TIPS FOR FEEDING CHICKEN
How African poultry farmers feed their hens depends entirely on the scale of their farming projects. Some farmers simply let the birds forage and scavenge for their food all day. The downside of this system is that chickens are very hungry during the dry seasons when grain and worms are hard to come by.
More intensive farmers keep their chickens in a chicken coop – where they provide feed at all times. Most farmers fall somewhere in between the two extremes. It is a good idea to feed chicken on grains that are high in minerals – such as sorghum and millet, besides other traditional grains. It is a good idea to feed chicken on grains that are high in minerals – such as sorghum and millet, besides other traditional grains.
Tips for feeding Chickens:
- Store the feed you buy properly. For one, think of storing the feed in barrels instead of the sacks the feed comes in. Keeping sacks of poultry feed in a store will only encourage mice and rats to over populate your farm. Feed should be kept dry so that it does not spoil.
- Invest in buying chicken feeds. Research conducted in Ethiopia by Hawassa University has shown that chickens who scavenge for their food have an unbalanced diet. They in particular lack calcium and other minerals.
- When keeping layers, smaller hens are more efficient when you compare egg production and feed consumption. Go for smaller breeds of layers and larger breeds of broilers are the rule.
- Young chicks – from their first day – are fed on chick starter mash. They need to start feeding immediately they are under the hover.
- Facilities available should allow at least half of the brood to be feeding at any one particular time. Bear in mind that when the feeder is full, chicks tend to waste feed; so you can fill the feeders at first but after two days have them half full. One more tip for reducing feed wastage is to install hardware cloth over the mash so that chicks do not pour feed.
- Once chicks hit eight weeks, it is time to put them on growers mash. Remember to always buy a feed that is labeled ‘complete’ this means it has all the nutrients needed.
- The final feed is broiler feed and finisher feed. Both of these are used for mature chickens. They help to make the chickens mature faster. Broiler feed prepares broilers for maturity and finisher feed can be used for both broilers and layers. Layers can also be given calcium which helps in shell formation.
- Some farmers prefer to put their poultry on grains. In this case, avoid maize and stick to high fiber, high mineral content grains such as sorghum and millet. The grains can be mixed in equal measures with a grower mash that is not ‘complete.’
- ALWAYS have clean, fresh water available for your brood. It is a good idea to have the water at chickens shoulder height so that they do not wet the area around them. Waterers must be cleaned on a daily basis. Many parts of Africa have unreliable water supply and this makes a water tank a good investment.
Other Africa Poultry Information
- Profitable Chicken Farming Business
- Successful Poultry Coop Building
- Build an Affordable Long Lasting Chicken Coop
- Successful Egg Hatching for Baby Chicks
- Successful Chicken Egg Laying Strategies
- Successful Chicken Feeding
- How to Raise Chickens Stress Free
- Raising Chickens for Meat
- Successful Chicken Disease Management
- Chicken Resources