Within a single egg there’s 11 different vitamins and minerals, plus an intense concentrate of proteins and healthy fatty acids such as omega-3. It’s an impressive feat for a hen to produce such a nutritious cocktail every day, a feat that can only be sustained by being well fed each and every day!
In the world of layer feed, all is not equal. For backyard chickens, diets range from food scraps and pasture to processed pellets, whole and crushed grains. Many of these feeds can miss the mark in terms of catering to a chicken’s intense need for protein, vitamins and minerals.
“To produce an egg, a hen needs a diet rich in amino acids (protein), vitamins D, E, A and K, calcium and phosphorus”, explains poultry nutritionist, Grant Richards. “In the morning, the birds consume the bulk of their protein and vitamins intake which aids energy, health and yoke production. In the afternoon, the birds seek out calcium to build the egg’s shell”.
Grant Richards recommends feeding crushed grain formulas that facilitate a hen’s instinctive needs based feeding pattern allowing them to selectively consume the right proteins, vitamins or minerals when they are required. Whilst pellet feed contains a preferable volume of nutrients over scraps and pasture, chickens are unable to separate the compounds, meaning hens convert the protein and energy inefficiently to eggs.
Being able to consume only what’s needed, crushed grain fed layers convert feed to eggs 7-8% more efficiently than pellet fed chickens, whilst better fulfilling their nutrient needs. As a result, grain fed birds maintain a healthier body weight and immune system.
Reid Stockfeeds have developed a crush grain formula, Eggs for Sure providing a great feed option for backyard and commercial chickens alike. “With an Eggs 4 Sure diet, our chickens pick out the grain in the morning and the grit in the afternoon”, said Peter Hahnemann, owner of Forge Creek Free Range Chickens. “The grains give the hens’ protein and vitamins and the grit provides most of their calcium intake”.
The benefits of a healthy coupe of chickens are broad. Benefits include; a natural resistance to a variety of diseases and pathogens, a reduction in the likelihood of cannibalistic behaviours, longevity of egg laying productivity and a creamer, richer flavoured egg.
“Even in the bird world, we believe you are what you eat”, said Mr. Hahnemann. “At last year’s Australian Food Awards, our eggs were recognised as the best in Australia. We largely attribute this to feeding our birds’ premium, Eggs 4 Sure crushed grain”.
To add a crushed grain formula such as Eggs 4 Sure into a hen’s diet, it’s recommended starting with small quantities, allowing time for the chicken to adjust. A scrap based diet can be supplemented by feeding approximately 125-150 grams of Eggs 4 Sure daily.
For more information on our crushed grain based chicken diets or Eggs 4 Sure, visit the Reid Stockfeeds poultry page.