What Do Chickens Eat? 0 178

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

When it comes to raising backyard 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 to ensure your parrot lives a long and happy life 0 153

Happy pet parrot

Are you considering getting a parrot as a pet or have you recently made the great decision to get one? Today we are going to explain how to ensure your parrot lives a long, happy and fulfilled life.

When you decide to purchase a parrot as a pet you have to be aware that they can live for a very long time depending on the exact type and breed. Your new parrot from day one will become a huge part of your life and most definitely a part of the family.

Consider the size of the cage

The first thing you will probably think about when getting your parrot is its cage. This is going to be where your parrot spends most of its time, so it is essential that the cage isn’t too small. Your parrot will be happy within its cage but not if the cage is crammed and leaving it feeling hemmed in – it should definitely be big enough so that your new pet can fully stretch out its wings and have room either side. Cover the bottom of your cage with newspaper as it will get messy each day – this offers an affordable and quick way to change it over every day.

Where you place your cage is just as important. Do not place your cage in the kitchen as fumes are extremely bad for parrots. Do not place near a window or in direct sunlight. Look for a calm, quiet spot for your bird to enjoy.

Feeding your parrot

When feeding your parrot, you need to remember that they enjoy a varied diet including parrot pellets from your local pet shop and a selection of fresh fruit and vegetables. Parrots can be given various other foods, but it is important to check that they are safe first, as chocolate and avocado are not.

Letting your parrot out of its cage

You need to ensure you let your parrot out of its cage at least once a day, ensuring this is supervised. Parrots are extremely clever and should be stimulated to ensure they remain as happy as possible. Give them a selection of suitable toys and you can practice tricks with your new pet. Most importantly, look after your parrot and ensure it is loved and well cared for.

Learn more about caring for pet birds

Hatching Chickens 0 203

Chicken hatching
Hatching chickens
Two chickens hatching

It’s the 18th day of incubation for your chicks, and one of them is beginning to hatch from its shell! You may even hear peeps coming from the eggs. What do you do now? Here’s a quick guide to hatching chickens.

When an egg is freshly laid its temperature is 105 degrees Fahrenheit. A chicken begins to develop at 88 degrees Fahrenheit. The chicken does not develop from the yolk or the egg white, but from a small segment of cells called a blastodisc.

First, try not to move the egg because the chick is already in a position to hatch. Moving the egg means the chick has to move back into the hatching position, and this causes them to expend energy and weaken them.

After 2 more days of incubation, the chick will more than likely begin to pierce the membrane of the egg with its beak. This lets in outside air for the chick. Then, the chick must chip away at the shell, and it does this in a circular pattern. It may take up to a few hours for a chick to complete chip away the shell so that the top pops off. After this tiring process, the chick may simply lie there for a while to rest and dry off.

While it may be tempting to help chicks come out of their shell if they are having difficulty, it’s actually not a good idea. Hatching is an incredibly slow process, and patience is key. If the membrane of the shell has dried out too much around the chick, you can slowly and very carefully help the chick with tweezers.

So what should you do if the eggs hatch late? (FYI- If the eggs hatch early, the incubator temp was probably too high, or you miscounted the days. If the eggs hatch too late, the temp was probably too cold, or you didn’t store the eggs properly before incubation.) If a lot of the eggs fail to hatch by day 22, pull some out and open them. They could have improperly formed embryos or no embryo at all. If you do find some living embryos, put the unopened eggs back for more time in the incubator.

Many problems are associated with incubation temperatures and humidity level. High temperatures can result in malformed chicks, and temps that are too low can result in chicks hatching with egg goo on them. If chicks have bad legs, it may have been caused by hatching them on a slippery surface.

There’s much more to learn about backyard chicken care…