Blog > March 2020 > Feeding your Flock

Feeding your Flock

March 16, 2020


It’s a sure sign spring is near when chick promotions start showing up from our suppliers.  Raising healthy chicks to later produce strong, quality eggs start from the moment they hatch. Feeds that support immune function, digestive health, and have an option to protect against coccidiosis if vaccination status is unknown, are what we offer at Central Valley Ag. If you’re looking for brighter beaks and shanks, healthy immune systems, and correct muscle and skeletal development with enhanced lysine, we can help you!

Starter, Grower, Organic, and Layer feeds are available in bagged options as well as bulk chicken feeds at CVA. Besides complete feeds, we also have access to scratch grains and grit. For those of you not familiar with chickens, here are a few facts:

-Chickens will begin to lay eggs at 18-20 weeks of age.

-The average lifespan of a chicken is 8 to 10 years, but some that are well cared for will live past that.

- A hen’s egg production will peak her first year then decline slowly.

- Retired hens can serve as companions and leaders to younger birds.


I know of many backyard poultry producers who have a daily routine of collecting eggs right after their morning coffee which is a great way to start your day! Strong eggshells are a sign that hens are getting all required nutrients from their feed. Weak eggshells could be a sign for a lack of calcium in the hen’s layer feed. Other issues such as lack of light (need a minimum of 16 hours), stress, molt, and age may also create a lack of production. Some are natural responses while others can be fixed with a simple diet change. Molting is a natural response that starts around 18 months of age. By feeding an increased protein feed, chickens can be helped through this process.

Another favorite of mine when visiting backyard poultry producers is looking at their coops. I’ve seen some that are set up like small homes. When chickens are in a coop please provide at least 4 square feet of indoor space and 5-10 square feet of outdoor space per bird.  Offering one nesting box per four hens with clean dry bedding is a preferred method of housing.  If the pecking order becomes aggressive, hens will need to be separated.  Ideally, hens will lay an egg once every 24-26 hours.  Treats and table scraps are fun to share with our feathered friends, however, it’s not always healthy for them. Keep in mind the 90/10 rule that no more than 10% of a hen’s diet should include treats as they dilute a balanced diet and may affect the calcium which, in return, reflects egg quality. For any questions on chicken feeds, visit a CVA feed retail location in your area.
 
by Brandi Salestrom
Posted: 3/16/2020 6:06:37 PM by Kristin Petersen | with 0 comments


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