Which food is best for chickens?
Among the various options you have is corn.
What are its advantages over other chicken eats?
What Do Chickens Eat?
Before the commercial chicken feed was a thing, chickens were fed grain mixes or dried mash feed with fish or meat for more protein.
They also used to roam around more freely and got their additional protein and other vitamins and minerals from insects and worms they foraged.
Is Corn Good for Chickens?
Corn’s nutritional value varies, depending on the kind and location.
Whatever the variety though, it can provide chickens with the following nutrients:
• Carbohydrates, which produces around 1,520 kcal/lb worth of energy
• 7.5 percent protein
• A low level of fiber for easy digestion
• Carotene for a lively yellow yolk
Because of these, corn has become the main ingredient of most commercial chicken feeds. It’s also accessible and inexpensive.
On the flip side, chickens have one problem in getting all of these nutrients. Their bodies don’t produce enough levels of an enzyme called phytate, which is vital in releasing phosphorus during digestion. They’ll need supplementing foodstuffs to make up for the lack of the enzyme.
Corn can also cause malnutrition, obesity, and other health conditions among chickens if their diet is limited only to it.
Hens, for instance, may stop laying eggs when they feed only on corn and become overweight.
What About Mixed Corn?
Mixed corn isn’t corn.
It’s a commercial chicken feed made up of around 80-90 percent wheat and 10-20 percent maize.
It’s a good scratch feed and energy source, but just like corn, mixed corn can make chickens put on excess weight.
It also lacks protein, which corn has.
How Should You Feed Your Chickens?
Your chickens can still have their corn kernels and eat them, too—Heres how you should go about feeding them corn and other stuff without compromising their health.
• Check their health status
Doing so will help you find out if they’re getting the nutrients they need or not.
How do you do this?
By checking their yolk. A very pale yolk, for example, means the chicken needs more greens. If that’s the case, give it more grass, clover, or plantain. Free-range chickens tend to have a darker yolk color because they know how to choose healthy for them.
• Consider their temperament
Like humans, each chicken has its personality, and this influences their eating habits.
Some chickens explore different kinds of food, while others prefer a particular chicken feed brand and still grow strong and healthy.
• Balance their diet
Since corn or mixed corn alone isn’t enough, give your chickens other kinds of food to help supply whatever nutrients corn or chicken feed cant.
If your chickens’ aren’t free-range, feed them grass clippings.
• Feed them only when they’re hungry
Chickens are scavengers by nature; they’re sloppy eaters and tend to waste food.
Let them eat only when needed and avoid feeding them too frequently. They’re less picky and wasteful when they’re hungry.
An exception to the rule is the winter season chickens will need enough energy and nutrients throughout the cold months.
Can You Feed Your Chickens Some Corn?
You definitely can, but make sure they have other nutrient sources in their diet aside from corn.
Also, practice good feeding habits, so they also eat the right amounts of food at the right frequency.
Visit your vet for more tips on how to keep your chickens well-fed and healthy.