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What is the Best Feed for a Laying Hen

Posted by Dine A Chook UK on

The simple answer to What is the Best feed for laying hens? A balanced diet.

A Balanced Diet filled with protein, vitamins and also minerals are essential for healthy, happy chickens. Not only will your hens be healthier, it will also aid in the production of more eggs. If you keep chickens for their fresh eggs, you know the food of your layers will determine the quality and quantity of eggs produced.

What is the Best Feed for a Laying Hen

What is the Best feed for laying hens?

Let's start with what is the worst diet. The majority of people use a grain mix supplemented with lots of leftovers, kitchen scraps as well as garden waste. This is the worst diet for a laying hen.

Laying hens need a high protein diet with lots of vitamins and minerals to healthily produce eggs.

Grain supplemented or scratch mixes do not meet these requirements; In fact these mixes should only be used a treat for your hens. Unfortunately scraps and clippings are equally problematic as they tend to distract hens from what should be their primary source of energy and nutrition. Clippings and Scraps should also only be used as treats as they usually have a high fibre and fat content.

The best diet for chickens is a complete feed, in crumb or pellet form. Supplement this complete feed by a small amount of kitchen left overs, scraps or grain mix - an amount no more than what your hens can consume in 20 minutes.

To aid in digestion your birds require a source of grit such as shells or small stones. The best source is oyster shells as they provide the birds with an additional source of calcium for egg shell production along with grit for digestive purposes.

Best feed for laying hens summary:

  1. Complete feed
  2. Small amount of scraps and left overs
  3. Grit such as oyster shells
  4. Plenty of clean water

What is the best type of chicken feed?

The best type of feed for a chickens are a crumbed or pelleted feed. These feeds ensure a well balanced diet with the correct ratio of protein, fats and fibre. This ratio will not only keep your chickens healthy, it also provides everything they need to produce plenty of tasty eggs.

If you have had chickens for a while, you may notice that they can be very selective with what they eat. By giving them a pellet or crushed feed they cannot be selective with which elements they choose to eat as the individual grains are not recognisable.

Combined with a Dine A Chook Waste-Reducing Chicken Feeder, they will save you money and deter rodents in the chicken coop.

Which commercial chicken feed do I choose?

When choosing a commercial chicken feed, look for mash or pelleted feed that contains:

  • 16-18 % protein
  • High calcium levels for egg-shell production (at least 2.5 %)
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • A maximum of 10 % fibre
  • Essential vitamins (especially A, E, D3 and B vitamins) and minerals (including iron, iodine and zinc), unless an alternative supplement is being used.

Are scraps good for chickens?

Kitchen scraps are good for chickens in moderation. Like anything else, too much of a good thing can have a negative effect. Leftovers may be tasty, but they are unlikely to have the balanced nutrients that your chickens need for good health and consistent egg production.

The main diet of laying hens should consist of a high-quality commercial feed that is scientifically formulated for optimum health and well-being. Kitchen scraps should be a treat, used in moderation. A good guide is not to give your chickens more scraps than they can consume in 20 minutes, so that the majority of their daily diet comes from their nutritionally balanced feed.

Why aren’t my hens laying?

There are many reasons why a chicken may not be laying well. It may be broody, moulting, too old or too young. Often the underlying cause of poor laying is a nutritional or dietary deficiency. If your hens are not laying well, check the nutritional content of their diet , Ensure they are receiving enough protein and calcium. If they are, it may be an issue of access. Watch your flock behaviour to ensure that more dominant birds are not preventing the weaker ones from feeding. Even with small flocks, we recommend installing two feeders. This allows all birds have equal access to feed.

Causes could be:

  • Type of Hen
  • Insufficient Nutrients in the Diet
  • Insufficient Water
  • Illness or Disease
  • Age of Bird