Discover the Best Chicken Feed for Optimal Nutrition
If you’re thinking about adding some feathery friends to your family or you’ve recently put a chicken coop in your backyard, one of the most crucial tasks to check off your list is to find the best chicken feed.
Choosing the right food for your hens is hugely beneficial not just for their general health and well-being but also for optimum egg laying.
In this informative guide, we’ll outline some simple ways to help you choose the best chicken feed for your flock, highlighting popular brands and sharing tips to find top options for your hens.
We’ll also explore why it’s important to buy high-quality nutritional food for chickens and provide advice for owners looking for the best chicken feed for laying hens.
Choosing the Best Chicken Feed
If you’re not an experienced chicken owner, you may be wondering where to start when it comes to buying chicken feed. There is a huge range of products available, and many claim to be the best on the market.
If you’re new to the world of raising hens, how do you decide which chicken feed to give to your flock? To help you narrow down your options and nourish your hens, we’ve put together a list of questions to answer before you buy:
What is the main purpose of keeping chickens?There are many reasons why people decide to keep chickens, including collecting fresh eggs, having chickens as pets, breeding chickens, and keeping chickens for meat (these chickens are known as broiler chickens). If you have laying hens, it’s wise to shop for the best chicken feed for egg production. Healthy hens usually lay up to 250 eggs per year (source). For ornamental hens, it’s beneficial to focus on products that encourage the full development of specific breed traits and features.
How old are the chickens? The age of the chickens will impact which kind of products you buy, as chicks need extra proteins in their diet. Laying hens require a high-calcium diet.
What breed are the hens? Different breeds may have different nutritional needs. It’s best to seek advice to make sure you choose the best chicken feed for your hens. You can contact your veterinarian or a local poultry association for advice. If you’re researching online, always use reputable, reliable websites.
Top Brands for Chicken Feed
When you shop for chicken feed, you usually have a choice between branded products and own-brand mixes, which may be sold by supermarkets or pet stores.
Branded chicken feed may be more expensive than other options and homemade chicken feed mixes, but there may be a difference in the quality and blend of ingredients.
It’s always useful to read the nutritional information and compare products to identify the best brand of chicken feed for your hens.
Remember to consider your requirements in terms of the breed and age of the chicken and to factor in whether or not you have laying hens.
The best chicken feed brands include:
- Scratch and Peck
- Manna Pro
- Hiland Naturals
- Prairie’s Choice
Some brands cater to specific customers, but most offer a range of products, which cover layers as well as hens that are kept for different reasons and younger and older chickens.
It’s beneficial to explore product ranges, read verified reviews, and learn more about brands before you purchase chicken feed. You can also consult your veterinarian for advice.
This is particularly useful if you have hens that have specific nutritional requirements, or you’re looking for the best brand of chicken feed for laying hens.
Types of Chicken Feed
There are lots of different types of chicken feed, including:
- Shell grit
- Chicken scratch
The Importance of High-Quality Chicken Feed
Choosing high-quality chicken feed is important for promoting optimum hen health. Just as humans plan menus and cook nutritious feasts and snacks to ensure they get the nutrients they need, it’s beneficial to offer your hens a menu that caters to their dietary requirements and actively boosts their health.
Here are some key reasons why nutrition is so important when raising hens:
Energy - The main reasons humans and animals eat are to fuel the body and gain access to vital nutrients. Choosing the right food and ensuring that chickens have a steady supply of food are essential for maintaining energy levels. Hens need fuel to function, especially if they are laying eggs. If they don’t get enough food or their diet is poor, they’re likely to be less energetic, and they may be lethargic and sluggish.
Physical health - High-quality chicken feed is packed with vitamins and minerals, designed to support optimum health and reduce the risk of illness. The right combination of nutrients at the right levels helps maintain everything from healthy, glossy feathers and strong bones to efficient breathing, digestion, and reproduction. Good nutrition can also boost egg production.
Behavior - Have you ever noticed that you get irritable when you’re hungry (known as being ‘hangry’) or that you feel like you’ve got a spring in your step when you’ve been following a healthy eating plan? Just as the foods you eat and your eating habits can impact your mood, your hens’ diet can also affect their behavior. High-quality food boosts well-being as well as physical health.
Egg production and chick health - Poor nutrition can affect egg production and laying as well as chick health. Providing your hens with good-quality feed and a balanced diet will help boost laying and maximize the chances of hens having healthy offspring.
Best Chicken Feed for Egg Production: How to Maximize Laying with the Right Feed
One of the most important factors to consider when buying chicken feed is whether or not you have laying hens. If you keep chickens for egg production, it’s essential to look for the best chicken feed for laying eggs.
To help you decide which is the best layer chicken feed, it’s beneficial to understand why nutrition is so important for laying hens.
Choosing the best chicken feed for laying hens will increase your chances of harvesting bountiful supplies of fresh eggs as well as enhancing the quality of the eggs and keeping your hens healthy.
What Laying Hens Need
If you’re buying or rescuing laying hens, understanding the importance of calcium is key to providing a nutritious diet for your flock. Laying eggs leads to significant calcium loss.
This means that if you have layers in your brood, you’ll need to top up their calcium levels by adjusting their diet. Calcium-rich feeds reduce the risk of deficiencies.
If the eggs have a very thin shell, or they are softer than usual, this may be a sign that your hens aren’t getting enough calcium. Layer feed typically contains around 16% protein and also boasts vitamins and minerals, including added calcium.
High calcium levels help to support egg production. It is important to avoid giving layer food to roosters, older hens that are not laying eggs, and younger chicks, as a high-calcium diet can damage the kidneys and liver.
Additional Ways to Maximize Laying
As well as giving your flock the best chicken feed for laying hens, there are other steps you can take to maximize laying. These include:
Provide a varied diet: Laying hens can eat a wide range of foods. Providing a varied diet boosts nutrition. Add the occasional extra to your chicken feed to support healthy egg production. Examples include mealworms, fruit, and vegetables.
Clean nesting boxes regularly: Laying hens should have a clean, comfortable environment in which to nest. Clean nesting boxes regularly and add cozy bedding using wood shavings, straw, or hay.
Offer access to open spaces or an outdoor run: Healthy, happy hens are likely to produce more eggs. Offering access to open spaces or an outdoor run is beneficial for health and well-being.
Monitor laying habits: It’s helpful to monitor your hens’ laying habits so that you spot any problems as quickly as possible.
The Benefits of Nutritious Chicken Feed
When we talk about human health and nutrition, you often hear sayings like ‘You are what you eat’ or ‘You get out what you put in.’ The same can be said for chickens.
The better the quality of chicken feed, the healthier your hens will be. If you’ve already started looking at food options for chickens, you might have come across a diverse range of products.
You may also be weighing up the pros and cons of buying versus making food or trying to decide whether to pay for premium, branded products or not. Before you decide, it’s helpful to know the benefits of nutritious chicken feed.
The most important reasons to choose nutritious chicken feed and spend some time researching the best chicken feeds include:
Lowering the risk of health issues - For most owners, the number one reason to buy nutritious chicken feed is to lower the risk of health issues. Nutrition is all about nourishing the chicken’s body and ensuring it gets the vitamins and minerals it needs to function as well as possible. If your hens don’t have a nutritious diet, they may be more prone to getting sick. It’s also worth thinking about the quality of chicken feed. High-quality, organic feeds don’t contain some of the additives and chemicals that may be present in lower-quality, less expensive products.
Providing essential nutrients - Nutritious chicken feed contains more essential nutrients and ingredients proven to boost health than standard foods that meet minimum requirements. Some foods contain more Omega 3 than others, for example.
Taste - This is a bit tricky for us humans to judge unless you’ve embraced your inner hen and sampled the produce, but there’s a good chance that nutritious food tastes better and provides more enjoyable mealtimes for our feathery friends.
Targeted benefits - Choosing the best chicken feed enables owners to access targeted benefits for their hens. If you keep chickens, you want the best for them. Taking the time to compare products and look for foods and formulas that will suit your hens will ensure that they have the best diet possible.
What Else Do Chickens Need?
Choosing the best chicken feed for your flock is important, but you can also offer additional benefits by adding extras to their diet, including:
- A supply of fresh, clean water
- Snacks, including mixed grains or mixes that contain insects or worms
- Oyster shell
Finding the Perfect Chicken Feed for Your Flock
Finding the best chicken feed for your flock will keep your hens happy and healthy. You might feel overwhelmed if you’ve been researching food products, looking at different brands, or perusing products in a pet or agricultural store.
To make life easier, here are some top tips to make it quick and simple to find the perfect feed for your feathered family members:
Assess your needs: The first thing to do is think about what kind of food you need. Think about the age of the hens and why you’re keeping them. If you have chicks, for example, you’ll need to buy food that is specially formulated for young chickens and designed to help them grow and develop. If you’re looking for the best chicken feed for egg layers, check the calcium content and choose products that are designed for laying hens.
Seek advice: If you’re not sure which feed is best for your chickens or you’d like advice or recommendations to help you decide what to buy, seek help. Ask people you know who keep chickens, contact your veterinarian, or speak to members of poultry organizations or animal charities.
Compare products: There’s a vast range of chicken feeds out there. It’s great to have a choice, but it can be confusing. Compare products by analyzing ingredients and reading the nutritional information and benefits, and check verified reviews.
Buying the best chicken feed is a surefire way to boost the health and well-being of your flock. There’s a vast array of products available, but there are ways to make it easier to find the best chicken feed for your hens.
Consider their age, breed, and egg-laying status, research and compare products, and read up on the nutritional benefits. For egg-laying hens, for example, high-calcium content is essential.
- Personalize your search for the best chicken feed to cater to the needs of your hens for optimum nutrition.
- You’ll need to buy food specifically designed for egg production if you have laying hens.
- Buying high-quality chicken feed is likely to enhance nutrition.
- Branded products may be more expensive, but they are often better quality.