Let’s first begin with a goal in mind. You want to have the best fresh tasting eggs. Fresh eggs from your own chickens not only taste better than store bought eggs, they are much healthier. Farm fresh eggs have ½ less cholesterol, ¼ less saturated fat, 2/3 more vitamin A, 7 times more beta carotene, 2 times more omega 3 fatty acids and 3 times more vitamin E, WOW!
So now you might ask, “What can you feed chickens to produce these results?
Really, all you have to do is basically raise your chickens in a free-range environment so they can enjoy a diet of green plants, insects, and grains.
When chickens eat green plants they are consuming high levels of omega 3. When chickens eat grains they consume high levels of omega 6. So which is better for you? You should have equal amounts of omega 3 and omega 6 in your body. Most eggs that we buy from the store contain high levels of omega 6 because those chickens are fed mostly grain. In humans, high levels of omega 6 leads to all kinds of degenerative diseases.
So the best thing to do is let your chickens roam around the yard so they can eat grass and green plants. Chickens will consume 30% of their calories from grass. That would be a lot of grass.
Insects are a great source of protein for chickens. They love these little critters. As they roam around the yard they can find all kinds of insects, bugs, worms, and snails.
Growing your own worms can give your chickens the best protein during the winter months. It’s the cheapest protein you will find. Boiled soybeans are also great to feed to them.
Use grain only as a supplement to sustain growth and laying of eggs. Only feed grains for a certain period of time during the day and then remove it from them. A timer feeder is great way to do that if you can’t tend to your chickens every day.
Other supplements to consider are dried kelp and calcium. Kelp can provide salt and also all the minerals they need to balance out their diet. Calcium is good for hardening the shell of the eggs.
They also need grit if you don’t let them loose in the yard. Grits is an angular, hard crushed rock used by chickens in place of teeth. When roaming around they usually find little rocks that are suited for them. But if you keep them “cooped up” be sure to give it to them several times a month.
Kitchen scraps are good to give chickens. Be sure not to give them anything that has mold on it or give them rotten foods out of your refrigerator.
If you are growing a garden, throw them some fresh veggies. Grow some sunflowers and when the head of the sunflowers wilt, throw the whole head into the coop, chickens will go “nuts” over this tasty treat.
Most importantly of all, make sure your chickens have plenty of water!
Chickens need lots of water especially for laying eggs. Chicken don’t like dirty water and besides it could bring diseases to your chickens. Always make sure that the water is fresh and clean.
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