What Do Chickens Eat? 0 25

Chickens eating
What do chickens eat?
What do chickens eat?

When it comes to the diet of chickens, there’s a big difference between what they should eat and what they will eat. Chickens are notorious scavengers and seem to enjoy nothing more than pecking their way through the dirt, eating just about anything that they come across.

Chickens will eat – or attempt to eat – just about anything that fits into its beak, ranging from fruit and vegetables to small insects and bugs. In the past, chickens on farms learned to get by on scraps from the other farm animals but this meager existence, while enough to sustain them, meant that the hens did not lay many eggs.

This brings us to our first item that chickens SHOULD eat. Commercially available hen pellets are small pellets specially formulated with minerals and proteins to replace the nutrients that are lost when hens lay eggs. These pellets can be brought in large volumes and should be made readily available to your chickens to eat as and when they need them.

When you look at your hens, you will see that they have a pouch where their throat is. This pouch should be full of food when the hen goes to sleep to allow for optimum production of eggs during the night.

Calcium is very important for chickens and, whilst there is some in commercial feeds, you should supplement it with ground up oyster shells. Your flock will also need grit to allow their gizzards to function and digest food properly.

Aside from these essential items, the rest is up to trial and error. A good idea is to chuck table scraps, vegetables and even garden weeds into the chicken’s enclosure. They will eat what they like and shred up what they don’t. If you are feeding your chickens enough pellet food, it is unlikely that they will ever overindulge on one item, but you should be careful about feeding them too many carbohydrates such as bread. If they eat too many carbs and not enough protein, they will become overweight.

As a rare treat for your birds, you can try sunflower seeds or meal worm, but make sure it is a rare treat and not an everyday occurrence. Overweight chickens do not produce good eggs. It is also worth mentioning that chickens love cracked corn as a snack. Although chickens love it and will thank you for it, it is best avoided. Cracked corn has no nutritional benefit and gives the chickens absolutely nothing aside from empty calories. If you must feed them some, do it in winter and only in extreme moderation.

Finally, many people will feel strongly about feeding chicken meat to their birds. Many people will state that it is wrong or causes health problems. There is no evidence to back this up, but the same can be said that there is also no evidence to suggest that chickens need meat to survive and prosper.

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How Many Chickens are there in the World? 0 27

How many chickens are there in the world?
How many chickens are there in the world?
How many chickens are there in the world?

Have you ever wondered just how many chickens there are in the world, or even within your own country? If you guessed a couple million, you’re not even close! One billion chickens? Still cold. The truth is that the verified chicken population from across the world totals to more than double our human population, specifically 15,853,900,900 chickens (nearly sixteen billion chickens), according to a 2002 estimate. However, that was just the verified chicken population. Numbers estimated in 2009 have put the number of chickens in the world to fifty billion chickens, with more than nine billion of them within the United States of America.

Considering that the estimate was conducted in 2009, it would be very likely that in 2017, the chicken population has risen even further. With many unreported chickens walking around the world, who knows how many there truly are?

You may be wondering, why are there so many chickens in the world? First off, we must consider the simplicity and ease of a female chicken (hen) in reproduction. All a hen must do is mate with a rooster to get an egg fertilized, where the egg will lay and if properly taken care of, will hatch into a baby chicken. So the process is uncomplicated.

Additionally, there has been a continually increasing demand for chicken as a food, encouraging chicken factories. Did you know that it is estimated that more than 1.25 billion chicken wings were eaten during the 2012 Super Bowl? In 1950, it was expected that the average American would consume 20 pounds of chicken per year, but in 2015, it was estimated that over 89 pounds of chicken was consumed. It is not a secret that we as humans are coming to enjoy and eat chicken more, and as expected, the chicken population has continued to rise substantially. 

There will truly never be a way to count the exact amount of chickens in the world, due to their broad diversity and the fact that there may be small farms and even chickens as pets! The number will forever be rising, as chicken farming as remained as one of the most lucrative industries to accommodate for our human needs and chicken as a staple food across the world. If you have wondered why chickens are getting cheaper as a whole, it’s because the amount of chickens has simply risen. The rising chicken population is simply indicative of what the concept of supply and demand can do for an industry.

“Chickens For Sale!”: Where to Buy Chickens 0 16

Chicken in a back yard
Chickens for sale
“Chickens for sale!”… where to buy chickens

Before you look at the sources from where you can buy the chickens, it’s important to understand that they are a number of species of the chickens. Just like any other farm varieties, the various species of chickens are also bred for very specific purpose as well. If you are extremely new to buying chickens and rearing them, the following tips are for you.

Buying chickens from a breeder and online hatchery

Of course, the first place to look for buying chickens would be a chicken breeder. Always buy from a reputable breeder. You can always get the reference for a local chicken breeder from those that own chickens in your area. Check out several breeders and look at their livestock before making a decisoin. Always take note of their livestock and look at the living conditions of the chickens. If you notice that the chickens are looking unhealthy, never buy from that breeder, even if their livestock is cheaper than the rest of the other breeders in that area.

Remember that there are a number of hatcheries that are also operating online. Even then you would first need to know the breed of chicken that you require. Find a hatchery that is reputable. There are several hatcheries that operate and you can always ask for references from the local chicken owners. Look at their websites carefully before making any purchases.

Check out their stock before you purchase the chicks online. Hatcheries won’t ship the chicks in the winter months as it becomes extremely cold for them. For this reason, the deliveries for the spring batch are booked well in advance. To ensure that you get your delivery, make sure to book for the spring batch well in advance.

When you have booked for the chicks online, you won’t get the deliveries personally. The deliveries will be made to your local post office and you’ll have to go and pick them up. Remember that these chicks will be quite thirsty and hungry, so ensure that you pick them up the very same day.

Before you buy the chickens online or from a reputed chicken breeder, here are a few steps that you should take first:

Prepare the living quarters. You will need to get the coop ready that can house the chickens and also house them once they are grown up. The ideal housing should have enough space for them for roosting and also provide protection to them from the outside predators. It’s important that the housing also has easy enough access for cleaning the area. Line the area with plenty of hay, dried leaves and keep enough feed and water for them to be well fed and looked after.

Buy the right kind of chicken feed for the breed that you have bought. Some feed is fortified with extra calcium to ensure that the chicken’s lay good and healthy eggs, while others ensure that the chickens increase their body mass considerably for chickens are meant for slaughtering.