There are many opinions on what is safe and recommended to feed your poultry in order to keep them as healthy as possible. Below we've compiled a list of our personal recommendations.
Your chickens should have a continuous food supply as they like to forage.
DAY OLDS to 6 WEEKS OLD
Feed chick “Starter Crumbles” at least until 6 weeks of age. It should contain the coccidiostat medication to help with prevention of coccidiosis, some brands (like Thompson & Redwood) don’t have it. You need to check the label to verify, and if it's not on the label, it's not in the bag. If you have any older hens ensure they do not eat the starter crumbles as the coccidiostat medication will leak into their eggs and can be poisonous to humans if consumed. Always wash your hands after handling this feed, and do not allow children to touch it. Ask us if you're not sure which brands to buy or where to buy it from. Chicks under 6 weeks of age do not need any additions to their diet and should not be given table scraps or supplements. A balanced diet does not need additional supplements and its not recommended you this delicate balance. Always feed the best quality feed available to ensure the best diet is offered at all times. If you decide to supplement or add anything else to the chicks' diet ensure the supplements are no more than 10% of their daily intake or they wont consume enough medicated food to remain inoculated from Cocci.
We feed and recommend Laucke Mills Medicated Chick Starter Crumble.
6 WEEKS to 16-20 WEEKS
After Starter Crumbles you can move on to Grower Pellets/Crumbles. As always, whenever you're changing any animals' diet ensure you do a gradual changeover, gently weaning them on to the new food over a couple of weeks. We recommend feeding a medicated Pullet Grower Cumble to help aid again Coccidiosis.
We feed and recommend Laucke Mils Medicated Pullet Grower Crumble.
16 WEEKS AND BEYOND
Around 16-20 weeks of age you can begin to introduce Layer Pellets/Crumbles. For optimum results read the label and ensure they contain a minimum of 14% Protein. Although most layer pellets on the market will have enough protein, not all brands do. Poultry NEED a minimum of 14% protein to lay an egg. Remember you can always ensure they're recieving enough protein by supplementing their diet with high-protein foods such as snails, meat, mealworms etc. We recommend aiming for 17% protein, such as the Laucke Mills Showbird Breeder MP.
Poultry Mix is also a good addition to their diet, it can be introduced from as young 6 weeks of age. They'll enjoy a bit of variety in their diet and it's a great way to ensure they're eating enough protein, calcium and other necessary minerals.
Fresh vegetable scraps can be given daily, best to feed supplements in the afternoon to ensure they have had their requirements of high protein layer pellets, and not 'fill up' on further supplements.
If your chickens are able to free range you’ll notice them scratching and eating all sorts of bugs and insects. They’ll also appreciate you throwing them any extra bugs which they can’t find or get to themselves. Don’t be shy, they’ll eat everything you don’t want in your garden – caterpillars, snails, grasshoppers, centipedes, we’ve even seen them swallow a whole mouse! (Waste not, want not!). Remember, it’s no coincidence that chick hatchings coincide with the spring and summer flush of protein-rich insects.
Plenty of clean water changed once daily and container scrubbed regularly. Keeping more than one water dish is a good idea to ensure your chickens always have access to clean water.
What NOT to feed:
The following foods are advised to be toxic to chickens
Most of these foods do not have immediate side effects. The toxins will gradually build up in their system and they can be sick a very long time after eating these foods. So even though you/your friend/neighbour/etc may have previously feed these foods to their birds "with no ill side effects" - you may not be entirely correct, you just might not know it yet....