Chickens love to eat and can put away some chow. They will try to eat just about anything once. They then decide if they like it. Even if they like it, they will try to walk through it with poo feet, or make what seems like an organized effort to poo on it.
Poultry seasoning, I guess.
We made some pvc feeders to keep their food from this fate. Food costs money, and we are about saving money here. The less waste, the better. These seem to keep the poo out of the food and the girls have to work a little harder to waste it on the ground. We have one each for food, grit and oyster shell.
We also rigged a water cooler to a pvc nipple waterer to keep their water fresh, cool and poo free. They still like to play with it and make puddles.
We try to keep what we feed them healthy. They have been on store-bought feed from the beginning. We do not use organic feed, but we use a good brand that has the balance the girls need to be healthy hens. We currently are weaning them on to a layer ration. We keep the treats to fresh fruit and vegetables, sprigs of garden herbs, meal worms and a treat mix I put in a little boredom ball for them to kick around.
They have their preferences. Watermelon is like Crack for them. Seeing them dive into a wedge has been a source of entertainment many an afternoon this summer.
They also get yard time twice a day to stretch their wings and forage. They love bugs, and we love that about them. They also enjoy browsing my garden for bugs and other tasty items.
My seedlings have suffered a few losses to a greedy girl a couple of times. They have been known to kill snakes. They also have a particular taste for spiders, so I can forgive them a few snacks of baby lettuce and thyme.
Although they have a balanced diet in their ration, I add a little brewers yeast and dried seaweed to it for a little help with their digestion and a little kick of extra nutrition. I also rotate in a little apple cider vinegar in their waterer once a week to aid in digestion and nutrition.
I found many great blogs on the subject of chicken nutrition online and in Pinterest. I have seen many different opinions on what is best. Some people make their own feed, some only use organic, some add supplements to store feeds. We chose the option best suited for us novices and went with what we did. The girls don’t complain. They are eating machines. They are always on the lookout for their next tasty treat. Even if it is on someone elses plate.
Jewel gets especially impatient at feed time. Often checking on my progress in the workshop as I mix their feed and get the cleaning buckets together.
Anything is game to these eating machines Well, maybe not anything. They will hide green beans under rocks.
They really hate green beans.