Chicken feeding is more than simply putting out some grains for your pullets. If you would like to keep hens that provide you with high quality eggs on a consistent basis you must recognize a few fundamentals about chicken feeding. When chickens first start producing eggs, through the early laying phase, they are still growing and maturing. All through this phase they require a greater quantity of protein. As the quantity of eggs begins to diminish their protein needs also fall.
Commercial growers recognize that protein is expensive so they keep an eye on protein amounts diligently when feeding chickens. They start by giving 18% protein for the first 4 months of their egg producing cycle and then lessen it to about 16% at about 4 months. Protein is cut to 15% when the chickens fall to about 65% egg laying production from their peak.
Most backyard chicken farmers intend to keep everything as basic as they can when feeding chickens and for that reason supply their laying hens the same feed during the complete laying cycle. This is normally accomplished with an all-mash diet that offers about 16% to 17% protein.
Mash is prepared from finely crushed grains and can be formulated in two ways. It can either be mixed to provide 100% of the pullet’s day by day nutrient requirements or fed as a supplement to other grains. Feeding poultry a large amount of grains just ahead of roost time can keep them warmer and more comfortable through the nighttime.
Grit normally is offered in the manner of small-sized stones or granite and must always be fed to birds consuming grains. Grit helps grind the grains and improving digestion. Birds will consume all sorts of things, including feathers, and grit must always be available to help hens assimilate these different materials, even when being fed all-mash meals.
Grains, like corn and oats, will cause birds to put on extra fat which will cause egg laying to decline, so it is a good idea not to give grains in extreme amounts. Moreover, whole grains, also given the name scratch feeds, are normally lower in protein, having about 10%, so the mash needs to include as much as 20% up to 40% protein, but this depends on the amount of grains that are provided. A diet of mash and grains will provide total protein of about 16%.
To reduce the feed expense kitchen table leftovers and garden surplus can be added to a hen’s diet. These sorts of food can be given as a replacement for a portion of the grains, but should be fed in small amounts as they will lessen the protein quantities in the overall total diet. Depending on the type of table leftovers offered, they can be the cause of bad tasting eggs. Providing vegetable peelings or skins and green tops is suitable, but offering onions, fruit peelings or rind, and other strong-flavored foods are not.
Calcium is an exceptionally vital requirement in a pullet’s diet because it is required to form sturdy egg shells. Providing chickens all-mash meals is generally suitable because all-mash diets typically include approximately 3% or more calcium. If egg shell quality ever seems to become reduced extra calcium should be added to their meals. Calcium is normally offered in the form of oyster shells.
Fresh water is another fundamental item that should be on hand always. Egg numbers will suffer if chickens are not given water for even a short period of time. Making certain the water is sanitary by changing it on a daily basis is also vital because polluted water can discourage birds from consuming as much as they need. Unclean water can also cause the spread of disease. To maintain top egg production chickens must be provided a suitable diet and sufficient amounts of clean water.
Joshua has successfully raised chickens for over two decades and is an expert in getting maximum egg and meat production from his poultry. He has a web site where you can read more with regard to chicken feeding, building a high quality chicken ark, and the importance of feeding chickens a good diet.