Happy Tuesday friends! In honor of National Nutrition Month today I am going to be talking about chicken nutrition! I have touched on this subject before but I want to elaborate more on complete nutrition. I still get so many questions about what I feed my chickens and why so let’s get down to the nitty-gritty!
Chicken Feed Vs. Chicken Scratch
When it comes to chicken food there are quite a lot of options. Chicken feed is the actual food you give them every day. Even if you free range your chickens you MUST have a chicken feed for them. They will not get all the nutrition they need just from free ranging. I do notice that when I free range my chickens they eat less of their feed. That is completely normal and fine because they are still getting the option of their feed. It’s very important to get the appropriate chicken feed for your chickens. What I mean by this is that you need to get the correct food according to their age and if they are laying eggs. For example, when you first get chicks, they need to be on a starter feed. I always use Manna Pro Medicated Started Feed but you can also use non-medicated. You will keep your chicks on this until they are ready to lay eggs (about 16 weeks).
Since all my chickens are adults and laying now, they are currently on Manna Pro’s Organic Layer pellets. It is extremely important that laying chickens eat a layer feed so they get the correct protein and calcium. If not, they could become egg bound and die. It does not have to be organic but make sure it’s a layer feed.
Unlike chicken feed, chicken scratch is a treat. It gets its name because you throw it on the ground and your chickens scratch at it. That’s an easy way to remember the difference! Chicken scratch is usually low in protein unless it has some seeds and/or mealworms. Speaking of, my chickens LOVE mealworms! This is how I get them to come into their coop or get them to corporate for pictures. I use Manna Pro’s Mealworm Munchies and put it into a mason jar.
Poultry Grit vs. Oyster Shell
Another important thing to have on hand is chicken grit. As I described in my video, grit acts as an insoluble fiber for chickens. Just like in humans, fiber helps with their digestion. In the wild, chickens consume tiny stones and gravel as they forage on the ground. This is why it’s especially important you give your chickens grit if you don’t free range them full time. My go-to grit has always been Manna Pro’s Poultry Grit because it also comes with probiotics. I put it in a separate container in their coop so they can consume it as needed.
Oyster shell is different than poultry grit because it serves as a good calcium source. As mentioned above, grit is insoluble. It stays in the gizzard and it’s used to grind food. Oyster shell dissolves in the gut. That my friends is the biggest difference between the two! Another big difference is all chicks and fully mature chickens need grit but not all need oyster shell. Only laying hens that need calcium for egg production need oyster shell.
Another great source of calcium is egg shells! I give step-by-step instructions in THIS blog post so make sure you check it out!
As mentioned above, I did a full blog post on what I give my chickens for treats. I also discuss at what age I give them what and a neat little graphic that shows safe vs. unsafe foods. I strongly recommend checking out that post since treats are an important part of chicken nutrition.
I hope you found todays blog post and IGTV video helpful! Make sure you also check out City Yolk video below for even more helpful information.
Author: Luisa Hammett, Peaches to Pearls, LLC, http://peachestopearls.com/
Post a Comment
We welcome your participation! Please note that while lively discussion and strong opinions are encouraged, Manna Pro reserves the right to delete comments that it deems inappropriate for any reason. Comments are moderated and publication times may vary.