Flock Nutrition - Backyard Poultry Success

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Welcome to the world of backyard poultry! What an exciting time for you and your family. One of the best things that you can do when it comes to raising chickens is to be sure that they are getting excellent nutrition. Starting out with good nutrition is key in how your chicks develop into grown chickens, future egg productivity, and their overall general health and longevity.

Chicks should start out on a chick starter. As you will soon find out, chicks growOrganic_Starter_Crumbles_5lb_front.jpg amazingly fast! A good chick starter, such as Manna Pro Organic Starter Crumbles, will be used until approximately six to eight weeks of age. After the chick starter, chicks will transition to a grower until they are approximately twenty weeks of age. At twenty weeks or so, they will then proceed to a layer feed. Manna Pro's Organic Layer Pellets is sixteen Organic_Layer_Pellets_10lb_front.jpgpercent protein and is a complete feed. The calcium helps the hen to make strong eggshells. Of course, sometimes hens need more calcium in their feed, so be sure to place a separate dish of crushed oyster shells that the hens can access freely. In addition to the crushed oyster shells, access to a separate dish of grit is also important for digestion.

Chickens can also be treated to an array of treats. It is important to remember that at least ninety percent of their diet should come from their chicken feed and the other ten percent can come from treats like scratch, cracked corn, commercial treats, fruits and vegetables as well as free-ranging.

Keeping your feed fresh is important when it comes to chicken health. Spoiled feed should be discarded immediately . Fresh feed should be kept dry, free from moisture and mold. Untitled_design-2-1.jpgIt should also smell good. Rodents and pests should always be kept out of your chicken feed. One of the best ways to do that is by storing your feed in metal-lidded bins. It is a good idea to keep the feed in its original bags and place them into the metal bins. Some people also like to add food-grade diatomaceous earth to their chicken feed. Added at a volume of 2% to the feed, food-grade diatomaceous earth may help to keep feed free of insects.

During molting, when chickens replace their feathers, some chicken keepers like to place their flock back onto a grower feed. This is because the grower feed has a higher percent of protein. Feathers are almost 100% protein, so having a bump in available dietary protein can often help feathers grow in more quickly and ease the drop in egg production during the molt. During times of stress such as molting or growing rapidly as new chicks, it is a great idea to add vitamins and electrolytes to your chickens’ drinking water.  

Following these chicken nutrition tips will help get your flock off to a great start. From chicks to pullets to full grown adult birds, you will be amazed how quickly the transformation happens. Paying attention to your flock's nutrition is one of the best things you can do to ensure fresh eggs all year long and years of companionship from your new feathered friends.







Manna Pro offers a complete line of Poultry products, including organic feed. For additional information, please visit: https://www.mannapro.com/products/poultry.

Melissa Caughey

Melissa Caughey

Melissa Caughey is a backyard chicken keeper, beekeeper, gardener, and cook who pens the award winning blog, Tilly's Nest. She lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts with her family of four and her Miniature Schnauzer.


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