Rearing chickens in your backyard seems like a lot of fun. But it is a responsibility, just like raising a dog or a cat. You have to make sure they are healthy and active, and everything boils down to feeding them right. It goes beyond just picking the best chicken feed to keep the tiny birds full and happy. You have to follow some rules to ensure good nutrition and hygiene throughout the lifespan of your brood. Here are the ones to keep you on the right track.
Measure how much your birds need
While you must ensure that your chickens are well-fed, the worst thing you can do is overfeed your brood. The optimal feed for them depends on factors such as age, weight, and activity level. The recommended amount is 120 g per day, so ensure you stick to the range. Let your chickens spend more time out of the pen. But keep things balanced as good nutrition promotes egg production later.
Feed at regular times
Like all other pets, chickens also need regular feeding schedules to stay at their healthiest best. They tend to peck all day, so make sure you top the feed frequently. Fill it up in the morning and evening when they are inside the pen. A regular schedule lets you monitor and track their eating habits. You can easily understand if something is amiss when they seem to eat less. It could indicate a health issue, and you can address it at the earliest.
Ensure availability of water
Feeding rules are not just about diet, but also hydration. Keep adequate fresh, cool, and clean water available for your tiny ones all the time. You can invest in a Chicken Water Nipple Bucket to ensure easy accessibility and hygiene. Water softens the food and promotes the digestion process. Good hydration becomes even more vital in hot weather because your birds are outdoors and easily get dehydrated.
Remove leftover scraps
Leaving scraps in and around the pen is a bad idea. Leftover food attracts ants and flies. They can also bring rats, mice, and other birds to feast on them. Even worse, neighborhood strays may come around to grab a share. It can be a concern for the hygiene and safety of your brood. As a rule, you must clean the area several times a day to ensure there are no leftovers around. Cleaning after every top-up feed is also a good idea.
Reduce the feeding competition
The bigger your brood, the more competition they will have to face while feeding. The aggressive birds will always end up eating more, while the timid ones will be undernourished. It makes sense to invest in extra feeders if you have more chickens than one can accommodate. Keep an eye on the birds during the feeding sessions and get a new feeder when there is a need.
Apart from following these feeding rules, always pick quality feed for your chickens. Buy food meant for them instead of feeding them out of your plate. Avoid foods like coffee, chocolate, and avocado because they can be toxic for tiny ones.