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Winter Feeding for Chickens — More!

Content supplied by Purina

We've already heard that chickens need more feed to keep warm in the winter. Now more details!

Everyone needs to eat for energy. We need energy for everything — from blinking our eyes to running a marathon. Even sleeping requires energy! Chickens need additional energy in winter to stay warm, so the amount of food offered needs to be increased. Heat created in the process of digestion helps warm birds from the inside out. Chickens should have access to feed throughout the day. However, once they roost at night, birds typically will not eat anymore until the next day. You may need to experiment to determine what the ideal amount of feed to offer each day is so that you end up with very little left over. Keep in mind that the colder it gets, the more chickens will eat, so you may need to make adjustments throughout the season.

A starting estimate on how much to feed is about ¼ pound per bird per day. You may have to increase or decrease according to how much the chickens actually eat, but having a starting point is very helpful. In the winter chickens may eat upwards of 25% or more feed.

If you feed scratch or table scraps, you don't want a lot of leftover feed lying around is that it will attract pests, in particular rodents and even predators like raccoons or possums. Minimizing the temptation of food will help keep your chickens safe! If you do have leftovers, if you don't throw them out, you might consider taking them in the house or garage at night, somewhere secure from unwanted guests.

Purina® Layena® provides energy, protein, key vitamins and minerals and other essential nutrients to help provide a well balanced diet to chickens raised in a broad range of management programs and in a wide variety of environmental and climatic conditions. Layena Plus is formulated to increase the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids in the diet, and subsequently in the eggs! Heart healthy Omega-3's are a wonderful addition to the diet.

Everyone loves a treat, and so will your chickens. Treats such as mealworms, scratch or seeds are a welcome snack your birds will love. Remember that scratch grains are not nutritionally balanced, so they shouldn't be the sole diet. Layena will take care of that!

If chickens don't drink, they will not eat. We've just learned that chickens eat more in the cold to help them stay warm, and to make sure they get enough essential nutrients. Ensuring birds drink and eat enough is very important for these reasons.

It goes without saying that water is essential. Chickens need constant access to fresh drinking water, which can pose a challenge when temperatures drop below freezing. Check your local farm store for a good quality heated waterer, such as one with a heated base. Keep an eye on cords and plugs to make sure they stay in good working order all season.