Not All Chicken Feed Is the Same: Here’s Why
Talking Hens is an Australian company that specializes in chicken feed. If you are looking for chicken feed for sale anywhere in Australia, they will ship it directly to you. As such, staff members interact with customers from all over the country. They say that many people who contact them looking for chicken feed don’t know what they need.
The reality is that not all chicken feed is the same. Feed experts have come up with multiple formulas over the years to meet very specific needs. The feed offered to chicks is vastly different than what you might feed to adults. And of course, there are different feeds to accommodate the varying needs among the hundreds of breeds of chickens.
Feed for Different Life Stages
Most discussions about chicken feed start with the basics. That means choosing feed to accommodate the various stages of life. For example, you would feed baby chicks what is known as starter feed. This type of feed is designed to meet the dietary needs of chicks during the first few weeks of life.
A starter feed has a high protein content of around 24%. You can feed chicks this formula, along with sufficient water, and they will grow quite nicely. Somewhere around the six-week mark is the time to transition to the next type of chicken feed: grower feed.
Grower feed is intended for chickens between 6 and 20 weeks. It has a lower protein content at somewhere around 18%. It also contains less calcium than the feed designed for adults. Experts recommend giving grower feed until hens are mature enough to start laying eggs. At that point it is time for layer feed.
Layer feed is the standard adult feed for mature hens and roosters. It offers just the right blend of protein, calcium, and the vitamins and minerals that mature hens need to be productive egg producers. It is generally suggested that layer feed not be given until at least 20 weeks of age.
Different Forms of Feed
By now, you should understand that there is no universal feed for all chickens. Trying to find the right chicken feed for sale starts with understanding the unique dietary needs of your animals throughout the various stages of life. Beyond the three basic feed types, there are some different forms as well:
- Mash – Mash is essentially unprocessed chicken feed. It has a fine texture reminiscent of potting soil, making it easy to digest. It is normally reserved for chicks, though adults do not have any trouble eating it.
- Pellets – The most common form of chicken feed is the pellet. Pellets are processed feed pressed into compact cylinders that hold their shape extremely well. The biggest benefit of pellets is that they reduce feed waste. They are also easy to store, making them ideal for backyard hobbyists.
- Crumble – Crumble is similar to pellets but not as large or tightly compacted. Some consider crumble a cross between pellets and mash. At any rate, crumble gets its name from the crumbly texture that tends to fall apart in your hands.
- Scratch – Despite what you may have heard, chicken scratch isn’t really a daily feed. It consists of a combination of things like cracked corn and grains that would not normally be in a daily feed. As such, chicken scratch is really a treat. It gives chickens a lot of energy.
There are other kinds of chicken feed that space does not allow us to discuss. Needless to say that finding chicken feed for sale opens the door to a lot of choices.