What are the Important Ingredients Needed in Feeds for Chicken?
Are you feeding your chickens all the important ingredients that contribute to healthy growth? In this blog, you will learn all there is to know about the vital chicken feed organic ingredients you should feed chickens on a regular basis.
Today poultry feed companies put in a lot of thought, research, effort, and time to provide the best quality, high protein feed. This ensures steady and healthy growth along with good quality egg production. Like any other poulterer, you would also want to provide your chickens with the best feed. However, sometimes, the vast supply and lack of knowledge can make it challenging to choose the suitable feed for your flock.
Fly Grubs, a leading chicken feed brand, can solve this problem for you. Read ahead to learn about all the essential ingredients you must feed your flock to ensure successful poultry production.
What do Chickens Eat?
Chickens need a balanced diet that is protein-rich and low in carbohydrates to support good health. There are various kinds of feed that chickens can eat. However, the standard ingredients include cracked corn, cereal, fat and oil, protein meal, tubers and roots, vitamins, and minerals. You can supplement their regular feed with a healthy treat if you want them to have more nutrients. But, keep in mind that these should only be 20% of their feed intake.
Their diets tend to shift even with the season changes, focusing on protein in summers and carbohydrates in winter. You should feed them a high-carb diet during the winters as they are a great energy source for chickens. In the summertime, chicken feed is more readily available, and they don’t have to work as hard, so you can give your chicken layer feed with a higher protein percentage (18 percent or greater). Chicken feed organic or grower feed works as well!
Important Ingredients in Chicken Feed
As mentioned above, the basic ingredients any chicken feed must contain are cereals, fats and oils, minerals and vitamins, proteins, supplements, and other miscellaneous elements. It is essential to have a meal with a proper blend of all these ingredients for your flock's healthy growth and development. In this section, you will read about these ingredients in detail.
Cereals and their by-products
Cereals mainly satisfy the energy requirement of your flock. The dominant grain here is corn, although different grains are fed in various countries and regions accordingly. For instance, in most Asian countries, corn is the most crucial energy source for all poultry feed. In contrast, wheat is considered the predominant dietary energy supplier for poultry diets in Europe and other countries.
Although the amounts and types of cereal included in chicken diets depend largely on their current costs relative to their nutritional values, you must avoid making considerable changes to the cereal component of diets. This can result in sudden changes that can upset their digestive system and may reduce productivity. Additionally, cereal by-products such as DDGS, wheat bran, and rice bran are used widely in poultry feed, given they have high fibre content.
Fats and Oils
Fats and oils in poultry feed satisfy the energy needs of your chickens as they have more than double the amount of ME compared to proteins or carbohydrates per kg weight. These carry fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and the provision of essential fatty acid and linoleic acid in the diet. Various fats and oils are used in feed, including animal fat (usually tallow, lard, and except fish oil) and vegetable oils (usually canola/rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, soy oil, linseed oil, palm oil, cottonseed oil).
Like any other nutrient, a varying proportion of fats and oils are undigested depending on their sources, the species, and the age to which they are fed. You will be surprised knowing that nearly a quarter of dietary fats and oils get lost in the excreta of chickens. This fact is significant because even with a seemingly small amount of inclusion, about 2.5% added fat in feed contributes as much as 7 to 9% of the dietary energy. Thus, an improvement in digestion, which you can achieve via appropriate additives, will significantly impact the energy content of chicken diets.
Mineral and Vitamins
Minerals play a vital role in the growth and development of your chickens, such as bone formation and processes such as enzyme activation. Some minerals like calcium and phosphorus are fed in large quantities. For example, laying hens need around 3.5 to 4% of calcium, 0.3 to 0.4% of phosphorus, and 0.2% of sodium in their meals for healthy egg production.
Other minerals, such as iron, manganese, copper, zinc, iodine, selenium, cobalt, and molybdenum, are required in milligram quantities. However, deficiency of these minerals can lead to serious health problems or even death in severe cases.
Similarly, both fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) and water-soluble vitamins (biotin, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, pantothenic acid, and B12) are essential for the body systems to maintain the proper health and wellbeing of the chickens. Most ingredients provide some vitamins and minerals, but the premixes added to the diet meet the adequate requirement for vitamins and minerals.
Chickens get proteins from both vegetable and meat meals. This can include oilseed meals, legumes and abattoir, and fish processing by-products. Common vegetable protein sources are meals, cakes, or the by-product of oilseed crops. The main oilseed crops include soybean, canola, palm kernel, copra, sunflower, linseed peanut, and sesame seed. Various oilseeds contain anti-nutritive factors, some of which can be destroyed through heat and are used in heat-treated meals. After the oil extraction, the remaining residue works as a feed ingredient.
On the other hand, the main animal protein sources in the chicken feed are meat meal, meat and bone meal, fish meal, by-product meal, blood meal, and feather meal. Now, a few specific limitations are assigned to these animal protein products. For example, meat and bone meals may be specifically from ruminants. It must be free of hair, wool, and hide trimmings. Moreover, 2 major challenges associated with the use of animal protein sources are:
- Recycling of animal protein meals back through animals as feed ingredients
- The variability in available nutrients that the chickens can absorb and retain, causing problems in maintaining a balanced diet with all nutrients, particularly calcium and phosphorus.
If you want to increase the productivity and health of your chickens, feed them additives and supplements. These help by increasing the nutrition amount naturally provided by the chicken feed itself. Moreover, chicken feed supplements increase yields and prolong shelf life, saving farmers and feed manufacturers huge amounts of money. A few common chicken feed supplements are:
- Feed conditioners
- Essential Oils
- Feeding Attractants
- Anti-stress agents
How to Elevate your Chicken Feed
Chickens love pecking on additional foods like scratch grains, kitchen scraps, and garden greens. Because commercially produced chicken feeds are carefully created to satisfy a chicken’s nutritional needs, you must feed these extra bits sparingly as treats. These dilute the nutritional value of the chicken feed. Hence, treats should not make more than 10% to 15% of a chicken’s diet.
However, an occasional adequate treat for the flock can actually elevate the nutritional value of their meal. This also keeps them happy and motivates them if you need them to walk a specific area. Some good treats include:
- Scratch grains like cracked corn
- Fresh tomato
- Cut lettuce and kale
- Toast bits
- Warmed frozen corn
- Cooked butternut squash and brown rice, mashed together as a special treat.
Another way to add to the nutritional value of your chicken’s diet is organic chicken feed. It is strictly grown without any pesticides, GMO, or synthesized fertilizers. Non-organic micro-ingredients like various minerals, vitamins, salt, and amino acids are not allowed in organic chicken feed. Many supply stores give you a choice between chicken feed organic and conventional chicken feed. Like any other organic product, the cost for organic chicken feed 50lb will be higher than non-organic chicken feed. So, you must weigh the choices and then make a decision that best suits your situation. However, you can get the cheapest organic chicken feed bulk if you grow it yourself in your backyard, ending your search for ‘organic chicken feed near me’!
Need Some Feed for Your Chicken?
If you are searching for a place to get the best-quality high protein chicken feed with a balanced nutritional value for your flock, then your search ends here. Fly Grubs provides 100% non-GMO, FDA approved, sustainable, and organic grain feed for an up to snuff growth and development of your chickens. Our chicken feed contains 2 to 5 percent calcium and natural chicken supplements to speed up chicken moulting.
You can order chicken feed at affordable prices from our website and reach out to us for any queries at email@example.com or through our contact page.