What do Chickens Eat from Chicks to Laying Hens
5 lb Bag of Chicken Feed
What feeds do chickens need?
If you are raising chicken for the purpose of egg production, you should ensure that you give them the proper chicken feed from the time the chicks are hatched up until they become adult chickens. Proper feeding will ensure that the chicken will attain optimal growth, gain weight and above all, you will witness increased egg production. The good thing is that, you can buy pre-formulated chicken feed rations from feed stores that will ensure that your chicks will get the right amount of nutrients. Chickens do have different nutrients needs at different stages of their lives, just like humans, and you should be aware of the type of food you should give them at each and every stage.
Like any other baby animals, baby chicks are fragile and they usually need a lot of care and attention. The first week of life is the most crucial and proper feeding is needed to ensure that the chicks will be healthy. The best feed for newly hatched chicks is the chick mash or chick starter that has a protein level of 20-22%. The chicks should feed on it until they are 6 weeks old. This food provides a balanced diet as well as prevents the chicks from diseases. Every baby chick will consume approximately one lb of chick starter per week. Water is also extremely important to baby chicks. It helps to regulate the body temperature and also helps to maintain the metabolism, respiration and digestion systems. Before and after handling the baby chicks, it is important that you wash your hands with soap and water. Also, do not feed the baby chicks together with adult chicks.
After the chicks get to 6 weeks, they can start feeding on pullet grower that contains 14-16% protein and they should feed on this food up until they are 20 weeks old. After that, it is time to switch the food from pullet grower to layer feed. The layer feed should contain a protein level of 15-18%. The amount of food that your chicken will feed on will depend on two things which are age and the method of feeding. You can choose to either put as much food on the feeders to make it available for the chicken all day or you can feed your chickens at certain times of the day i.e. on the morning and in the evening.
The chicken will need to have the access of vegetables and fresh pasture besides the layer feed. These natural feeds will not only improve the health and the well being of the chicken, but will also reduce the chicken feeding costs.
It is important that you keep the feeding area clean to prevent the chicken from diseases as well as the rodents away. It is much cheaper to take the preventive measures than trying to eradicate sicknesses or harmful pests that may be attracted by dirty conditions. Clean the watering troughs everyday and make sure that you replace the dirty water with fresh and clean water. Being informed on the proper nutrition that should be given to the chicken from the time they hatch to the time they start laying eggs will help you to witness a great success in poultry rearing.
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