If you need a hen to deliver sturdy, healthy eggs, you might have her on a regular diet of layer feed. This is a rich source of nutrients designed to foster proper egg development and keep your chickens in good health along the way.
What makes layer feed a concern is that although it’s a suitable feed for fertile hens, many chicken keepers may also have roosters to maintain. To keep all your animals healthy, it’s important to know what to feed roosters (and what not to feed roosters!) while your hens are laying. This will help you make sure your birds are getting all the vitamins and minerals they need each day.
Most chicken keepers have multiple hens and only one or two roosters, which can make it a hassle to try to keep them on different diets. Why spend money on another type of feed for a single rooster when all your hens are already on a diet of layer feed?
This is understandable, as using a single feed can save you loads of time and energy. Yet, the question remains: Is layer feed a healthy option for roosters and non-laying chickens?
The reason layer feed is used for adult egg-laying hens is because it contains extra calcium, which can help promote proper eggshell development. While this type of feed is typically only fed to adult chickens because of its specific nutrient proportions, its benefits allow it to play a part in the production of high-quality eggs.
Most types of layer feed contain vitamins, minerals and proteins to help meet other dietary needs. Concerns shared by some chicken keepers who have roosters include whether or not their non-laying birds will receive the right amount of nutrients.
Because layer feed contains so much calcium and only about 15-17% protein, it’s often considered a less-than-ideal solution for adult roosters. That said, many keepers find that their non-laying chickens can manage just fine on the formula. If you’re concerned about making sure that your rooster gets more protein, you might consider feeding him separately with a pellet or crumble that contains at least 18% protein.
Keeping your birds healthy is a major priority, which is why you need to make sure they receive a feed that meets their nutritional requirements. Chicken keepers often find that layer feed is enough to keep their roosters healthy, so if all your birds are living together, it may be more convenient to keep them on the same routine.
However, you do want to make sure that your non-laying chickens aren’t receiving too much calcium, as high levels of calcium can be associated with kidney damage in chickens. The signs include pale combs, depression and dehydration, so keep an eye on your birds and be prepared to make a dietary adjustment if necessary.
Your flock makeup often determines your specific needs, so it’s up to you to decide on the best dietary routine for your chickens. Contact us today if you’re interested in learning how you can provide all your birds with the best nutritional support possible.