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What should I feed my hens?

Written by Outpost Buildings on October 19th, 2016.      0 comments

What do chooks eat?

Kitchen and vegetable garden scraps can be given to chickens everyday, ideally as a supplement to good quality poultry pellets. Weeds also have high nutritional value, but avoid giving them weed types that are unfamiliar to you or that may have had pesticide added. Potato skins are poisonous to hens so don’t feed them raw potato or potato peels.

Chickens are not vegetarians. They love eating meat. Chooks will forage for insects, slugs and worms and they will strip the meat off bones, catch mice and eat dinner meat leftovers to get their protein.

Pellets are an efficient, cost effective food source which are easy for birds to pick up and swallow. When buying pellets remember that cheaper feed with lower levels of crude protein will not give your hens what they need to be top producers. Commercial poultry feed has a shelf life of around 12 weeks, so keep it fresh. Try not to use different feed brands, or you could upset their laying routine.

 

chicken feed pellets

Why use automatic feeders with chooks?

 
Chooks are wasteful and messy feeders so buying a decent suspension hen feeder (hung at right height like a mini-food bar) or a step-on feeder is a worthwhile investment. Using open dishes and flat trays to feed out can waste feed as chooks love to flick and scratch feed everywhere. Automatic poultry feeders provide good value by giving your birds access to feed all day and preventing mice and sparrows from helping themselves and soiling the contents. They also prevent mould associated with leaving pellets on the ground in damp conditions. Outpost step-on feeders come in two sizes - containing either 5kg or 12 kg of feed - so buy one suitable for your size and number of chooks.
feed-o-matic-hen-feeder
Click here to see our range of Hen Feeders & Accessories

Why give chooks grit and treats?

 
Treats such as Outpost Poultry Peckers are a boredom buster which provide nutritional and digestive support. This carbo snack contains vegetables and grains plus chia, grit, garlic and herbs and should be fed out in the late afternoon when you go to have some time-out with your chooks.
 
Oyster Shell Grit benefits the chook diet by providing the correct levels of soluble calcium to meet a laying hen’s needs. Providing some fine poultry shell grit is a good idea, as the grit also aids with digestion. If your hens lay eggs with soft shells oyster shell grit will help them to produce harder shells.
 
poultry-pecker
Click here to see our range of Hen Feeders & Accessories

How much do chooks eat?

On average a laying hen eats 120 to 140 grams a day. Chickens eat when hungry and are not prone to gorging like some animals.
 

How much do chooks drink?

Chooks drink twice as much as they eat by weight. So if your laying hen eats 120g of feed a day she will drink approximately 240mls of water. A laying hen drinks twice as much as a non-laying hen. Use a  purpose made drinker like the Outpost Water Font keeps water fresh and clean.
 
hen-pellet-feeder

Top ten tips for good health and premium egg production:

1. Feed the best quality you can buy
2. Feed out the correct feed to the correct age
3. Feed out little and often
4. Feed efficiently 
5. Limit the kitchen scraps 
6. Treat your birds with greens
7. Supplement with grit
8. Remember, fresh is best
9. Fresh, clean water daily
10. Same routine, same feed.
 
 

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