One of the most common challenges for poultry farmers around the globe is high production costs. This is usually due to the volatility in prices of basic feed ingredients, including corn and soybean meal. What farmers feed to their flock depends on a variety of factors, including the species and age. Over the last few years, there has been an increase in the prices of the ingredients.
Poor quality products will result in deficiencies, meaning your birds will not have enough of a particular nutrient. Every animal can suffer from deficiency issues. In birds, some of the most common signs of the problem include poor health, leg problems, a decline in egg production, and vulnerability to diseases.
If your birds have a protein deficiency, they will become weak and prone to infections. For broilers, their meat production will reduce. Mineral deficiencies are also common. One of the most vital minerals for chicken is calcium. Signs of calcium deficiencies are soft-shelled eggs or the curving of bones of their legs.
The soft shells may make the chicken to develop a habit of eating their eggs, which may become a major problem. Vitamins also play an important role in the growth of your birds. The absence of vitamins in chicken feeds can cause issues such as ruffled feathers and chest problems. Here is a list of 7 simple and healthy meals for poultry:
Feeding fodder crops such as wheat and barley to poultry are gaining prominence around the globe. This has been a common practice for many years now. Why should you grow fodder for your chicken? One of the best answers to the question is that it will lower your production costs significantly.
Fifty pounds of whole grains can translate into as much as 300 pounds of fodder after sprouting. By sprouting them, you increase nutritional content, making them excellent feeds for your chicken. Some of the things you need to make a fodder system include trays, a rack for placing your trays, a drill, whole grains, and water. Drill several holes in the bottom of your trays and ensure that water drains properly.
Some studies have shown that feeding poultry on pastures helps to boost meat and egg production. Do chicken eat grass? Yes. Many farmers have recorded numerous benefits of raising chicken on pasture grass. Research has shown that chicken who roam tend to be healthier and produce more nutritious egg, as they eat grass.
Some of the nutritional benefits outlined during the studies include more omega-3, less saturated fat, more vitamin E, and more beta carotene. The nutritional benefits in the grass cannot be replicated by commercial feeds. Although commercial products contain vitamins and minerals, your poultry will absorb supplements in grass better when in a natural form.
3. Greens and Vegetables
If you find chicken feeding on greens, you may have a hard time when trying to pace them. They love eating tender, succulent greens. You can easily grow them in your backyard vegetable garden and hand-feed them to your poultry. Alternatively, plant them in your chicken runs.
The most important thing here is letting the greens grow to maturity before the chicken can graze on them. The list of vegetables you can feed to your poultry is long and limited by their preferences. Some of the most nutritious vegetables for your chicken are cabbage, beets, and broccoli.
4. Their Egg Shells
You can get eggs from your flock, but you cannot afford to waste their eggshells. Once you have consumed the eggs, grind the eggshells and feed them back to them. Calcium is necessary for poultry to produce eggs with hard shells.
You can mix the eggshells with other poultry supplements to increase the amount of calcium available for them, at no extra cost. Besides having an adverse effect on the hen’s overall health, calcium deficiency will also affect their egg production.
Are you looking for an affordable source of protein for your flock? Consider giving them sunflowers. Other than proteins, sunflowers are rich in oxidants and vitamin E, which boost their immune system. There are two main ways of feeding sunflower seeds to poultry.
You can harvest them and give them to chicken that way or let them peck seeds out of the seed heads. The latter is the easiest. You make this more challenging by hanging sunflower seed heads using a ribbon.
Further Reading: How to Keep Chicken from Freezing
6. Fermented Grains
When you want to grow fodder, the first step involves fermenting grains. You don’t have to create a fodder system. You can also buy wheat seeds and soak them in water overnight. Experts recommend feeding fermented grains to poultry as they have numerous benefits. First, you will save you a significant amount of money on production costs. Additionally, it is an effective way of strengthening your hen’s eggshell consistency.
7. Potato Protein
This is a by-product during the production of potato starch. The benefits of feeding potato protein to chicken varies. According to some studies, it has an antimicrobial effect in the intestines, including a significant reduction in the levels of coliforms.