Helping Your Flock Get the Most Out of Their Meals
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Choosing a feed for your chickens can be tricky. There are tons of options in the feed aisle — every bag claiming to give your bird exactly what they need. But have you ever looked at your feed label and really considered how much of the feed your birds are actually utilizing and how much may just be passing through their system? If you haven’t wondered that, you should — and then take a look at some options to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck when it comes to poultry feed.
When talking about what makes a “good” feed it all comes down to utilization. Ask yourself if your birds can take the feed in and break it down in the most complete possible way to get the most nourishment available? And since my birds can’t talk to me, how do I know?”
Earth First Poultry Feeds provide the opportunity to raise chicks and produce eggs with well-balanced feeds that supply excellent amino acid balances and significant amounts of added omega 3 fatty acids. Earth First Poultry Feeds are designed to produce rapid growth in chicks and strong egg production in laying hens from feeds free of GMO corn and soy, hormone free and medication free with no by-products or fillers. Learn More >>>
The best way to figure out if you are giving your flock good nutrition is to look at what your feed offers in these key areas:
Enzymes: Enzymes are a commonly used ingredient in poultry feeds, and they work to help break down a form of phosphorus found in grains (grains are a key component in poultry diets). Enzymes not only help to reduce phosphorus pollution, but they also improve nutrient uptake. In the ingredient list on your feed tag, look for words like phytase to make sure your feed contains enzymes.
Minerals: Minerals in their simplest forms are basically rocks – and rocks alone are not very digestible. So look for a feed that uses a chelated form of mineral. This is a mineral that has been bound to an amino acid or protein to make it more easily absorbed by the digestive tract. Chelating minerals can increase absorption of essential nutrients. The egg is designed to provide nutrition and protection for the development of the embryo, and mineral nutrition can positively influence egg formation and increase the chances of hatching a viable chick. You can identify chelated minerals in your feed by looking for ingredients like zinc proteinate, manganese proteinate, etc.
Prebiotics – Providing a feed with prebiotics are another way to make sure that you are giving your bird every opportunity to maintain a healthy gut. Prebiotics work to help maintain a healthy digestive tract and provide balance to keep it functioning well. They feed the good bugs found in the digestive system and keep them healthy and functioning. Mannan-oligosaccharides is one of the most commonly used forms of prebiotics in poultry feed.
Ingredients – When assessing your poultry feed, it is good to check the label and review the ingredient list in general. Are you seeing by-products, non-functional ingredients, and fillers? If so, you may want to opt for a different product. Keep an eye out for ingredients that you trust are wholesome and know are beneficial. See who supplies the feed — are they nutrition experts who have experience feeding chickens and other poultry?
Form – When it comes to feed, the form is important. Are the pieces too big for your baby chick to eat? Are you losing too much feed due to waste? Are your birds sorting out some morsels and leaving others?
Wrapping it all up
Chickens are unique because what you put into your bird, depending on your intended use for the animal, can directly impact what you put on your family’s table via meat or eggs. That means that spending an extra minute or two to study what you’re feeding is a worthwhile project. Make sure your feed is nutritious and balanced. Then look at things like preference — are non-GMO ingredients important to you? Do you want a feed that is natural? Do you need medicated or non-medicated feed? Do you like to buy local? It is a great idea to take the time to look through the label on your feed, consider all of your options, and educate yourself on exactly what you are feeding your flock … and your family.
Earth First Poultry Feed’s philosopy is simple, “Healthy Feed Producing Healthy Food.” The farm to mouth philosophy brought to you by people who understand how animal health affects the food they produce. We make it healthy and simple with two great formulas at an affordable price. Chick/Starter Grower for chicks up to laying age or broilers up to harvest age available in a ground mash form for easy digestion. Complete Layer for chickens who have reached laying age available in a pellet form to prevent feed sorting. These feeds have both been formulated as a complete and balanced diet based on age of life and nutritional needs of the birds.