Types of Chicken Feed To Feed Your Poultry Chicken
The type of chicken feed you use can have an impact on factors such as growth rate, egg laying, health, and appearance. When selecting the right feed for your birds, you should carefully consider their age and purpose. We’ll look at different types of chicken food and when they should be used in this article.
Feeding the chickens proper chicken feeds as they grow will help them grow healthy and strong, allowing them to achieve their goals of becoming food, laying eggs, or simply being a pet for the people who own them. This time, we’ll discuss the various types of chicken feeds available to help your beloved chickens grow healthy and into the type of chicken you want them to be.
Types of Chicken Feed To Feed Your Poultry Chicken
The age of your chickens will play a large part in what type of feed you need. There are three main types: chick starter, grower, and layer feeds.
1. Chick Starter
Chick starter, as the name implies, is fed to newly hatched chicks. This chicken feed contains a lot of protein, usually between 20% and 25%. This extra protein provides the chicks with the energy and building blocks they require to grow quickly and strongly. Chick starter are typically medicated to aid in the prevention of a parasite known as Coccidia.
This parasite can cause bloody diarrhea and can even kill chicks in some cases. Chickens’ immune systems eventually develop a natural resistance to Coccidia, but it’s critical to protect them while they’re still young.
Chick starter is typically used for the first 4 to 6 weeks before switching to grower feed. It is critical not to use chick starter for an extended period of time because the high protein levels can cause liver damage. This type of chicken feed is typically in the form of crumbles that resemble sand or dirt. The feed’s fine texture makes it easier for chicks to grasp and digest.
2. Layer Feed
After laying their first egg, egg-producing hens should be fed layer feed. This type of chicken feed is specially formulated with higher calcium levels for better and stronger eggs. It is possible to feed laying hens a general flock feed and still get usable eggs.
3. Grower Feed
The next step in chicken nutrition is grower feed. It contains less protein than chick starter (typically around 18%) but more protein than adult chicken feed.
This allows chicks to develop into pullets (adolescent chickens) while putting less strain on their livers. Grower feed is not medicated in the same way that chick starter is, so make sure you supplement any antibiotics or medications your pullets require.
This chicken feed is typically in pellet form, which is larger and denser than chick starter crumbles. Some chicks have difficulty transitioning to eating pellets. If this occurs, break the pellets into smaller pieces that are still larger than crumbles.
Allow your pullets to eat the smaller pieces for a few days before introducing full-sized pellets. Feeding a mix of chick starter and grower feed can also help your pullets get used to the new food.
Grower feed should be used until the hens lay their first eggs, which is usually around 20 weeks. However, the feeding stages of broiler birds differ, as we will see in section 5.
Mash is a finely ground form of chicken feed that looks almost like powder. All types of feed, from starter to grower to layer, are available in mash form. It is commonly used for chicks because it is easier to eat than crumbles.
However, some farmers will continue to feed grown chickens mash. Some chickens prefer mashed potatoes and will eat more of them if it is in this form. Mash is also a good way to provide a warm meal for your chickens during the winter.
Mash can be served dry, but most people prefer it mixed with water. It should have a soil-like consistency once mixed. Because of the high moisture content, any prepared mash that is not consumed immediately will go bad. Never store prepared mash, and clean up any that is left in your coop.
5. Broiler Feed
The feed stages we’ve discussed thus far do not always apply to broilers. This is due to the fact that broiler chickens are specifically bred to grow as large as possible as quickly as possible. They frequently have health issues as a result of their rapid growth, but they aren’t meant to live long in the first place. Most broiler chickens are processed for meat when they are 7 to 9 weeks old.
Most broiler chicken feed is extremely high in protein, typically around 25%. This allows them to grow quickly and gain a lot of muscle, resulting in high meat yields.
The rapid growth and high protein levels can strain the chicken’s heart, organs, and even legs. Many broiler chickens grow so quickly that they are unable to move freely.
However, the health of these birds is still important because you want them to live to a good butchering age and produce high-quality meat. Because it contains the same protein levels as chick starter, some farmers will start broiler chicks with general broiler feed. However, this is not a good idea because this feed will not be medicated to protect against chicken parasites.
Broiler chicks should still be given chick starter until they are about 4 weeks old. After that, they should be fed broiler feed. Though the protein levels are comparable, this feed contains additional vitamins and minerals that adult broilers require as they grow.
Pelleted feed is likely familiar if you’re familiar with other types of animal feeds, such as those for horses or rabbits. Pellets are small cylinders that have been baked, hardened, and ready to serve. They contain the necessary nutrients for that stage of your chicken’s life. Pellets are simple to feed and, more importantly, simple to store.
7. Flock Raiser
Flock raiser is a generalized feed that meets the most basic nutritional requirements. If you are not raising chickens for a specific purpose, you should use this type of chicken feed. When laying hens, broiler chickens, and show breeds reach maturity, they should all be fed specialized feed. In the following sections, we’ll look more closely at these types of feed.
Flock raiser is the feed to use if you’re raising a flock for company, pest control, natural mowing, or other non-specialized reasons. You can also use this feed if you have a mixed flock of roosters, ducks, or other birds, or if you have birds of different ages.
8. Fermented Feed
Fermenting chicken feed with any grains or commercially purchased feed is possible. It’s a method of preparing feed that increases its nutritional value while decreasing the amount you spend on chicken feed.
Because fermentation breaks down the bonds that hold the proteins and nutrients in the grain together, it becomes easier to digest. This also allows chickens to absorb more nutritional benefits per cup of feed, requiring you to purchase less feed overall.
Feed fermentation is a simple process. All you need is a large container with a lid, regular feed, and water. Fill half of the bucket with seed and half with dechlorinated water. A few inches of water should be present above your seeds. Close the lid and set it aside for 3 to 5 days.
Stir the mixture once a day and add water as needed to keep the seeds covered. Your feed is ready when you see bubbles in the water. While the feed is still wet, strain it and feed it to your chickens.
9. Chicken Scratch
Chicken scratch is not a type of chicken feed; rather, it is a supplemental treat that should be given in addition to regular feed. Scratch is typically composed of a variety of grains and seeds. Black oil sunflower seeds, milo, millet, oats, barley, and corn are examples.
Stores sell pre-mixed bags of scratch, though bags with more sunflower and milo seeds will be more expensive. To save money, you can also make your own scratch.
Because scratch is less nutritious than regular chicken feed, it should not account for more than 10% of your flock’s diet. That means that if you regularly feed your chickens a half cup of chicken feed, they should receive approximately 2 1/2 teaspoons of scratch. Scratch isn’t required for a chicken’s diet, but it can keep them happy.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Type of Bird that Feeds on Chick Mash?
Mash is a finely ground form of chicken feed that looks almost like powder. The type of Bird that Feeds on Chick Mash are Cockerels which are given to them from the beginning and then Growers mash which is given to the birds after some time.