When to change baby chicks food
What To Feed Your Chickens From Chicks To Egg-Laying Hens
Fluffy chicks are one of the cutest, most-difficult-to-resist animals on Earth each spring. Your backyard could be the perfect paradise for those wee things to grow up and lay eggs for you and your family to enjoy.
But first, deciding to raise chicks takes more than just buying a few and bringing them home. You’ll need a safe, comfortable coop in place for the new chicks to call home. Plus, it should have a reliable heat source, food and water stations, and plenty of premium chicken (poultry) feed. Before getting started, make sure you have all the necessities for raising backyard chickens.
From there, your new chickens will need to be fed within hours of arrival, and every day going forward. Like all growing things, the right nutrients will help them through every stage of life. Keep in mind, chicks grow fast! With a healthy diet, your chickens will be laying eggs before you know it. As your chicks mature, the types of feed they’ll need will change a couple of times, in just a matter of weeks. Let’s take a look at which feeds are best for your chickens, depending on their age.
The Importance of Age-Appropriate Poultry Feed
Starter Feed For Baby Chicks: 0-8 Weeks Old
From birth through about eight weeks, chickens rapidly change as they go from chicks to pullets. Your baby chicks need starter feed to establish and support their bone health and immunity. A healthful starter feed should be filled with complete proteins, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Your chicks should eat starter feed for the first eight weeks of their life, until they are introduced to grower feed.
Grower Feed For Pullets: 8-16 Weeks Old
At about eight weeks, chicks are now considered pullets. It’s a good idea to transition them to a grower feed focused on healthy development. At this stage, these feeds should have a slightly lower protein content and calcium level (less than 1.25%), but still include omega-3s and other essential nutrients to support digestion and health.
Layer Feed For Hens: 16+ Weeks
Once your pullets have started laying eggs, it’s time to transition these now hens to a higher-calcium and protein-rich layer feed intended to help them lay strong, healthy eggs. All hens lay eggs on their own schedule. Some can lay as early as 16 weeks; some need as long as 32. You can switch to layer feed at 16 weeks, or wait until you find your first egg. If you’re also raising the flock for their meat, you’ll want to look for a feed with a higher protein content to help them develop strong muscles and keep up their energy.
Poultry Scratch & Other Treats
Chick grit, scratches, and similar supplements are designed to aid chicks, pullets, and hens in food digestion. They should be fed like treats and kept to small amounts with the goal of helping your flock engage their natural instincts for scratching and pecking.
IFA Premium Blend Poultry Scratch is a three-way blend of high-quality grains. This healthful blend of cracked corn, whole wheat, and barley encourages natural scratching and pecking while aiding in digestion. A word of caution: Treats are only a small part of a healthy diet. Scratch and other treats should never make up more than 10% of your flocks’ diet.
What nutrients do your chickens need?
A complete diet ensures your chickens have sufficient energy for laying eggs, staying warm in cold climates, or cooling off in the heat of summer. A good quality feed for chickens has a protein content between 16-20% and is enhanced with omega-3s. Additional nutrients should include prebiotics, probiotics, calcium, and magnesium.
Protein helps chickens maintain their energy levels as they continue to grow and lay. Omega-3s are vital for more nutritious eggs. Prebiotics and probiotics boost immune and digestive health, while calcium–which may deplete with daily egg laying–and magnesium are needed for strong shells and bones.
Keep in mind, chickens eat to fill their nutritional requirements. Supplying your flock a nutrient dense feed will result in less waste, and not all feeds provide everything your chickens need.
IFA’s 3-Step Poultry Program
At IFA, we proudly offer a variety of feed for each stage of your chicken’s development. Our 3-step Poultry Program is specifically blended by our nutritionists to meet all of your chicken’s nutrient and energy requirements at the proper time. By doing so, it ensures your chickens grow healthy and productive, while laying the most nutritious eggs.
Step 1: Chick Starter Crumble
Our chick starter is formulated to give your chicks their best start at life with 20% protein, omega-3s like DHA for healthy brain development, and prebiotics and probiotics for improved gut health and immune development. Our All Natural Chick Starter Crumble is hormone and antibiotic free. Feed from birth to 8 weeks of age.
Step 2: Pullet Developer Crumble
Optimized for healthy growing rates in chickens, our All Natural Pullet Developer Crumble has 16% protein. This feed is packed with vitamins and minerals that maintain healthful immunity and bone strength. Use this feed to help your adolescent chickens develop into healthy, laying adults. Feed from 8 weeks until your chickens begin laying.
Step 3: Poultry Layer Mash, Pellets & Crumble
When it comes to our All Natural Poultry Layer Crumble, you’ll get an excellent blend of 18% protein along with added omega-3s, calcium, and magnesium for mature laying hens. This mix provides balanced nutrition that encourages healthy eggs, digestive systems, and immunity.
For a higher protein content to help meet energy requirements, look for IFA Poultry Layer Pellet or Mash 20%. Feed when your chickens begin laying (about 18 weeks).
Additional note: If you keep your flock past their egg laying years, we recommend reverting back to feeding a pullet developer. They will not need the extra calcium that’s present in the layer feed formulas.
Your chickens will begin to molt–lose and replace their feathers–around 18 months and egg production will drop off. During this period, feed your flock with a high protein feed (18-20%). Feathers are made up of protein and a higher protein feed helps ensure they regrow healthy and more quickly. After the molting process is complete, your chickens will begin to lay normally again.
Knowing what to feed your chickens is the first step towards having happy, healthy, and productive flocks throughout their natural egg-laying life. Confidently start your backyard flock of fluffballs this spring with the knowledge that you’re providing the best possible feed for them at every stage of development.
If you have additional questions or need support raising your flock, contact your local IFA. We’ll be happy to help.
Download our brochure on chicken feed, treats and supplements with Healthy Tips and a Chick Supply Checklist
Information for this article was provided by Heidi Wayment, M.S., Nutritionist, Draper IFA Feed; Sandie Shupe, Poultry, Rabbit & Animal Health Manager, Ogden IFA Country Store; Maureen Goodrich, Poultry, Rabbit, Pet & Tack Manager, Logan IFA Country Store; and Jill Singleton, Bagged Feed Category Manager, IFA.
Feeding Chickens at Different Ages
Chickens at different stages of development require different feed formulations. Poultry nutritionists formulate feed to ensure that chickens get all the nutrients they need daily in commercially available feeds. Since bagged feed from established, reputable feed companies are a nutritionally balanced food source, anything that is added to the birds’ diet dilutes the nutrient balance they should be getting daily. Even healthy snacks should only be offered rarely, in moderation so as not to tip the balance too far in any direction.
I strongly caution against dabbling in assembling homemade feed blends. Imprecise calculations and the wrong ingredients can affect growth in young chickens, egg production in layers and result in negative, long-term health consequences. “Mixing rations is the most complex aspect of poultry management and isn’t something you should undertake if you’re just starting out.
Ration formulation requires:
- availability of appropriate feedstuffs
- analysis of feedstuff composition
- knowledge of the nutritional needs of chickens
- ability to mix feed in quantity your flock will use within four weeks.”1 Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, Damerow
“The adventure of homemade chicken feed mixing isn’t for the casual flock keeper, though. You need a solid knowledge of poultry nutrition to balance a ration properly and avoid nutritional deficiencies. Feeding unconventional feed ingredients does carry some risk because unexpected problems may happen, such as digestive upset, toxicities, or spoilage.”2 Dr. Julie Gauthier, DVM, MPH, Dipl.ACVPM
The following is intended as a general guideline for feeding commercial feeds to laying hens. The availability of certain feed varies by geographic location, therefore, the manufacturer’s recommendations should always be followed.STARTER FEED, Day 1 to 18 weeks (Chicks)
Day-old chicks through 18 weeks old require starter feed, aka starter crumbles, containing 20% protein. Starter feed contains the highest percentage of protein a layer will ever consume, which makes sense given their astronomical rate of growth in the first few months of life.
Starter feed can be purchased in both medicated and unmedicated varieties. Medicated feed contains amprolium, which protects chicks from the progression of coccidiosis, a common and deadly intestinal disease that is spread in fecal matter. Chicks that have received the coccidiosis vaccine should not be fed medicated starter, as the amprolium will render the vaccine useless and the chicks vulnerable to the disease. When purchasing ‘vaccinated’ chicks, it’s important to know which vaccines they received.
When conditions become overcrowded, dirty, wet and warm from the heat source, coccidiosis can thrive with deadly consequences. These types of unhealthy conditions are significantly less likely to occur with pet chickens than they are with commercial poultry operations. Chickens build up a natural immunity to the organisms that cause coccidiosis with or without medicated starter. Allowing chicks to build up an immunity in clean, dry conditions will serve them well when they are ready to head out to the big kid coop and medicated feed helps keep parasite populations that cause coccidiosis in check while they build immunity to them.
Most new chicken-keepers wonder at what age a chick can be given treats. Chicks are tiny and treats will replace a percentage of the nutrition in starter ration that their rapidly-growing bodies require. I recommend no treats at all.GRIT
The term grit describes hard materials such as sand, dirt or small stones that aid in digestion. While starter feed and layer crumbles and pellets needs no help being digested, treats, grains and other fibrous foods may require grit to aid in breaking them down. Since chickens have no teeth, fibrous foods are ground with grit in the gizzard, which is a muscle in the digestive tract. Chickens foraging outside will naturally pick up bits of grit from the ground, those that do not forage outside must have grit supplied to them in a dish apart from their feed.LAYER FEED, 18 weeks
Chicks should be transitioned to layer feed at 18 weeks. Layer feed should not be fed to chickens younger than 18 weeks unless they have begun egg-laying because it contains calcium that can permanently damage the kidneys, reduce lifetime egg production and shorten a bird’s lifespan.Click here for DIY instructions for this feeder
Layer feed is commonly available in mash, crumbles and pellet forms, all of which describe the size of the feed. Mash is the smallest and pellets, the largest. Layer feed generally contains 16-18% protein and has added calcium, which is necessary for strong bones and creating eggshells.SUPPLEMENTAL CALCIUM
While layer feeds contain a fast-release source of calcium, a slow-release source of calcium such as crushed oyster shells should be made available to laying hens in a separate dish, apart from the feed, not mixed into the feed by chicken keepers. All laying hens have different calcium requirements and will consume as much oyster shell as they need. Crushed eggshells alone are not an adequate calcium source of supplemental calcium for laying hens.3
Hens deprived of adequate amounts of dietary calcium will utilize the calcium stored within their own bones to produce eggshells, which is unhealthy for them.LIMIT TREATS
A nutritionally complete layer feed provides all of the nutrients a chicken requires in the correct forms and amounts. Offering snacks, treats, fruits, vegetables, scratch, corn, mealworms, sunflower seeds, or table scraps dilutes the complete nutrition in a balanced feed. Limit snacks and treats, even healthy choices, to no more than 2 tablespoons per bird per day and only rarely. Diluting the nutrition in the hens’ feed can cause many problems, including aggression, obesity, feather picking, egg binding and reduced egg production. Laying hens are better off without any treats/snacks at all.SCRATCH
Chicken scratch is NOT chicken feed. The contents of scratch vary, but it consists primarily of cracked corn and any number of other grains. It’s a source of energy (think: carbs) but is not a good source of vitamins, minerals or protein. “Scratch should be fed sparingly, if at all.” 2 I do not recommend giving chickens scratch at all.Scratch is NOT chicken feed, it’s junk food.FEEDING DIFFERENT AGE GROUPS TOGETHER
Given the power and force of chicken math, chickens of mixed age groups often occupy the same living space at any given time, which raises the question of how to feed each properly. This situation isn’t ideal, but it’s not unique either. Feeding an unmedicated starter/grower to a flock of mixed age birds with oyster shell available free-choice (in a separate dish) is the best solution. The additional protein in the starter/grower ration won’t hurt the older birds, but the calcium in layer feed can damage the kidneys of growing birds.FREE FEEDING vs. RESTRICTED FEEDING
A laying hen’s full-time day job is eating. A free-feed dining option is the best and most common in backyard flocks, one in which chickens eat in small increments at their leisure throughout the day. Chickens have a unique digestive system that can accommodate only a small amount of food at a time in their crops. Alternatively, with a restricted feeding schedule, chickens are fed at specific intervals during the day. Restricted feeding generally requires the use of several feeders even in a small flock and should not be employed without a good reason for doing so and a clear understanding of the purpose of restricted feeding.Sources and further reading
1 Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, Damerow, Gail. Storey Publishing, 1995, pg. 49.
2 The Chicken Encyclopedia, Damerow, Gail. Storey Publishing, 2012. pg. 235
3 *Gail Damerow, Backyard Poultry Magazine Volume 9, Number 3 June/July, 2014
You May Also Like
Compound feed "Start" for chickens: composition, preparation, feeding tips
A well-known folk saying “chickens are counted in the fall” appeared for a reason. This is due to the high mortality of young animals in the first days of life. Moreover, the reason for this is not diseases and conditions of detention, but an improperly selected diet. This is the main factor influencing the production of a fresh and strong stock, which in the future can demonstrate high egg production or good weight gain.
- Compound feed for chickens - main advantages
- Description of compound feed "Start"
- Appropriate age to use Start
- Compound feed analogues "Start"
- Formulation and composition
- Preparation and Feeding Rules
- Dosage advice
- Helpful Hints for Breeders
Compound feed for chickens - main advantages
Properly selected nutrition will not only provide the chicks with excellent health in the future, but also increase their productive abilities. It is the diet and its wealth that form the basis of immunity and resistance to various infections, diseases and parasites from the first days.
Choosing a combined feed, the breeder receives a completely balanced and prepared type of feeding, which includes not only the main grain components, but also a sufficient amount of micro and macro elements, vitamins and other components that contribute to the proper development of the bird and accelerate its growth.
Description of compound feed "Start"
This is one of the best feeds today, it is a benchmark for manufacturers and combines only the best ingredients. It is suitable for young animals from the first day of life and has a beneficial effect on their development. The composition is well digested and perfectly absorbed, suitable for ordinary chickens and broiler chicks.
Among its advantages are:
- Composition - well-chosen components with all the necessary additives and biologically active substances.
- Feeding scheme - the food is very easy to use, does not require time-consuming kneading and preparation.
- Savings - portioning and rational use will reduce waste and minimize food costs. Dry mixes do not deteriorate in the feeders, do not turn sour.
- Growth quality - due to the composition of the feeding significantly improves the quality of weight gain, improves immunity and reduces mortality.
- Convenience - feed can be easily divided into portions or norms without spending much time. It is not necessary to measure the amount of proteins, minerals and vitamins by grams, it is enough to open a pack of the finished mixture and distribute it among the feeders, observing the required dosage.
- Storage - the food lies perfectly at home at room temperature and is unpretentious.
- Cost - quite adequate prices help poultry owners to significantly reduce the cost of feeding young animals.
Appropriate age for the start food
It is this type of compound feed that was popularly called "null" because it is perfect for feeding only hatched babies from the first hours of birth. But there are slight differences in the composition for ordinary chickens and broilers:
- Suitable for chicks from 0 to 7 weeks of age (laying hens) but no more.
- For broilers, two weeks of feeding with this feed is sufficient. It can be used without additional additives or in combination with grass, wet mash, but be sure to provide young animals with unlimited access to water.
Compound feed analogs "Start"
Among the competing feeds, you can most often find PC-0, intended for nutrition from 1 to 14 days after birth. PC-5, or "krupka", is also one of the most popular. Also there are "Starter", "Nulevka", the feed of the "Solnyshko" brand has become widely known.
Separately, it is worth paying attention to the markings PK-5-3 and PK-5-4, which are suitable for special feeding of weakened or sick chicks. Sometimes they are called prelaunch.
Formulation and composition
The main components of the Start feed are wheat and corn, which are supplemented with:
- limestone and fish meal;
- soybean meal;
- vegetable oils;
- and other additives.
Exchange energy indicator - 305 Kcal.
The mixture for newborn broilers is slightly different in composition. It has an increased percentage of crude protein, added fiber, and an exchange energy index of 300 Kcal. The composition also includes acids in the form of methionine, lysine, cystine, tryptophan compounds, sodium, calcium and phosphorus.
The combination of all components is balanced and selected taking into account the characteristics of age. The content of nutrients, trace elements, minerals allows you to deliver everything you need to the body of the chick, having a good effect on digestion, the formation of the bone skeleton, and a rapid increase in muscles. After using this feed, the chicks improve their egg production and weight, and the body's resistance to various infectious diseases increases.
Start feed contains no antibiotics and their derivatives, GMOs, no special growth and weight gain stimulants. Production is carried out in accordance with established standards (according to GOST 18221 - 99), only environmentally friendly products and natural ingredients are used.
The release form is small crumbs or grains, which are packed in bags of the required weight of 25 kg. When purchasing compound feed, it is necessary to familiarize yourself with the composition so as not to purchase a low-quality product filled with artificial additives and synthetic hormones, which have a bad effect on the overall development of chicks and can contribute to the appearance of hormonal and behavioral abnormalities.
Rules for preparation and feeding
In fact, Start feed is a complete nutritional composition for both newly hatched chicks and grown chickens a few days old. It is completely ready and does not require adjustments and additions.
Every breeder must remember that there must be water in the drinkers at all times. It is important to provide chickens with unlimited access to it.
There is always an instruction on the package, which lists the basic rules of feeding, and lists the daily allowances, so it will be most correct to familiarize yourself with the recommendations and strictly follow them in the future. The daily rate is usually divided into several doses. For example, in the first 5 days, the chicks should eat at least 6, but not more than 8 times a day, after which this amount is reduced to 3–4. Ten-day-old chicks need 3 feedings per day.
Compound feed is given both in dry form and soaked with the use of broth, whey, yogurt, which should be slightly warmed up, since chickens eat warm food more willingly.
In the future, the owners should remember that it is impossible to drastically change the type of food, it must be introduced gradually, changing the dosage, since the chicks are very sensitive and may react negatively to the changes taking place.
The correct calculation must be made from the first day. After birth and until the seventh day, 10-20 grams per chick is enough. The second week involves increasing the dose to 20-40 grams. From 14 to 21 days, the volume is increased to 60 grams, from 21 to 28 - up to 80 grams. From the 28th to the 35th day, the total daily weight per head can be from 115 g, and for broilers it can reach up to 170 g.
It is important to constantly monitor the nutritional behavioral factors of the chicks and clearly understand what they require. If the food is eaten quickly, and nothing remains in the feeder for 20-30 minutes (maximum), it is necessary to increase the daily dose, even despite the recommendations of the manufacturers. In no case should starvation be allowed, otherwise it will have a bad effect not only on growth, but also on the general health of the livestock.
Helpful tips for breeders
The main indicator when choosing a food base is the future purpose of the chick - it will be grown for eggs or for meat. Therefore, the breed plays an important role and orients the owner to the presence of certain components in the composition. Egg-laying chickens need a large amount of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and for meat chickens, protein is a priority, which covers all the needs of rapidly developing babies.
Another nuance for future laying hens is the absence of hormonal supplements in the mixture aimed at accelerating growth.
In the first days, it is necessary to add a weak solution of potassium permanganate to the drinkers, which will help improve digestive functions, neutralize possible poisoning, improve digestibility and help prevent diseases such as salmonellosis or pullorosis.
An additional feeder can be installed, where calcined sand and crushed shells will be poured so that the chicks can consume natural minerals for the development of a healthy bone apparatus.
At the age of 3 weeks, the chicks can be let out for walks - for a start for a short period, gradually increasing it. This will not only help strengthen the immune system, but also teach the chickens to be more independent. It is very important to prevent hypothermia in the early days so that the chicks do not catch a cold.
For a change, from the 5th day of life, you can sometimes add protein products such as cottage cheese, buttermilk and whey to the diet, into which you can cut greens, carrots, nettles, cabbage leaves. In some cases, herbs are added to enrich nutrition - wood lice, plantain, sedge. From fruits, preference is given to apples, sometimes garden berries. Among vegetables, zucchini, boiled potatoes, pumpkin are especially popular. Leftovers from the table in the form of cereals, peelings, fish giblets with the addition of salt and ground eggshells can also be given to chickens, but the main thing is that the products are not spoiled.
Each chicken owner chooses the most suitable and economical option for himself: feed chickens only with natural ingredients or dry food. Compound feed today has gained great popularity among breeders and is quite in demand in the modern market, so you should choose the right manufacturer and be sure to take into account all the recommendations of specialists.
Rules for feeding broilers at home
When it comes to feeding broilers at home, we mean the process by which chicks build up body weight in a short period of time, at which the birds are ready for slaughter. In contrast to large poultry farms, where broilers are fattened mainly with combined feeds, in the conditions of home farmsteads they manage mainly greens, vegetables and kitchen waste, it is much cheaper.
This article is about how to properly feed broilers in small and medium farms.
- 1 What to feed chickens
- 1.1 Daily chickens-Broilers
- 1.2 Weekly Broilers
- 1.3 diet for half a month
- 2 diets of salacs
- 1 Video “Fatting broilers without feed”
How to feed chickens
Those with experience in raising poultry recommend that day-old broilers, as soon as they dry out and have dissolved residual yolk, give chopped boiled eggs, fat-free cottage cheese, wet mash based on starter combined feed for chickens , or a mixture of crushed barley, wheat, oats, millet with boiled millet. Feeding is done at least every three hours. Compound feed can cause diarrhea in chickens, in this case, you should switch to feeding with dry millet and give the birds a weak solution of manganese.
On the fifth day after the start of feeding, broilers are actively accustomed to feeding with starter feed, at the same time giving preventive medications. When week-old young animals get used to such a diet, it will be right to mix whey and low-fat cottage cheese into the feeders. At two weeks of age, the menu of small homemade broilers is diversified with a small amount of nettle and green onions.
Diet for half-month-old chicks
During this period, slightly grown chicks already digest almost any fresh greens. At the same time, boiled fish and liver are added to the feed, you can start giving baker's yeast (2 grams per head). Mixers can be cooked in meat broth. When giving meat and fish products, care should be taken to ensure that they are fresh, otherwise problems with the intestines in young animals cannot be avoided. A day later, for prevention, you need to continue drinking with a manganese solution.
Two-week-old domestic chicks are recommended by veterinarians to be soldered with Baycox to avoid coccidiosis, after a three-day vitamin course before this, which consists in adding B vitamins to drinking water.
Poultry farmers often feed young broiler chickens with exclusively wet mashes. Chickens should be introduced to such feed carefully and gradually. To do this, starting from a week of age, fresh carrots or pumpkin chopped on a coarse grater are added to the chicken feed. From about the third week, leftover bread and boiled potatoes are added to cereals. Young broilers are very fond of chopped dandelion greens, alfalfa and nettles. They can also be added to mixes.
The value of dairy products to broiler chickens cannot be overestimated. Thanks to whey, skimmed milk, yogurt and low-fat cottage cheese, birds receive additional protein and calcium necessary for normal development.
Monthly chick diet
With intensive fattening of broilers, the diet based on starter feed is designed for young stock up to a month old. After that, the birds are usually transferred to natural food. This has a positive effect on the taste of meat, and it is much cheaper.
The main food for monthly broiler chickens are crushed grains of various crops: wheat, oats, corn, barley, peas.
Some poultry farmers, in order to avoid confusion, add all the ingredients in equal proportions and dilute them with whey or meat broth with the addition of cottage cheese and fish oil.
Almost any fresh greens from the garden are suitable for young hens, such as: beetroot, cabbage leaves, radish tops, lettuce leaves, green onions. These supplements provide the young with essential nutrients and vitamins.
When broilers are one month old, part of the norm of barley and wheat in their diet can be given not crushed, but whole grain, preferably pre-sprouted, and replace the starter feed with the finishing mix, which can be prepared at home according to the recipe:
- 25% - wheat;
- 25% - barley;
- 10% - peas;
- 20% - corn;
- 20% - soybeans
- 5% - sunflower meal.
In addition to these components, it is useful to add small amounts of fishmeal, finely ground chalk, shell rock, yeast and vitamin supplements to home-made food. They are useful for broilers at any age. Birds also eagerly eat the pulp of zucchini and pumpkins and food waste.
Broiler chickens need to be fed in plenty, i.e. feeders should never be empty. If broilers were fattened according to all the rules that are set out in this material, then by the age of one month the birds will already weigh from 0.5 to 0.7 kilograms, and they can be transferred to an adult diet or to free range, and fed there.
Scheme of adding feed by age
To competently organize the process of fattening broilers at home, scientific organizations have created a special program "Start - Fattening - Finish", which allows farmers to prepare the necessary feed mixtures on their own.
The recipe for the smallest chicks must include corn, soybeans, wheat, cake, yeast, bone and fish meal, crushed chalk, shell rock and premix.
At the next stage of fattening, broilers need at least 120 grams of feed per day. It is advisable to cook it in the form of a mash, enriching it with protein. This is the key to the intensity of feeding.
The final, finishing stage of fattening of broilers occurs at the age of 29 to 42 days. Its goal is an intensive weight gain of the bird. To do this, the final compound feed includes:
- corn - 46%;
- barley - 9%;
- wheat - 15%;
- Makukhi - 18%;
- bone or fish meal 4%
- fodder yeast 3%;
- feed fat, herbs and crushed chalk - 1% each.
The effectiveness of this pre-slaughter feeding scheme has been tested on a COBB 500 broiler breed with excellent results.
It is not economically efficient to continue fattening broilers after 45 days. Intensive weight gain after this period is impossible.
What not to feed broilers
Foods that are contraindicated in feeding broilers include:
- stale food waste;
- boiled potatoes as a separate dish;
- sand too fine;
- soaked bread.
Broilers are practically omnivorous and can eat pasture, but for their normal growth and development, the following should be excluded from the diet:
- peel of citrus and gourds;
- fresh milk;
- cocoa and chocolate;
- alcohol and fermented products;
- pure butter and vegetable oil.