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What do chickens need besides feed?

The main condition for poultry health is a high quality and well-balanced diet, which must contain natural supplements for the effective functioning of the immune system and improving the overall health of the bird. However, young poultry still need a couple of elements – fine gravel and calcium supplements.

Calcium Supplements

Poultry feed already contains some calcium, but it will not be superfluous to add a little more of this mineral to the diet, since eggshells are more than 95% calcium. For this reason, if calcium is lacking in the diet of the laying hen, then the bird’s body has nothing to create a shell from, and calcium begins to be washed out of the bones of the bird. This leads to the fact that the health of the chickens deteriorates, and the bones become fragile..

However, when deciding to enrich the diet of poultry with calcium, you need to remember that you should not mix the calcium supplement with the feed itself. Simply place it in a separate feeder so the birds can enjoy a healthy supplement if they wish. Believe me, this feeder will be in demand only among laying hens, and roosters and young non-carrying hens will not even come up to the bowl. The calcium supplement can be purchased at the store and is a crushed oyster shell. You can make such a useful supplement with your own hands from ordinary eggshell.

Do not throw away the eggshells, it is better to chop them up and put them in an additional feeder

Gravel (non-dissolving)

Chickens have no teeth, and food for its assimilation must be carefully chopped, and wise nature has its own way of doing this. If the bird is free to move, it walks around the yard and picks up small pebbles and earth from the ground and swallows them. However, if the bird is limited in movement, then these very small pebbles should be offered to her along with food. Again, do not mix feed and gravel, it is better to pour them into a separate container. If necessary, the chickens will go to this feeder themselves. The gravel consumed by the bird is stored in the gizzard and used for digestion overnight. The stones are so small that they freely pass through the digestive tract of the bird.

Since in the warm season, chickens are regularly released to walk around the yard, there are no problems with gravel, the birds get it themselves. But with the arrival of cold weather, the ground freezes, is covered with a layer of snow, and the chickens do not get access to the stones. It is quite simple to solve this problem: before the onset of cold weather, collect a couple of buckets of earth and gravel, put them in the chicken coop. Birds will peck at the right size pebbles themselves..

Grain mix

A mixture of a wide variety of grains is a real treat for chickens. Mixed cereals should make up 10% of the total poultry diet: this is less than a tablespoon per day for one chicken. It is worth treating birds with this delicacy only in cold weather and exclusively before bedtime, since digestion takes place at night, and the energy released during the digestion of grains will be used to keep the bird warm. You can buy the cereal mixture at the store, or you can make it yourself..

Buy different types of beans and mix them in a separate bowl.

Dried young dandelion leaves

Grasses, including weeds, are very nutritious for birds. Add dry chopped grass to the diet every day, this helps to increase the immunity of the bird, affects the smell of manure and the fact that the egg yolks are bright yellow.

Collect dandelions in summer, dry and chop. In winter, when the chicken does not have access to fresh grass, you can supplement your bird’s diet with this mixture. You can use not only dandelions, but also other herbs that grow in your area – parsley, oregano, sage and basil..

Feeding chickens in winter – video

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