Good nutrition is the main condition for the high productivity of laying hens and the rapid weight gain of broiler hens. Regardless of the purpose for which you raise birds, their feeding must be properly organized, varied and balanced. What to feed chickens – detailed information about this is presented in this publication.
The diet of chickens should contain a sufficient number of components important for health in strictly defined proportions:
- Proteins are the basis for building the cells of the bird’s body and for the formation of eggs. If you get bulk chicken feed, it must contain vegetable proteins – processed products of sunflower, soybeans, and legumes (meal, cake). The required amount of animal proteins can be provided by bone meal, earthworms, mollusks, waste from incubation, and meat and fish production.
- Fats are the most important component of the diet, providing a supply of vital energy for chickens. In laying hens, half of the fat is deposited under the skin, while the other is used in the formation of the egg. The main sources of fat are corn, sunflower oil, and oats.
- Carbohydrates are substances that are useful for the normal functioning of muscles and almost all internal organs. Chicken mixtures should include sucrose, fiber, and starch. Root vegetables provide most of these foods, and fiber comes from grains.
- A complex of vitamins, the main of which are A, B, and D. The main vitamin-containing supplements are fresh grass, baker’s yeast, fish oil, chopped needles, and silage. With a deficiency of vitamins, chickens often get sick and lose weight and egg production.
- Minerals – strengthen the skeleton and contribute to the formation of the shell. Contained in lime, ash, gravel, pulp meal, and crushed shells. It is desirable that such additives are always in abundance in separate feeders.
Variety of food for chickens
Organizing a high-quality and varied diet for such omnivorous birds as chickens is not so difficult. One of the main rules is to make the most of the waste that can always be found on any rural farmstead:
- Juicy food from the garden. Both adults and young individuals with appetite eat beet and carrot tops, cabbage and corn leaves, fruits (including carrion), chopped apple, plum, pear, and apricot waste;
- Potato peelings, as well as rotten, green, small, shriveled tubers unsuitable for human consumption;
- Meat and fish waste, including heads, tails, and giblets (after heat treatment). Crushed bones are excellent for increasing productivity;
- Milk and all processed products (whey, kefir, cottage cheese, skim);
- Cake and meal of sunflower, soy, and other crops;
- Dry bread, ground into crumbs.
Feed preparation rules
To maximize the preservation of vitamins and trace elements, you must follow the rules for processing feed. If you cook food in accordance with the recipe, it will be better absorbed and more likely to be eaten by pets.
- Boil the potatoes, drain all the water (after boiling, the poisonous substances from the sprouts and green skin remain in the liquid), then knead well and add bone meal.
- Potatoes, carrots, beets, radishes, etc. (all root crops) can also be given raw. Grate fresh pulp or chop in any other way, and add to the mash.
- Boiled meat and fish waste can be given immediately, pre-chopped, or prepared for future use. To do this, the protein mass is poured with whey and stored for up to two weeks in a room with a temperature not higher than +20 degrees.
It is better to give cereals in a crushed or flattened form (groats up to 2-3 mm). In winter, germinated cereals are more useful for birds, since they contain more vitamins. For germination, wheat, barley, millet or oats are soaked for 24 hours, poured into boxes with holes, allowed to drain, then placed in a dark room and kept at a temperature of +18-20 degrees for 4-5 days. Give to chickens after the appearance of white sprouts.