Raising chickens and rural living go hand in hand. Many of us at Tractor Supply raise chickens ourselves and are always available to share what we’ve learned, including how to select the right feed and treats for the breeds you raise.
If you are just starting out, here are a few helpful things to know about selecting feed.
Forms - Poultry feed is commonly available in three forms: crumbles, pellets and mash. Crumbles and pellets are the best choices for adults. (You will probably want to experiment to see which form your chickens prefer.)
Mash is usually best for chicks, because it is easier to eat and digest. You can also mix mash with a little water to achieve a thick oatmeal consistency and feed it to adult chickens as a special treat. (Don’t mix more than can be eaten right away.)
Starter feed has a 16 -22% protein content. This formulation helps chicks get off to a strong start by promoting strong bones and overall health for these quick growing youngsters. If you are raising your chicks to be broilers, choose starter feed at the high end of the protein scale. Whether you are raising layers or broilers, we recommend feeding starter feed to chicks until they are 16 weeks old, then transitioning them to adult feed. Note: Never give chicks adult feed. The minerals in adult feed can be damaging to chick’s kidneys.
Adult feed - Once your chickens reach the young adult stage (16 weeks), you’ll want to wean them off starter feed and into a full time diet of 16 - 20% protein adult feed.
Treats - You wouldn’t want to eat the same food for every meal. Your chickens crave variety, too! Some of their favorites include dried mealworms and sunflower and raisin treats.
An important note about water - Always make sure your chickens have access to fresh, clean water. Clean your water dispenser regularly to prevent water borne illnesses from forming or spreading among your flock.