I have been asked quite frequently lately about pellets as feed and are they enough?
Generally pelleted feeds have all the nutrition that is required to keep birds in good health and the different proprietary brands offer similar feeds or have very different mixtures for different stages of growth in poultry.
For example, turkey starter is higher in protein and I use this for newly hatched birds as it gives them faster growth, but ease back as the get larger and begin to have some range.
Once birds are ranging, they will frequently find insects and such to supplement their protein needs, which are quite small once grown.
I have seen roadkill hung in trees to let the maggots drop, but this is not generally very popular unless you have a farm!
Layer pellets by the bag are the simplest food to give your birds and they will need to be fed in a way that the birds won’t flick and spill them everywhere.
These also need to be kept very dry as water sends them mouldy very quickly.
I use an old plastic drum which is also rodent proof, unlike the bags, which will very quickly develop ‘holes’ if left around sheds.
These are by far the most common feed, but some breeders and birds find them boring and want something more.
You can mix your own feeds and this can be very effective, but time consuming.
It also requires a solid knowledge of the bird’s requirements.
A simple way is to mix it up, perhaps with some wheat scattered over the yard which encourages exercise, some cracked corn for the yellow legged birds or a grain mix which can be purchased readily.
I have written previously about the benefits of green feed so I won’t repeat myself here.
But, you should also remember that birds like and benefit from some shell grit.
It assists both for the digestive process and the calcium supplement which is vital in layers for those strong shells we like and appreciate when we drop the eggs when collecting.
It is also important when using pelleted feeds to have a ready supply of clean, cool drinking water for the birds.
This is especially the case in hot conditions and for those laying hens.
- Bruce Pattinson is a past president of the NSW Exhibition Poultry Association. Email questions to email@example.com or post to: Chook Feed, PO Box 25, Kogarah, 2217, with your name and daytime contact number.