[vc_custom_heading text=”Feeding Requirements” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:18px|text_align:left|color:%231e73be” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]

Each type of bird has different feed requirements, and the amount of energy, protein, calcium and other nutrients the birds need vary throughout their productive life. This is why it is convenient to buy an appropriate specially-formulated commercial feed.

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  • Chicks of all types are fed a ‘starter’ diet soon after they hatch and this has the highest levels of protein the birds need in their lifetime. As they grow, they require less protein and more energy.
  • After 6 to 8 weeks of age, a ‘finisher’ diet is fed to broilers until they reach slaughter age. Young broilers require more protein and energy than young layer pullets.
  • A ‘grower’ or ‘developer’ feed is fed to pullets (layers) until they are at least 20 weeks old. They require a formulation containing 1% calcium.
  • When hens start laying, a ‘layer’ ration is given. This is quite different from other types of ration because it contains relatively more calcium (3.5% calcium).


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Note that, because of its high calcium content, layer feed can cause kidney damage in chicks or broilers.

If they are on a commercial ration, chickens can usually be offered as much as they will eat, because they don’t usually take more than they need. However, if a big part of their diet is grain, they can overeat and may become fat.


[rt_list_style style_variation=”three” list_icon_test=”4e839e61-db08-2″]The amount of feed a bird needs depends on:

  • its size (the bigger the bird the more food it needs)
  • its age and how active it is (growing birds and active birds need more feed)
  • its body condition (thin birds need more feed)
  • the environmental temperature (free-range birds need more feed in cold weather)
  • whether or not it is laying eggs (hens in lay need more feed)
  • As a rough guide, laying hens will usually eat about 130 gm of commercial ration each every day.


[vc_custom_heading text=”Water Requirements” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:18px|text_align:left|color:%231e73be” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][rt_list_style list_icon_test=”9fed4717-6e2d-3″]Water can be provided is various ways, and whatever the system it is important that the water is clean and fresh and easily accessible, and that the birds can’t get into it to foul it, and that there is no danger of them (or any other animals such as rats or mice) drowning in it.

  • Water troughs must be kept clean and water replaced at least once daily.
  • The drinking water must not be too warm or too cold.
  • Water from puddles is not always safe, since it may be contaminated with engine oil or antifreeze or other pollutants
  • When water becomes contaminated with droppings it must be replaced or it will cause diarrhea.
  • Stagnant water in troughs and ponds can contain poisonous blue-green algae.
  • Free range hens in lay may drink half a litre of water each daily, and even more if it is hot. If they don’t get enough water their egg production will drop and they might even die.
  • Fresh clean water is essential for the efficient production of eggs or poultry meat.