The proverbial gateway animal, chickens are often the first real step to growing your own food and achieving healthy self-sufficiency. Chickens are a delicious source of protein, but they are also beautiful and industrious. Not to mention that the flock often become loyal members and companions of the family. Ready to rock your own flock? We’ve put together a list of common Q&A to help.
What are some important things to know about feeding chickens?
Put broadly, FEED ORGANIC! We’re biased, but we truly do believe that a nutrient-rich diet free of harmful chemicals is the best way to fuel your flock. By feeding organic, you will support the health of your birds and the health of your family by producing more nutritious (and more beautiful, deeply-colored) eggs. Learn more on our Care page.
More specifically, FEED SOY-FREE! Soy is in seemingly everything. It’s an industrial feed ingredient. If it comes in a box and it is supposed to be edible, then chances are high that soy is on the ingredient list list. The likelihood is also high that the soy is transgenic (genetically modified). Americans eat more soy than traditionally soy-consuming cultures. Soy is high in phytic acid. Monogastric animals like chickens, pigs, horses, and humans don’t produce the enzyme phytase. Without phytase, phytic acid can block uptake of vitamins and minerals in the gastrointestinal tract. Soy is high in phytoestrogens, which can have a multitude of health implications for all animals. Soy is a trypsin inhibitor. Trypsin is an enzyme that helps break down many different proteins, and inhibition of trypsin contributes to allergies.
As far as the basics, you’ll want to be sure that you always have a few things available to your flock:
Free-choice feed (typically in a trough or gravity feeder)
Free-choice grit (the poultry eat this, and it breaks down food into smaller particles within the gizzard—aiding in digestion)
A safe space to roost (a coop, possibly fluffed with hemp or flax shive bedding)
How do I know if I’m overfeeding my chickens?
On average, a bird 2 months old or older will eat about 1/4lb of feed per day. You can use this estimate to offer an approximate weight of feed free-choice to your flock.
What can I feed my chickens to harden their egg shells?
We recommend our Classic Layer Feed or Corn-Free Layer Feed for laying hens because they are fortified with all of the vitamins and minerals, probiotics, prebiotics, and enzymes necessary for optimum health. Designated layer feeds also contain additional calcium to support strong egg shell production.
You can also feed a supplement like Flock Perfect Calcium & Poultry Shell, which is rich in extra calcium for your flock’s diet. Offer this free-choice, and your ladies will self-regulate their intake.