Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Poultry Feeds - The Best Way to Feed your Chickens

Depending on their gender, members of the Flyte so Fancy Office team this week are suffering from either the "man flu" or a "proper cold". As the last one left to avoid the lurgy, thanks to some superior sneeze and cough dodging skills, I decided to get out of the office with my laptop and find somewhere a little safer from the onslaught of runny noses and the intoxicating smells of blackcurrant Soothers.

My laptop and I consequently set up shop in the feed store. Fashioning a desk and chair from some bags of Garvo Alfamix, making sure my thermos was well stocked with coffee (and after considering its surroundings) the FSF Blog's attention turns towards poultry feeds. We all know the treats and delectable's that our chickens go mad for, and they certainly have their place to help prevent bullying, feather pecking and boredom, but when it comes to the everyday staple diet, making sure your chickens are getting a nutritious and filling feed is important.

Free Range Layer Pellets for Poultry
Smallholder Layer Pellets 20kg
A good poultry feeder, whether it's plastic, galvanised, designed to keep the weather off or for ease of use, having a good strong feeder, able to survive the quirks of British weather, is essential. A good quality feeder will also cut down on issues like wastage from your girls throwing their feed around, also reducing the risk of attracting vermin. Similarly a galvanised feed bin (like the one I'm currently using as a stand for my coffee) is a great way to safely store your feed from mice and to keep it fresh.

A chickens basic feed is a layers pellets. An average hen, will eat around 150g of feed a day, depending on what other sources of food there are available. Layers Pellets should be provided on a free access basis, and whether you go for the organic option or not, they will provide an all round complete feed for your girls. The Smallholder Free Range Layers Pellets that we offer are a great source of Omega 3, a vital ingredient in happy hens and hearty eggs. Omega 3 is just as important to keeping chickens healthy as it is humans, and eggs are a great source of this essential vitamin for people. It also uses linseed as a source as opposed to fish meal, which other feeds do, so no slightly fishy tasting eggs.

Here at FSF we suggest throwing a handful of Mixed Corn down for your hens in the afternoon too. If you leave it on display or mix it in with the layers pellets, you will probably find that your hens ignore everything else but the tasty treats, throwing the unwanted feed out of the feeder and creating a mess. A mix of wheat, barley, maize, peas, oyster shell and grit, it has a little bit of everything that a chicken needs to give them a well balanced diet, when used in conjunction with a layers pellets. An interesting note, make sure you choose a mixed corn that doesn't have too much maize in it. Maize is excellent in the winter for providing chickens with plenty of much needed energy, but too much in the summer can make them put on weight, reduce egg production and make them hyperactive which can lead to bullying through feather pecking.

From my view point up here on top of my Alfamix chair, the full range of poultry feeds are laid out in front of me. From Baby Chick Crumb and Growers Pellets for the poultry breeder, the Organic feed range and the widely respected Garvo feeds. When it comes to feeds, avoid the cheaper option, they are often of a poorer quality, nutritiously poor and can adversely affect the health of your flock.

Well fed healthy poultry at Flyte so Fancy
A few members of the FSF Flock
Having been hustled from my seat by a busy despatch team looking to pack parcels, I headed for the egg box store. Until I get the all clear that the contagion has passed, here I shall remain, perched on a throne built from egg boxes, quietly working away.

There isn't really the time or space here to discuss all the merits and advantages of the all the available and different feeds, but if you have a question about what would be the best feed for your chickens, why not leave a comment or give us a call on 01300 345229.

Thanks for Reading

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