Your Trusted Guide On The Best Chicken Feed for Laying Hens
Raising chicken is getting popular nowadays among gardeners where they can find themselves the enjoyment and relaxation as well as a source of food supply for their family. Choosing the right feed for their chicken is always a headache job, especially for newcomers. In this guide, we are going to recommend you the best chicken feed for laying hens which may significantly lead to amazing tastes of eggs.
Most hens don’t lay daily, but if there is a good source of feed supply, they can lay on average of 200 to 320 eggs per year. With different factors such as production layer hybridization or layer ration formulation together with sufficient feed, more eggs from laying hens can also be expected. An ideal season for egg laying is in spring, and the productivity can be tapered off in late summer.
Normally, getting the best feed for chicken might request some researchers among different brands in the market to your selection. To choose the best option for your criteria, it is important for you to understand some basic nutrient information for chicken, chicken diets, available feed choices, and so on. Hopefully, this guide can assist you the best in your decision.
There is a wide range of products available on the market today, and below I have reviewed 5 of the very best options.
**Below, you will find more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices and read customer reviews on Amazon.
Basic Nutrients for Laying Chickens
It is required to know that all chickens need certain things or feed in their diet for the growth and development. Like other animals, chickens are in need of basic nutrients including minerals, carbs, fats, protein, and vitamins. Therefore, knowing a good formula of these things for the best feed to chickens is very important. For laying chicken, the nutrients are even more significant to be paid attention to because eggs’ quality reflects the management and care to the hens.
A balanced diet of sufficient food including carbohydrates, vitamins, fat, protein and minerals is essential for laying hens to keep their body functioning and continue producing nutrient-rich eggs daily.
There are many different food sources for laying chicken; the importance is to know which one is the most suitable for your hens. Oyster shells are ideal to provide calcium for egg-layers to ensure strong shells of eggs. However, based on different needs and growth phases of the hens, there are further things to take in mind.
For laying hens of above 16 weeks to 20 weeks, a recommended balanced diet is to contain 16% to 18% protein and about 3.5% calcium to enhance strong eggshells. Calcium is very important for the eggs; calcium deficiency can lead to problems of thin-shelled eggs and leg problems. During peak periods of egg production, a higher protein supply might be required to offer the hens while during hot weather, the demand might be less as the chickens are caused to consume less.
A supply source of insoluble grit might be in need to support grinding the feed in hens’ gizzards. So, it may be essential to provide grit, shell or formulated layer rations which can be found at different feed stores for chicken. If you are a fan of sustainable development, you can look for balanced, organic diets of free antibiotic food for your chicken as well.
Some other raisers are trying to utilize the redundancy food source such as scratch grains or household food scraps. However, due to some experts, this source may lead to the dilution of the feed nutrition which can result in weak egg shells or the cessation of egg production. Therefore, you should be cautious about what you are going to feed your chicken.
Below is the most recommended basic building blocks of a balanced and healthy diet for laying hens, which is not only initial for egg laying but also important to keep hens healthy.
Necessary vitamins (per pound of feed):
Vitamin D3 (some may be supplied by sunlight)
A constant supply of clean and fresh water is also very important for laying hens. Water is vital for chicken as the life-sustaining liquid for various physiological functions, especially an important element of eggs counting for more than half of an egg’s volume.
Therefore, ensuring a sufficient source of water is a need for chickens in all kinds of weather including hot, dry or even freezing, which to ensure that the egg production will not be suffered due to the shortage of water. A shortage of water might result in reducing the production due to dehydration.
Water is not only crucial for hens to ensure the egg production but also to maintain their production health. Try to make sure the water fresh, clean and always available. Remember not to supply the unbalance-salt-level water to your chickens by boiling the water and waiting for it cool before providing the water dish to the laying hens.
Calcium is important for the eggshells. If your hens can’t get enough calcium from their feed, you can think about extra calcium sources such as crushed oyster shells, vitamin D3 from the sun which is vital for certain absorption of calcium.
How Much to Feed?
Depending on a few factors such as hens’ breed, hens’ forage or hens’ warmness in the body, they might need to consume a different amount of food. Different weathers can also influence the feed need as well such as in summer hens might eat more grass and insects, but they will eat less in hot conditions.
Or in winter, there will be fewer opportunities for hens to gain extra calories, so they have to burn more energy to stay warm. Generally, to stay in good health, laying hens need about a quarter to a third of a pound of feed per day to ensure their proper health and egg production condition.
How to know the Correct Feed
As the raiser taking caring of chicken, you can yourself notice if it is the correct feed for your chicken or whether your chicken is thriving for the feed. A good formula of nutrients as mentioned above is the most important factor of your interests.
It will take your flock several days to get familiar with the new feed. After those days, if you find the chicken are not eating as much as before, it is better for you to reconsider the brand to check if it is a real need for your chicken.
Product Reviews – The Best Chicken Feed
In the market, there are many different brands with a variety of chicken feed types and options for your selection. Here we would like to recommend some of the best brands with product description as well as their pros and cons that might be your excellent choices.
Coming in two formulas of grower and layer, Prairie’s Choice is a great product of non-GMO (or not- Genetically Modified Organism) processed from soybean and ground corn. Prairie’s Choice provides a great source of nutritious ingredients including protein, calcium, fiber, fat, phosphorus, salt, etc. and necessary vitamin such as A, D-3, B-12, E, folic acid and so on.
With the layer formula, Prairie’s Choice is ideal for laying hens to enhance the laying health as well as ensure the egg quality.
- A good mix of vitamins needed and vital nutrition dense
- A healthier choice for laying chicken thanks to this non-GMO and non-chemically processed product
- A balanced food to enhance egg shell quality and quantity
- Easy for chicken to digest
- Easy to feed as it is in small crumbles instead of solid pellets so no need to chock on.
- A bit more expensive compared to other brands in the market
Coyote Creek is a combination of organic things including corn, soybean, Milo, roughage products as well as plenty of vitamins and supplements. Coyote Creek has a wide range of feed for different growth stage of chicken from starters, developers, and egg-layers that are especially offered with soy-free feed.
All of Coyote Creek products are 100% organic and non-GMO. With a complete feed formulation, Coyote Creek is good for optimal health, growth and immune system, which will impact proper egg production.
- Includes a variety of vitamins and supplements
- Offers a fair-size variety
- Less expensive than most other chicken feed
- Some chicken might not like
Kalmbach is an organic food for both growers, and egg-layers with high Omega formulated. Containing Omega, high calcium content and amino acids, Kalmbach is ideal for laying hens to produce more quality and stronger eggshells.
The layer crumbles contain a good source of ingredients including organic corn, grains, wheat middling, soybean meal and a large variety of vitamins and supplements, so it is considered as a complete healthy choice of organic layer feed for layer chickens.
- Large variety of nutrients and supplements
- Good price for the amount of feed
- Variety of layer feed
- Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D-3 good for egg quality and egg shell
- A proprietary blend of probiotics and enzymes to support digestive and immune health
- Some chickens seem to dislike it
This is a non-GMO product with certified organic ingredients consisting of wheat, barley, peas, sesame meal, etc. It also contains a large variety of other vitamins and supplements offering for starters, growers, and layers. For laying hens, it is designed to be one of the healthiest and most natural products available in the market with 16% protein and a high amount of calcium, which helps to enhance strong eggshells.
- Large variety
- Whole grains, no corn and soy
- Cost is a little higher for amount of feed
- Some chickens seem to dislike it
- Includes ground limestone and oyster shell for easy digestion which usually requires a separate purchase
Brown's Layer Booster Chicken Feed use natural plant proteins and the freshest of corn, soybean meal, wheat middling, and other supplements. This product is mainly for layers rich in nutrient diet and necessary vitamins including E, A, and D-3. Using only the highest quality ingredients, Brown's Layer Booster Chicken Feed can enhance hens to produce plenty of strong-shelled eggs with rich, yellow yolks.
- High in protein and calcium for layers
- Competitive price for amount
- Free Of Animal Proteins & Fats
- Corn is the main filler
- Not as many vitamins/ supplements as other brands in the market
Choosing the Best Chicken Feed for Laying Hens
All of these above brands can be your great choice. Based on the variety available, the amount and variety of nutrients included, you can make your best selection for your chicken. Importantly, it has to be favorable to your chicken and of their interests. You can try buying a small package to test for a few days if your chickens love it. Since the feed is of their taste, you can buy bigger size later on.