Chickens are one of the most routinely groomed poultry birds. Unlike today, they roamed around wherever they wanted to and mostly consumed plants and bugs for sustenance. The lucky few could access a compost of worms and refuse or enjoy the occasional kitchen scrap. Times have changed and so have feed for chickens. Humans raise chicken for their eggs, feathers and meat. These birds need different nutrition now than what they did centuries ago. Various manufacturers offer poultry and chicken feed with varying levels of minerals, vitamins and other nutrients. Read on to know about the different types of feed for chickens and poultry feed.
Chick starter consists of the maximum amount of proteins when compared to other feed varieties. Excessive protein helps the chickens to be healthy and grow fast. The feed is available in the form of crumbles so that the birds can swallow them easily. This feed is apt for newly hatched chicks and is continued till they turn 4 to 6 weeks old.
Grower feed comprises a lower amount of protein than the starter and is perfect for birds aged between 6 weeks until they begin to lay eggs. It may come in pellets or crumble varieties. Some people like to give their birds crumbles because they can be fermented or served like porridge by mixing with water. Others prefer to feed pellets as they consider that the birds do not waste pellets.
The time of reproduction is crucial for any living being, and chickens are not different. During this time, they should have layer feed to support their bodies during egg production. The meal is rich in calcium, which is good for the eggs. But, roosters that will never lay, younger birds that are not laying and matured birds who have stopped laying eggs should not be served this feed because calcium harms their kidneys and liver.
Game Bird Feed
Game bird feed makes birds’ feathers shinier than other birds and their bodies more weighty. Sometimes roosters and elderly birds that need to put on weight get this feed. It is also dearer than other types of feed.
If a flock has birds of mixed purposes and ages, the flock raiser is just the thing to feed to them. Like grower feed, it has adequate protein for birds to grow and has no calcium that can harm the internal body parts of the bird. If the flock has layers, then those chickens should be given feed rich in calcium.
When farm owners want their chickens to grow very fast, they serve the birds broiler feed, which has a very high protein content. It is usually fed to chickens that are eight weeks old and are ready to be killed for meat and feathers. These birds do not get to feed on anything healthy as they live for a short period.
Scratch was fed to birds when there were no pellets. It is a mixture of various grains and consists of different types of nutritional elements. However, it should not be the prime source of feed for a chicken.
Cracked corn is sustainable for the birds and affordable for the farm owners. Though it has low nutrients, it is high in proteins and makes for a celebratory treat for the chickens. It is a favorite during cold winter months when the availability of feed may become a problem in some areas. Additionally, empty calories keep the birds warm during cold nights.
So, whether the birds are being raised for laying eggs or meat, farm owners should make sure that they are healthy and consume the correct chicken feed at the right age. They may have to change brands till they understand which brand is the most suitable for the birds. But, that is not a problem as long as the birds respond well.