the type of feed they need. For example, if your flock is mainly made up of hens and their purpose is for laying eggs, feed should be chosen based on the nutrients it provides that contribute towards healthy eggs. However, if your chickens are for meat, then focusing on nutrients that helps develop their fat, muscle, and bones might be better.

How old are your chickens?

The age of your chickens plays a major role in the feed they should have as well. Chicks need a different level of nutrition than fully grown chickens, along with a different type of food. Consider the age of each flock member as you start to purchase chicken feed.

What is the gender of your chickens?

Choosing the Right Chicken Feed

A Hen and Rooster will require different levels of nutrients, which means you need to take the gender of your chickens into account. By feeding the wrong type of feed to a certain gender of chickens, you can influence their growth and development in a negative manner that you may not have intended.

What type of chickens do you own?

The breed of a chicken can also plays a role in the type of feed that it requires. To develop in a healthy manner, certain types of chickens may require a different level of nutrients than others. Consider each type of chicken in your flock and research their nutritional guidance to learn what they should be fed specifically.

Ensure your chickens remain healthy today

A healthy flock makes for a happy owner. Whether the purpose of your chicken is for food, laying eggs, or even just having them around as a pet, ensuring you are giving them the right feed is important for their overall growth. Consider all of the factors of your farm before making a decision on which type of chicken feed is right for your flock.

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