As you know by now, chickens are pretty much omnivores. They will eat or at least try to eat anything that they can get their beak on. However, letting them eat whatever they can get their beaks on might not the best idea if you want them to remain healthy.
Instead of doing that, you need to know what kinds of feed do chickens eat. By having a proper idea regarding that, you would be able to make them eat the right type of feed that will contain balanced nutrition. As a result, both their immune system and the health will see a boost.
You will also see an increase in egg production if you keep feeding them the right feed. That being said, let us have a look at the different types of feed that are available for chicken feed.
Types of Chicken Feed
You probably know by now that there are different types of feed available. And by having a brief idea about each of them, it will be easier for you to select the right one for your birds. In this segment, you will exactly get to know about them. So, let us get started, shall we?
One of the protein-dense varieties of the feed is the starter feed. As the name states, the feed is for baby chicks. This one is designed to offer the right dietary requirement for the chicks. Usually, the chicks will be able to live comfortably on this diet for the first six weeks. So, you would be good for about a month or so.
As we have mentioned, the feed is full of protein. The level of protein is so high that if you keep feeding the chicks after the six-week age, they will suffer from liver damage. For that reason, you need to be extra careful about this matter. Only choose this feed for the starter chicks.
On that note, there is another feed that is known as started/grower feed. This is essential for chicks that are from 1 to 20 weeks old. So, when you are shopping for these, always read the label and pay close attention to the age group the feed is for.
In simple words, the grower feed is for teenage chicks. This feed contains the right dietary requirements for the chicks that are from 6 to 20 weeks old. However, these are not ideal for the chooks that are younger than that. It does not have the right amount of protein for that age group.
Generally, this feed contains a protein content that is from 16 to 18 percent. In comparison, the starter feed will contain about 20 to 24 percent of protein. This decrease in protein content is what makes it ideal for the teenage chooks and less ideal for the baby chicks.
On that note, this feed contains considerably less amount calcium. Basically, it will help to support the continuing growth of the teenage chooks without bombarding them will too much protein, unnecessary vitamins, and minerals. However, once the girls start to lay eggs, you need to move only other types of feed.
The reason for it not being ideal for the laying hens is the reduced amount of calcium, which is basically a necessity of the chickens that are 20 weeks old or have started to lay eggs.
When the chooks have passed their teenage period, the girls are going to start laying eggs. And when they start laying eggs or are 20 weeks old, you need to switch to layer feed. This one has the right balance of calcium, protein, and other vitamins. It also contains a generous amount of minerals.
That right balance of minerals and vitamins will encourage the chickens to lay top-notch eggs. In the case of protein, this one also has about 16 to 18 percent. And thanks to being calcium-rich, it can ensure that the eggshells are extra crisp and clean.
On that note, you should feed the chooks that are younger than 20 weeks old this feed. It will simply not meet the dietary requirement of that age. These are strictly for the egg-laying hens and the ones that have passed the 20 weeks mark.
If you are new to this type of feed, it is basically an unprocessed and loose version of the chicken feed. The texture will be similar to potting soil. However, there are different varieties of mash, and each of them will have a different type of texture. Only the finest quality ones will have the potting soil texture.
Nevertheless, it opted for the baby chicks as these are easy to digest. However, it is not an uncommon thing to feed the fully mature chickens this feed. Many of the bird keepers will mix mash with hot water to make a porridge-like food for the flock. And usually, the chooks are going to love this texture.
However, if you mix water with mash, they will tend not to last for a long time, which is something you should consider. So, when you are determining the quantity of the feed, you need to consider the number of birds on the flock and prepare the feed accordingly.
You might have already heard about the feed called pellets. Well, crumble is like the middle ground between the mash and the pellet. It is basically coarse of different types of mash but not as compact as the pellet. This has a reminisce of the oatmeal in terms of texture.
There is one variety that has a semi-loose texture, which is more manageable. Most of the chickens will love that texture. This can act as a bridge to fill up the gap between the mash and pellets for the flock. However, many of the keepers claimed that girls prefer the crumbly to the semi-loose one.
Additionally, the feed is so balanced that it does not hold the ability to make a significant difference in the heath of the flock.
The pellets are probably the most common type of chicken feed that is available in the market. It is essentially compact cylinders of feed that contains a lot of nutritional values. One of the things that make this one stand out the most is that they can hold their shape for a long time. So, you will be able to store them easily.
One of the exceptions we have in this list of feeds is the chicken scratch. This is not a type of feed. Instead, it is basically a treat for the flock. This will usually contain different types of grains and cracked corns. And this combination is what most of the chooks are going to love.
However, it will not be that ideal for their health. It can make them gain too much weight and make them inactive. For that reason, do not use this as a feed. Instead, use it as a treat to reward the chooks for being good throughout the week.
Hopefully, after going through the entire article, you now have a proper idea of what kinds of feed do chickens eat. And we hope that the information we provided helped you make the right choice for the chooks you have.