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Feeding Your Chickens

July 1, 2020

Have you recently started keeping chickens? If so, you’re joining lots of other backyard birders. Chickens are becoming very popular! One thing that is very important is making sure your birds are getting proper nutrition. A local Ontonagon, MI vet offers some tips on this below.


Choosing Feeds

Commercial chicken food typically contains things like wheat, salt, oats, maize, and sunflower seeds. The type of feed you use will depend on what type of chickens you have. If you have egg-layers, you’ll want to get pellets made just for them. These will be higher in calcium, which is very important. For meat chickens, you’ll want something with a lot of protein. You can also just get a standard feed, which will work for pretty much anything that clucks. 


Water 

Just like any other animal, chickens need fresh water at all times. You will likely need to invest in a heated waterer for winter. 


Feeding Schedules

Chickens are pretty versatile about meal times. If you’re home all day, you can just toss out handfuls of grain periodically. If you work outside your home, then you’ll want to give your birds breakfast and dinner. Just try to keep to a routine schedule. 


Amounts

Chickens usually peck and nibble all day, so you don’t have to be too concerned about overfeeding them. Anything extra will just be left uneaten. Don’t leave those leftovers lying around, though, as they’ll attract rats, mice, and other unwanted vermin, as well as the things that eat them, like snakes. 


Pecking Order

Pecking order will definitely affect how your birds eat. Sometimes weaker birds get bullied, and have a hard time getting food. If you see this happening, feed your flock separately. 


Unsafe Foods 

Not everything is safe for chickens. Never give your birds rhubarb; alcohol; avocados; garlic, onions, or scallions; cakes, candy, and other sweets; processed foods; citrus fruits; green potato peels; or anything that contains a lot of salt, sugar, or fat. Ask your vet for more information. 


Treats

Our patients all have one thing in common: a love of snacks! You can actually give your birds a variety of foods, including lots of fresh produce. Your chickens may enjoy things like apple cores, bananas, broccoli, and pumpkin (seeds included). Mealworms are also a big hit with our feathered pals. 


Please contact us, your Ontonagon, MI vet clinic, anytime. We’re here to help! 

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