Feeding your chickens
Feeding your chicken a complete and balanced diet is essential if they are to stay healthy and lay lots of lovely eggs. Chickens will eat almost anything so to prevent deficiencies and health problems, a wide range of foods should be offered. A good quality poultry pellet should be the mainstay of their diet and provided in a commercial dispenser to help keep the pellet dry and rodents out.
Grain (such as wheat and corn) can also be scattered within their environment to augment their diet. Of course, water must always be readily available. In winter, ensure that iced waterers are cleared each morning to allow access. In addition to a good quality poultry pellet, a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables should also be given daily.
Fresh fruit and vegetables
The following list gives examples of raw fruits and vegetables that are great to feed chickens:
- bok choy
- vegetable peels
- strawberries, blueberries and raspberries
- fruit peel.
Any vegetable and fruit scrap is generally okay for your chicken to eat but it is important to ensure scraps do not contain anything that is high in fat or salt as it can affect their digestive system greatly.
Food and food scraps that are NOT okay to feed chickens are:
- citrus fruits
- lawn mower clippings (as they become mouldy and can make chickens very sick)
Other food Ok to feed
In addition to the above listed foods, table foods such as wholemeal rice, rolled oats, cooked pasta, beans, bread and legumes can be offered as well.
For birds that are laying large numbers of eggs, an easy and high calcium supplement is dried egg shell ground to a powder and added to their normal feed. Layer pellets are supplemented with calcium as well. Soft or thin shelled eggs may indicate calcium problems in your birds.
Chickens are extremely sociable animals and must be kept in numbers of two or greater. For this reason, feeding chickens is a group exercise. Monitor the chickens to ensure dominant birds are not excluding weaker or younger birds which may need to be fed separately.
If you notice any changes in your birds feeding behaviour or appetite please bring them in for a physical examination by one of our veterinarians.