How to feed chickens in winter
One of the most popular poultry in the post-Soviet space is chicken. This unpretentious assistant has been the nurse of millions of families for many decades. On the one hand, breeding chickens is a very profitable event due to the constant availability of light, healthy and dietary meat. Chickens, on the other hand, are a constant source of eggs, which are used in cooking homemade food almost daily. With year-round maintenance, you need to know how to feed chickens in winter and summer.
How to feed laying hens in winter
In order for them to rush regularly, they need proper care: special conditions of detention, temperature conditions and the right diet. Feeding layers in the summer does not cause much trouble, as nature itself provides the necessary conditions: grass, grain, etc. But how to feed chickens in the winter indoors is an important issue that worries many beginner poultry farmers. Today we will try to exhaustively answer him and tokak to prepare food for your chickens in winter.
The Basics of the Right Diet for Layers
Before proceeding to consider the features of the winter menu of laying hens, it is necessary to highlight the general principles of feeding this type of chicken. It is important for the owners of domesticated birds to understand that in this case, the old folk wisdom, which says that you sow, you will reap, just in case, because the quality and quantity of eggs received at the exit directly depends on the quality of the bird's nutrition. So, what components must be present in the diet of laying hens at any time of the year, what is the best way to feed them? To answer this question, we turn to the list offered by professionals.
- The first basis of the menu is vitamins that can be added to the winter diet of domestic chickens. A well-known fact is the need to systematically maintain the immune system of pets. A sick bird cannot carry a sufficient number of eggs, and sometimes it completely loses this ability. Vitamins can be given in the form of a specially selected complex, which is actually purchased in veterinary pharmacies. You can also mix yeast for baking, fish oil, green grass, etc. into the feed. All these products are rich in vitamins A, B and D, on which the quality of eggs and the health of the bird itself directly depend.
- Another important element is proteins. They are found in products such as soybeans, rapeseed, etc. It is they that become the basis for the formation of eggs, so their importance for feeding chickens is difficult to overestimate.
- The next component of the laying hen's diet is carbohydrates. They are especially rich in substances such as starch, sugar and fiber, respectively, poultry farmers who want to increase the productivity of their wards must regularly give them beets, pumpkins and potatoes.
- The final factor is called fats. They are consumed in the chicken body directly during the formation of eggs. In addition, this element is needed for energy production by the bird, so feeding must necessarily include grain and corn, which are enriched in fats by nature itself. A healthy, viable chicken will emerge from a quality egg.
Types of food for laying hens
Experienced owners of this common poultry, when asked what to feed the laying hens in winter, distinguish several main types of food: protein, concentrated and green. Let us dwell on each of them in more detail. Protein feed is divided by its etiology into plant and animal, but both species must be present on the menu. To enrich the feeding of laying hens with proteins, they need to be fed with small fish, add meat and bone and fish meal and legumes.
feed, which is called concentrated, implies grain and corn. Both of these products incorporate the maximum amount of concentrated elements and perfectly fill the chicken body with the necessary substances. In addition, both grain and corn are quickly digested in the poultry stomach and do not require special energy costs for this, which are necessary for the formation of eggs.
The disadvantage of grain nutrition is the lack of amino acids and proteins, so if you are going to feed the layers only with grain, you will not achieve high results in egg production.
As for the type of grain included in the diet of birds, the wider its choice, the better. It is important not to focus only on wheat or corn because feeding hens in winter should not be limited to these products only. Barley and oats should be added. The more diverse the filling of the feeder, the better for your pets.
Green food is the most popular product among poultry farmers in the summer. Do not forget that fresh green grass should be at least a quarter of the daily menu of chickens. Useful for them is young nettle, peas, clover. Young shoots of meadow herbs will become very useful, because they are most saturated with trace elements useful to the body. Toward the end of the summer period, you can add cabbage leaves, tops of carrots and beets and unnecessary fruits (if possible) to the diet.
Winter diet of laying hens
Of course, the summer period of keeping chickens is the most favorable time, during which they are better stocked with necessary vitamins using natural feed. But sooner or later, nature takes its toll, the seasons change, taking with it both green grass and leaves of tops of home vegetables. It is impossible to stock them up for the winter, because the birds do not feed on hay, like cows, for example, so feeding your chickens in winter can make it difficult for beginner poultry farmers. However, one should also understand this issue and how chickens get good nutrition in the winter.
First of all, you need to understand that when keeping chickens at home in the winter, they need to be fed especially often. This is due to the fact that in the cold season, the bird spends a lot of energy to maintain the desired body temperature. In order for the bird to not freeze, it must be placed in an enclosed space and to ensure the proper maintenance and feeding of domestic chickens in winter. Proper care for the nurse implies compliance with the temperature regime in the chicken coop, so it is advised in advance to take care of its possible warming and creating the most comfortable conditions. The warmer it will be, the less force the bird will spend on not freezing, directing this energy to the formation of eggs, and this is the main purpose of keeping the layers.
How to feed birds in the cold?
Feeding chickens in winter should be carried out at least 2-3 times a day. In the morning, seasoned poultry farmers are advised to feed the birds warm food, for example, a mash. It is necessary to mix boiled potatoes, fish broth, vegetables and porridge, if possible - add cottage cheese or milk. Pets will be very grateful for such a royal breakfast and will be rewarded with a large number of eggs!
Particular attention must be paid to potatoes. It is an excellent source of starch, which is necessary for the formation of an egg shell. This means that without it, strong eggs from chickens cannot be obtained. It is important to organize a separate stock of potatoes for birds in advance. To do this, it is not at all necessary to select or buy a good large root crop. An economical option is small potatoes, which are not suitable for cooking a person’s food. It can be redeemed from people who are breeding this culture. Its price is usually low, but its presence in the diet is mandatory for laying hens. During the day you can pamper the bird with compound feed, however, it is important to try to mix chalk, table salt or shell dust into it. All these components improve the ability to form eggs in the body.
In the evening, caring for chickens at home involves feeding a mixture of different grains, into which it is desirable to add barley meal. Such a nutritious dinner will help keep the layers healthy until morning and maintain their body temperature. Here, a clarification should be made: usually veterinarians recommend grinding cereals before feeding them a bird. The optimum size of the chopped pieces is 1-2 mm. So it will be easier for the bird to swallow and digest food, which will reduce its energy costs and save them for egg laying. In order to properly prepare grain feeds, it will not be superfluous to watch special videos on the Internet in which experienced owners explain all the rules for compiling them in an accessible way.
If during the preparation of homemade food there was food waste in the form of cabbage leaves, peeling beets, carrots or other crops, you should not rush to throw them away: they are perfect for feeding chickens. A good option is to cook porridge for poultry with them: it will serve as a wonderful breakfast.
What else is important to remember
Of course, it is advisable to stock up on winter feed species of vegetables especially for laying hens. They can be grown in the summer in your own garden or bought at autumn fairs. Usually vegetables such as fodder beets or carrots cost much less than their more noble relatives, and are quite accessible for caring owners who constantly include them in the winter feeding of their laying hens.
Do not forget to add birds and seeds to the winter diet. In this case, both sunflower seeds and zucchini or pumpkin seeds are suitable. They are rich in trace elements and only play into the hands of those who want to get a big egg from their pets. Pumpkin itself can be given raw. This beautiful product is well stored in the winter and unpretentious in cultivation, so it is extremely important to take care of its stocks from the summer. You need to allocate a small piece of land in your garden for this crop, and in winter the bird will be provided with tasty and wholesome food. In general, giving it to chickens does not make sense, it will be much more rational to rub it on a medium grater and add it to dry cereal mixtures or cereals.
Care for birds is the key to success
In winter, it is especially important to help the laying hens maintain immunity. Green grass, young shoots of clover and nettle are not available at this time, therefore, the artificial introduction of various vitamins and minerals necessary for their body is strictly necessary in the winter. It is extremely important to select their complexes together with the veterinarian, only then it will be possible to count on good rates of egg laying.
So, in order to bring into the system all of the above recommendations, we consider the following list of recommended foods and their quantities based on 1 head of poultry per day in the winter:
- chalk - 3 g;
- boiled potatoes - 120 g;
- bone meal - 2-3 g;
- grain - 60 g;
- oilcake - 6-8 g;
- serum - 90-100 g;
- bran - 15 g;
- table salt - 0.5 g;
- warm grain mash - 35 g.
It remains only to count the number of livestock and prepare the necessary amount of food for the layers, based on the already known proportions. Overfeeding the bird is not recommended, because excess food will turn into fatty deposits and may interfere with the amount of laying. In addition, chickens may simply not eat excess food, and it will quickly disappear (this primarily concerns boiled cereals and warm whey mixtures), which is an irrational budget expenditure. It will be useful to take a closer look at how much pets can consume, and each time try to cook just that amount of food.
Laying hens, like all other poultry, require special care. If you want to get a high-quality result from them in the form of a large number of eggs, you should not neglect the quality and quantity of properly prepared food for them, and then the hopes will certainly be justified! You can even remove the feeding of your chickens in the winter on video and share your successes with friends.