Have you ever considered raising backyard chickens? It's a rewarding experience that can provide you with fresh eggs on a regular basis.
Plus, it's a great way to get outside and enjoy some time in nature. But before you run out and purchase your first flock of chickens, there are a few things you need to know—like what to feed them.
Here's everything you need to know about feeding backyard chickens.
What do Chickens Eat?
Chickens are omnivores, which means they'll eat just about anything—vegetables, fruits, insects, small animals (mice, voles, etc.), and even other chickens (if given the opportunity).
However, that doesn't mean you should just let them free range and eat whatever they want. A healthy diet for chickens is similar to a healthy diet for humans—a mix of whole grains, vegetables, and protein.
One way to ensure your chickens are getting all the nutrients they need is to purchase a high-quality chicken feed from your local farm store or co-op.
This chicken feed will typically contain a mixture of corn, wheat, soybeans, flaxseed, and vitamins and minerals. You can also supplement your chicken's diet with scratch grains (corn, wheat, oats), cracked corn, vegetables (leafy greens like kale or Swiss chard are especially good), or mealworms from The Honest Worm!, they help add variety to your chicken's diet and provide essential nutrients that might be lacking in their regular feed
Just be sure to limit treats to 10% of their total diet so they don't fill up on "junk food" and miss out on important nutrients.
How Much Should I Feed Them?
It's important not to overfeed your chickens as this can lead to health problems like obesity. A good rule of thumb is to offer 1/4 pound of feed per chicken per day.
Of course, this will vary depending on the type and quality of feed you're using as well as whether or not your chickens have access to other food sources like grass or bugs.
If you're unsure how much to feed your flock, ask your local farm store or co-op for guidance. They'll be able to help you figure out how much food your particular flock will need based on their age, breed, and activity level.
When Should I Feed Them?
Chickens should have access to food at all times during the day. That means filling up their feeders in the morning before letting them out to free range and then again in the evening before they roost for the night.
If you're using an automatic chicken feeder , it will dispense food at regular intervals throughout the day so you don't have to worry about doing it yourself.
Just be sure to check the feeder regularly to make sure it's working properly and there's enough food in it for your chickens.
Feeding backyard chickens doesn't have to be difficult— just follow these simple guidelines and you'll be well on your way to providing your flock with a healthy diet they'll love!
Do you have any tips for feeding backyard chickens? Share them with us in the comments below!