The chicken feeding mistakes both newbies and old hands make.
The following are the easily avoidable mistakes keepers make when feeding their backyard flock.
Chickens should be fed a balanced pelleted feed to provide all the basic nutrition they need.
Chicken feeding is an easy job if you follow a few simple rules:
- Feed a balanced diet.
- Limit treats and scraps.
- Plenty of clean fresh cool water.
Many people think keeping chicken is the simplest task one can do in his/her farmyard.
Below: A chicken eating.
The reasons why many chicken feeding activities fail or become hard is because the backyard owners don't take time to understand what are the most essential things to know when one wants to keep chickens.
Here are the most common chicken feeding mistakes which should be avoided whenever one needs to keep chickens:
1. The human food remains or scraps:
Most of the food consumed at home are also the same food chickens love to eat. For instance, when one cleans the cooking items can give the chickens the kitchen scraps, These are the food remains at the bottom of the cooking items or the leftovers after a meal.
2. Unbalanced feeding or one type of feed:
In the many years I have had chickens I know there is one truth - they like lots of different types of feed.
Variety in the diet and lifestyle is key to happy chickens.
Chickens like things like millet, maize, and other grains and these can supplement the chicken feed bought from the farm stores.
Bread often feed as scraps to poultry but not recommended for your chickens.
Household scraps best on the compost heap or in the bin. Other than waste greens and vegetables best avoid giving your Pekins your kitchen scraps. Maybe OK for larger poultry but not recommended for small bantams.
Below: Free range with balanced and varied feed is best for chickens.
3. Inadequate water:
Fresh clean water from 2 sources.
When keeping any animal around your backyard, water is a very important thing to ensure you to your chickens adequately. Chicken needs a lot of clean water around them to be healthy.
This is because water helps the Chickens and other birds around your compound to feed well. Lack of adequate water makes the chickens be unable to eat well since the chicken food might be stuck at the throat and therefore unable to swallow the food they are eating.
Below: Clean water from the right equipment is a must.
Many poultry farmers ignore this issue with water and lead to even to the death of their birds. Water deprivation in birds occurs due to the following number of reasons and therefore should be well taken care of. The reasons include:
During hot weather, the chicken in your backyard need a lot of clean fresh water.
So in case, there is a weather change which leads to increased temperatures, ensure you increase the amount of water you offer to the chickens and also ensure the water is not too warm because the chickens won't drink it.
This can be solved by ensuring the water is kept in shade so that there will be no much warming. Also, ensure during winter the water that freezes is supplied with heating gadget so that the chicken won't have water deprivation. Therefore ensure the water you provide to your chicken is clean and you too can drink that water.
In hot weather chickens eat less feed and may need a little electrolytes adding to the water.Also do not use Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) in hot weather as inhibits calcium absorption which can lead to egg shell problems.
4. Inappropriate or wrong feed:
Or perhaps I should say cheap feed. I often see chicken keepers adding too much whole wheat or barley to chicken feed as it is cheap.
Below: Chickens need a balanced diet and that includes greens.
When it comes to chicken feeding is a very common error that most of the bird keeping farmers make. This can interfere with the growth and productivity of the chickens. For instance, the type of feed meant for the Silkies baby chicks that are meant for breeding purpose or egg production is different from the feed that should be offered to the young chicks meant for meat.
Therefore it is important to ensure the right rationing to different types of chickens you keep. Hence Furnishing is the best ration when you buy a readily mixed chicken feeds from the farm store because the crucial information regarding rationing is well indicated on the bag of the feed.
Hen Feed Brands - here are many reputable brands of hen feed commercially available. Fancy Feed provides you with a range of hen feed options, including chick crumb, grower pellets, and mash for grower hens and layers. The specially formulated feed meets all of your hens' nutritional needs, including keeping bones and feathers healthy and digestion easy.
Nature's Grub provides a natural solution to your chicken feed needs with a line of insect-enhanced feeds such as its chicken coop mix for added protein. Farmgate and Garvo offer lines of commercial hen food from chick ages to mature hens.
5. Old or stale feed:
When the ration is done, the chicken feed begins to lose the important nutrients due to things like oxidation and other chemical processes.
Different chicken feeds contain different ingredients which respond differently when exposed to the environment. This chemical process makes the food to lose the original nutrients from the feed. Therefore it is important to ensure the feed you give to the chicken has not stayed for so long in the farm store.
Commonly any chicken feed is supposed to be fed to the chicken for about four weeks after the milling and after the fourth week, the feed should be finished to avoid stale feed.
Therefore it is important to ensure the feed is not stale, The feed should be kept in a cool place away from any kind of moisture. This is because the moisture might make the feed expire easily and in case of rationing ensure you buy premix in quantities that are small enough.
6. Over supplementation:
It is always good to avoid over supplementation when it comes to feeding your chicken. The reason to avoid over supplementation is that it leads to serious nutritional imbalances in the health of the chicken Excess of some vitamins or minerals in a feed leads to interference with absorption of some other minerals and vice versa.
Therefore it is important to ensure the minerals and vitamins given to the chickens are of required proportions so as not to interfere with the absorption of the nutrients in the body of the chickens.
Ensure you don't give electrolytes to healthy chickens because they might lead to serious problems in your chickens.
Clean water changed daily. I add mineral supplement and a drop apple cider vinegar once a week to the water container. The supplement ensures balanced vitamins and healthy eggs the apple cider vinegar helps keep poultry worms at bay and helps develop a healthy immune system.
Basic feed layers mash or pellets. Made available at all times, I use high protein layers pellets in large pest proof feeders and refill these twice a week.
7. Excess treats:
This is among the most common mistakes done by the poultry farmers because all farmers love it when they see their backyard chickens running towards them whenever they bring them a certain treat.
This, therefore, can sometimes be poisonous as they say too much of everything is poisonous. Ensure you limit the number of treats you offer to your chickens in the backyard because that may fall to be an act of killing with kindness.
Here the most common threats that are allowed to be done are such as treating your chicks in the morning and at the evening with some fine grains so that they can leave or enter in their coop is just a fine treat.
But when you make a habit of giving an excess treat for instance with maize grains and observe them how they feed happily can lead to nutrient imbalance and can affect the health of the chicken. Therefore ensure you treat your chicken moderately with the fine grains or the kitchen scraps so as to ensure healthy chickens.
Fruit any soft fruit with large stones or pips removed will send your bantams into a excited fury. Mine love Strawberries, Apple, Melon and Banana. It is a great way of taming your backyard flock, they will sit for ages while you give the fruit.
Meal Worms widely available during the winter months freeze dried and loved by poultry and wild birds especially the Robin.
These carry a huge energy and protein value and fed as a tit bit or treat once or twice a week will keep your birds in perfect health.
I use these to tame my birds, they like them so much they Will take them from your fingers and there is never any waste. Good for young growers and adult birds alike.
8. Building too small coop.
Having a very small coop for your chicken is a mistake which many people do. Small coop will leave your chickens with litter space for moving freely and therefore leading your chicken to poor living condition because the chickens won't be free to play with each other. Exercise is good for every living thing and it is important to build a big coop for you chicken so as to get enough space to play easily.
Also, another disadvantage of building a small coop for your chicken is that your chicken won't have enough air around to breath easily because they are congested in a room. This can lead to a serious disease which can even kill your chicken. Therefore ensure the chickens have enough coop.
9. Using the wrong type of feeders:
Finding the perfect hen feed is only half the solution to your hungry birds, you also need the necessary hen feeding supplies.
Purchase chicken feeders to easily feed your flock of fowl without any wastage or spilled feed, and buy decent storage for your feed, preferably galvanised to ensure the feed stays fresh.
You also need a scoop to make feeding easy.
Other feeding supplies required include a poultry waterer which sits on the ground or hangs, a small chick feeder for baby birds, and a chicken trough for many birds.
Treat your hens with a scratching block or chicken toys and treat balls to make farm life more fun.
10. Feeding on the floor.
Always feed your chickens up off the floor in easy to clean feed troughs.
Yes, I know we let our chickens hunt through the undergrowth for bugs and bits but they generally get their feed from the keeper in the same place everyday and this can lead to contamination from faeces and wild birds.
Below: Chickens should not be fed from the floor even though free range chickens eat from the ground.
You chickens will be healthier, happier and cleaner if they are fed in troughs and not in the mud.
11. Underestimating the predators.
Do not underestimate any predator around your compound that might kill your chickens for food. Some of the predators you should ensure you watch keenly around include the hawks,raccoon's, foxes, dogs, eagles, and others.
These predators can cost you your chickens once you ignore them. Therefore ensure your chickens are well secure in a coop that is well fenced with a wire mesh with small spaces between them so that the predators can't access your chickens easily. This will help in creating a secure environment for your chickens.
Therefore the above discussed are the most common chicken feeding mistakes that many people who keep chicken do. By avoiding those seven mistakes you will have succeeded in keeping your chickens in the best condition ever and definitely you will enjoy the better results for your chicken farming.