Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chicken Eats!

Anytime you plan to raise an animal of any kind, it's always a good idea to know what you need to feed them! I knew I was going to start my chicks on a complete chick starter/grower (I used medicated, but there are non-medicated feeds as well). Once they are close to laying age, I plan to switch to a 18% layer crumble (non-medicated, of course).

As my ladies began to grow, I wondered what other kinds of things I could feed them. The complete feeds must get boring, right?! I started talking to customers that have chickens and researching online. I wanted to give them some variety and forage to avoid boredom which can lead to problems like pecking & cannibalism in a flock.

It turns out, chickens will eat just about anything! Here's a list of some of the things we've given them (in no particular order)...And, let me tell you, they are happy hens when I come out in the morning with their treats! They gather at one end of the coop waiting for me to get there.

Alfalfa Hay
Tomatoes (I heard from one producer that tomatoes can affect egg quality if fed too often)
Lettuce/Greens (any kind)
Black Oil Sunflower
Leftover cooked Garlic & Herb Rice (they gobbled that up like crazy!)

I've also learned that they fancy oatmeal, yogurt, cottage cheese, cooked eggs and many other things we have yet to try! I've also been working on creating my own version of Purina's Flock Block. My first recipe worked, but it needed a bit more binding agent so that it would stay together better after baking. Once I get it perfected, I'll share the recipe with you folks.

There are a few things you should avoid feeding, including: dry/undercooked beans, raw/green potato peels, candy, chocolate, sugar, raw eggs, avocado skin & pit, citrus, and foods high in salt. The beans, potatoes, avocado & high-levels of salt can be toxic. Feeding raw eggs could encourage them to eat the eggs they lay before you have a chance to collect them and, well, candy/chocolate/sugar aren't necessarily good for us or other animals, so let's assume we don't want our chickens getting it either!

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