Feeding your Flock
In order to maintain the health of your flock and get abundant eggs, there are 3 essential non-negotiables that will keep them energetic and laying:
- Feed - Purchase a Layer ration from a feed store and use that as your primary feed source. While table scraps and scratch are fun occasional treats, they can actually detract from the overall health, egg laying efficiency and well-being of your poultry, so use sparingly.
- Water - Chickens should be given fresh water daily in order to maintain good health. Chicken waterers tend to get dirty quickly and can quickly grown green scum if not refilled and cleaned daily. Many flock owners have found that nipple feeders stay cleaner since the water flows out of the clean supply and into the bird's mouth. The dispenser still needs to be maintained, even in these set-ups because scum and algae still builds up. Some flock owners add a drop or two of bleach or Oxine to their water to slow down the scum build-up.
- Light - Light is essential because it stimulates hormone production that is necessary for both egg-laying and also increases fertility in males, should you desire to breed your birds and hatch out some chicks. In the fall, as light is slowly decreasing, add a light to your coop that turns on in the early morning so birds have at least 14 hours of light. Adding light in the early morning rather than extending light at night is preferred so the chickens naturally head back to the coop to roost in the evening as the sun starts to set.
There are many supplements you can add to both water and feed for your flock if you want to improve their health. The options seem endless so we'll help you sort it all out on our Supplements page.
Are you feeding show birds and want your birds to have that extra glow and shine that will catch the eye of the judges? We have a great article on the topic on our sister website, poultryshowcentral.com. You can read it here.