Important factors when choosing feed for chickens should be its usefulness and nutritional value, but at the same time it should be easily digested.
It is necessary to feed enough chickens, in the feeder for chickens there must always be food. Do not give coarse, hard-to-digest food to chickens. For each age there is a special feed. The diet should be properly formulated.
It should include:
- Carbohydrates. Mostly in cereal feeds. The bird consumes carbohydrates when moving, and the rest are deposited in the form of fat.
- Protein. The most important component of chick growth. The chicken meat itself is 20% protein. To provide the birds with this trace element, in addition to grain, it is necessary to give boiled meat residues, lentils, and cake.
- Fat Chicken feed has plenty of fat. Separately, it is not necessary to give fats, it can lead to problems with digestion.
- Vitamins. Do not forget about vitamins. Without them, normal growth and development of chickens are impossible. An insufficient amount of vitamins can lead to avitaminosis. Vitamin deficiency disrupts the metabolism, and the bird becomes vulnerable to many diseases.
- Vitamin A is available in large quantities in carrots, herbs, fish, dairy products. If the chicks are in an enclosed area, it is necessary to include fresh grass (dandelion, quinoa) in the ration of approximately 30 grams per chicken.
- Vitamin B. It is found in yeast, germinated grain.
- Vitamin D. Vitamin derived from sunlight. It is very important for the prevention of rickets, and for the formation of eggshell. Bird can be fed fish oil (from 3 to 10 grams per day) and yeast irradiated in the sun.
- Vitamin E. Very important in the process of metabolism. Contained in legumes and wheat germ.
Healthy Diet and Chicken Feed Intake Rates
The diet is called the daily set of feed (calculated on 1 head in grams).
The daily diet should include: grains, protein foods + vitamins and minerals.
Chicks must always have access to water, and care must be taken to ensure that they do not get wet, otherwise chicks may get sick. Drinking bowl and trough should be located in a warm bright place.
Weekly chicks should be given boiled water of 30 degrees, then gradually reduce the temperature, by three weeks of age the temperature of the drink should be 18 degrees.
Vitamins and amino acids can be added to chickens in water, and antibiotics can be added to diseases.
The feed intake rates are clearly shown in Table 1.
As known, first chicken food is provided in an egg. Before hatching, it eats the remnants of yolk, so immediately to feed newborn babies does not have a special need. Let them dry, rest for a while.
The first feeding should occur no later than 12-16 hours after hatching. Following statistics, the survival and viability of chicks fed in the first 16 hours is significantly higher than the chickens who were not fed the first days at all.
The best way to feed chickens in the first week of life is every 2 hours, including night time. By the end of the week should be reduced feeding to 7-8 times a day. Make sure that the feeder is always full, rinse it with boiled water.
There are a lot of disagreements and disputes about the first feed. The fact is that for many years the chopped boiled yolk was considered the optimal feed after hatching. But recent discoveries have recognized him too fat for the tender stomachs of chicks. In view of this, it is now considered the best first feed is corn grits.
After the babies, you can give the yolk hard-boiled mixed with semolina (so as not to stick together), starter feed, boiled and finely chopped green nettle. On the third - the fourth day you can diversify the diet, making it wheat and barley cereals, boiled potatoes and carrots, chopped green onions.
Chickens need to drink kefir or give finely chopped cottage cheese, because calcium is necessary for chicks. Some poultry breeders mix Linex or Bifidumbacterin in the water to maintain intestinal microflora.
In the first week, be sure to check the chicks at chickens before bedtime. Those who have empty feed separately.
Weekly chicks are fed with a mix of corn, barley, wheat and oatmeal (or mixed feed for chickens) + grass, vegetables (potatoes and carrots) and dairy products. The number of feedings per day - at least 7 times. At the age of one week, the chicks should be watered with a weak solution of potassium permanganate 3 times a week to prevent infections.
Already grown up chicks can be added to the diet soaked bread (mixed in cereals), boiled fish. Do not forget to monitor the freshness of food in the feeders, always fill the chicks with as much feed as they eat at a time so that they do not trample it. Mixed feeds can already be slowly replaced with bran. The number of feedings of two-week-old chicks 6-7 times a day.
Monthly chicks can already be let out on the street, so that fresh greens are considered an integral part of their diet. At this age, youngsters can gradually give a coarse grain, and by one and a half months - whole.
We also continue to feed the birds with vegetables and vegetable waste, dairy products and cereals. You can give lean meat waste (boiled). Chickens should have a separate feeder with gravel, sand or crushed eggshell.
You should not give earthworms to chicks, even though they love them very much. From such food, chickens can become infected with worms and even die.
From three months old chickens are already being transferred to the food of adult chickens, but the young should be fed more densely and more often.
The main food continues to be grain, but the birds will not refuse from the leftovers from the table. These can be: bread crusts, meat, fish, etc.
If greenery does not grow in the pen, you need to give them fresh grass every day. Most often, birds make suspended feeding troughs so that greens are not trapped.
What is ovoscoping eggs and how is it done? We told about it in detail here.
The recipe for chicken mash can be found in our article.
The first five days of the life of future laying hens are fed the same way as all chickens. From the fifth day you can feed dry food. Before feeding oatmeal or barley flour, it is necessary to sift out grain films, as chickens do not digest them well. Be sure to attend feed containing proteins and vitamins (dairy products, herbs, yeast, carrots, pine and herbal flour).
Try to teach the bird to eat greens right away. This will help in the future to do without the additional costs of vitamins and supplements. After all, fresh greens - this is a real pantry of vitamins.
Calcium is of particular importance for egg breeds, it is necessary for the proper formation of the shell. Feed the bird with the same crushed eggshell, chalk, bone meal.
If the chickens are in an enclosed area, they should be given in food fish oil from 5 days old to 0.1-0.2 g per chicken. It is advisable to mix fish oil with crushed grain, so it will feed faster.
At one month of age, young chickens should weigh 220-270, males - 290g, at three months - 970-1000 and 1150, at five months of age - 1600-1700 and 1900g. Thus, weight should be controlled to pick the strongest individuals.
The approximate diet for egg breed chickens, g per head per day is presented in Table 2.
Broiler chickens have a high growth rate, a rather large size and unpretentious feeding. That is why most poultry farmers prefer broilers. In two months the birds reach 1.4–1.6 kg of weight.
They are usually not grown for more than three months, because later they grow worse, and feeding broilers is no longer so profitable.
Broiler chickens are usually given a little space. They do not have to move much, their main task is to gain weight.
After hatching, the ration of broilers is almost the same as the diet of laying chickens, except that broiler chickens need to be given more protein.
Compound feed should be introduced from the second day to 20 g. For the first two weeks, pre-start compound feed is better. It has all the necessary elements for the growth and development of broiler babies. Starting from 14 days, the starting feed will be suitable, and from the month the birds are transferred to the finishing feed. Be sure to read the composition of the feed before you buy, it should include only natural ingredients.
From day 5 it is necessary to introduce vitamins A, D2 and E into the feed. Taking vitamins will help to avoid many diseases, including rickets. From ten days old, add crushed carrots to the main feed in the amount of 5g per head per day. From two weeks you can replace a quarter of the grain with boiled potatoes, at this age they begin to slowly give fish and meat. Do not forget about dairy products.
Number of feedings per day:
- in the 1st week - up to 8 times,
- in the 2nd - 6 times,
- in the 3rd - 4 times,
- from 1 month - 2 times.
A couple of weeks before slaughter, all supplements and gravel should be excluded from the diet.
When broilers are fattening, it should be taken into account that the bird grows faster the first month, if you feed dry foods rich in protein. Monthly chicken should weigh about 600-700 g. In the second half of fattening, you can give more vegetables and greens, and reduce the amount of protein feed. By the age of two months, the broiler should weigh from 2 kg. To control the weight of birds, it is necessary to carry out weekly weighing.