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Pastured Poultry Need Grain as Well as Grass, Clover and Bugs

Posted by on September 11, 2011

Chickens Need Plenty of Protein to Produce Good Eggs

Foraging on pasture for grass, bugs and whatever other treats the chickens may find is not enough for them to eat. They need a well-rounded diet that is high in protein to make sure they get the nutrients they need to stay healthy and produce the best eggs.

Chickens riding on the feed bucket

Chickens riding on the feed buckets

We feed our birds a plant-based feed with no animal by products. Our girls absolutely swarm Jim when it’s feeding time. They jump onto the feed buckets and can’t wait for the food to be poured into their feeders.

How Much Feed Should a Chicken Get Per Day?

It's Time To Eat Some Grain

Stepping carefully around the birds

Studies have shown that a laying hen should have about three ounces of feed per day. With our group of birds, that means about 50 pounds per day.

In addition to the feed, we also add oyster shell for added calcium. Calcium helps the birds produce an egg with a strong shell.

Another favorite treat is sunflower seeds. We scatter them around on the pasture and let the girls scratch around and find them.

What Else Do Chickens Need in Their Daily Diet?

Plenty of fresh water (use only potable drinking water hoses to avoid lead poisoning) is an obvious necessity.

The Pied Piper of Our Chickens

The Pied Piper of Our Chickens

We add Apple Cider Vinegar to their water for several reasons. It helps them digest their food, it helps control intestinal parasites and it helps them tolerate hot temperatures.

Grit is needed for chickens to be able to grind up their food. Chickens do not have teeth, so they need grit (small stones) to be able to grind up and digest their food. Although there is plenty of dirt and small stones on the pasture, we also give them grit mixed into their feed to be sure they get what they need.

One Response to Pastured Poultry Need Grain as Well as Grass, Clover and Bugs

  1. Jeri

    Great article. Thank you.

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