Flock-tober is here

October 8, 2018

Fall is here which means your spring born chicks are just starting to lay eggs alongside your mature hens. During visits to farms, I've noticed that producers will often treat their chickens like members of the family. However, even though we want to treat our chickens like family pets, we must consider what is best for them when it comes to nutrition.
Our complete chicken feeds are formulated to meet the nutrients a chicken requires at correct levels. Complete starter grower feeds are fed from day one until week 18 when laying hens are started on a complete layer feed. Complete feeds help support muscle development and a healthy immune system. So once a chicken's nutrition is met, is it ok to give your chicken's a treat?
Many experts say to follow the 90/10 rule.  90 percent needs to be a complete feed, and the remaining 10 percent can be treats, including free ranging. Laying hens eat around a half cup of complete feed each day, meaning treats should not exceed an amount similar to 2 tablespoons. Scratch grains are considered a treat and are not intended to be mixed with complete feeds. Start the morning with feeding your hens their complete feed, then allow them to go exploring.
 Chicken friendly gardens are starting to become a popular option for those exploring chickens.  There is a long list of plants and vegetables chickens love as treats. Lettuce, kale, turnip greens, watermelon, strawberries, and blueberries are all healthy snacks. Use caution with onions and garlic because this could affect egg flavor. Damaged rhubarb, avocado pits, undercooked dried beans, and moldy or salty foods can all be toxin to chickens. To encourage natural pecking, also consider placing a flock block in the yard.
Another thing to be mindful of as we are coming into fall is to remember that predators will be lurking. Fixing holes or gaps in fencing and housing will help reduce the number of predators in your chicken's homes. I encourage producers to stop by your local Central Valley Ag feed location for more information on keeping your hens healthy, so they can continue to lay high quality, strong shelled eggs.
by Brandi Salestrom
Posted: 10/8/2018 3:23:30 PM by Kristin Petersen | with 0 comments