Raising chickens for poultry or for laying eggs can be a lucrative business and a good source of stable income. For people who want to grow chooks in New Zealand and Australia, you just need to invest in time, infrastructure and knowledge in raising chickens.
Part of the best practices is knowing the best food to give your chickens. Here are some thoughts on what to give them, when they need them and why they need them.
Chickens Eat a Variety of Food
Chickens will eat any kind of food you throw at them, and this includes fruits, vegetables and even nuts. While they do forage and scratch around for worms and insects, this does not meet their dietary needs.
If you want your chickens to lay roughly 300 eggs in a year, you need to be feeding them with food that is more nutritious. Yes, the nutritional needs of your flock increase when they produce more eggs.
Hens Need Proper Nutrition to Lay Eggs
In NZ, they make chicken feed mostly out of commercial laying hen pellets. These pellets or feed contain the right amounts minerals, protein and energy for the hens and make up the bulk of what they eat. The hens should be able to feed anytime they want and should go to sleep with full crops.
This is because the hens continue to create eggs inside their bodies even while they are asleep. It takes hens more than 25 hours to create a single egg, so they need to be full at all times to keep on doing this energy-consuming and nutrition draining task.
Apart from fresh air, exercise, pellets and the occasional treat of vegetables or worms, your chickens need plenty of fresh water to stay healthy. Remember that the quality of the eggs they produce depends on the quality of their lives as well as how well they eat. Make sure they get only the best.