There is a wide range of foods that are healthy and can be fed to your flock. Examples include mangoes, grapes, kiwi, grains and vegetable scrap. There are also other kinds of food that chicken collect on their own as they range on the backyard. But the question is, can chickens eat peanuts?
Healthy feeding habits will lead to healthy growth and development of your flock. Malnourished and under fed birds are likely to experience a host of problems unlike a well fed flock.
Are peanuts good foods for chickens?
Yes! Peanuts are good and can be fed to chickens. These nuts are healthy and contain valuable nutrients that are important for the health of your chickens. However, they should be fed these nuts in moderation as treats but not as the main food.
Even though groundnuts are healthy and good for chicken they contain a lot of oils which are not good for their health. Too much fat may cause your chickens became obese which is very unhealthy.
Peanuts can be fed whole or cracked depending on you as the farmer. They are good when cooked and with no salt in them. Salt is not good for chickens.
If you buy packed peanuts from the supermarket, ensure you wash them to remove any salt or added flavors like seasonings and pepper before feeding them to your chickens.
Be very careful before feeding these treats to your birds as they may contain aflatoxin which is very poisonous and can kill them.
Can you feed chickens cooked peanuts?
Cooked peanuts are the best for your chickens. The raw nuts contain enzymes lectic and trypsin which is dangerous and harmful to the health of your birds.
Roasted or boiled peanuts are the best for them. When roasting, do not put any oil if the nuts are meant for the chickens. The digestive system of these birds is not made to digest oily feeds.
In either means you choose to cook them, do not put any salt. Not even a little of salt. Birds do not require salt in their bodies and it can kill them when ingested.
Some people give peanut butter and peanut shells to their chickens. The shells of these nuts can be fed to chickens. They contain some proteins and fibre which are good for the health of you birds.
Protein helps in growth and development of strong and healthy body tissues. Fibre makes digestion and egestion of unwanted food materials smooth. In other words, it prevents constipation.
When these husks are boiled together with the nuts, they became soft and are easy for the chicken to swallow.
Peanut butter is good because it is made from crushed peanuts. It contains proteins at the rate of 24% which is higher than the chicken need. A laying flock will require feeds that contain 16% to 18% protein.
This butter may also block the nasal opening of young chicks leading to death because they cannot breathe properly as required.
Different types of chicken food
As I earlier said at the beginning, chickens have a wide variety of foods. However, there are specially formulated feeds that are well balanced for these birds.
Getting to understand the best food for chickens can be confusing especially for beginners. That’s why I am here to take you through the different types of chicken food.
Starter feeds are designed and made for young chicks that are between the ages of 0 to six weeks old. At this age, these young birds require high proteins because their bodies are in the growth stage.
They contain proteins ate the rate of 22% to 24% which is the right amount for chicken. Avoid game bird feed because it contains high amount of protein that are about 28% to 30%. Too much protein is harmful to chicken as it can cause liver problems.
From 6 to 8 weeks, your birds are now fully feathered and can be moved to the coop from the brooder. Here, they now change from starter feed to grower’s feeds.
These types of feeds contain low amounts of proteins than starter mash. They have protein contents that range between 16% to 18 %. The reason they are low in protein is because your birds are now at teenage stage and no longer growing rapidly like they were in the brooder.
Even though the protein content is low, other minerals and vitamins are present in the right amount except calcium. Feeds rich in calcium should be given to laying hens as it is an important mineral in shell formation.
Here the birds will be fed on growers mash from the age of 6 weeks until the day they will start to lay their first eggs. After they start to lay, switch from growers mash to layers mash.
From the time your chickens start to lay, feed them with layer feeds. They contain high amounts of calcium that are very vital for the development of healthy egg shells and good bone formation.
In addition to that, they have protein contents of 16% to 18% just like growers feeds. They also have in them a host of other vitamins and minerals in the right amount for your layers.
These feeds are mainly given from the age of 20 weeks when your pullets start to lay and they will eat them for the remaining period of their laying life.
Unmedicated vs. medicated feeds
Unmedicated chicken feeds are also called organic feeds. These types of feeds contain no added foreign substances like hormones, additives and flavors. They are made by mixing fish meal, oats, sunflower seeds, cracked corn, wheat, soybeans and other ingredients to make a balanced meal for chickens.
Medicated feeds contain a chemical compound called amprolium that protects your chickens against common poultry diseases. However, vaccinated birds are not supposed to be fed on medicated feeds as amprolium is harmful to vaccinated chickens. Most starter and grower feeds have this chemical to prevent coccidiosis.
These are specially formulated high protein feeds meant for those birds kept for meat. They are meant to give meat birds a faster growth rate within a short period of time and help them gain the right market weight.
Some farmers do a big mistake by giving their layers these feeds but forget that they are meant for faster growth of meat birds and they contain high protein content. High proteins that exceed the recommended amounts cause liver problems and eventually death.
There are 3 types of these feeds and they are starter, growers and finisher.
Can chickens be fed on fermented feeds?
Yes fermented feeds are good for chickens. They are rich in vitamins and enzymes and are easy for the chickens to digest.
Fermenting chicken feed makes storage easy as it does not go bad easily. When eaten by your girls, it stays for longer in their stomachs making them fell full for longer periods.
What is the importance of grit to chicken?
Grit is made up of crushed granite rocks into small particles that are easy for chickens to swallow. It can also be made from crushed shells like oyster and even chicken egg shells. This kind of grit is often referred as soluble grit.
Inside the chicken’s body, grit is found in the gizzard where it helps into digestion of food crushing food particles into smaller bits that are easy for further digestion or absorption.
Grit is also an important source of calcium to your birds. Soluble grit that is derived from crushed shells is very rich in calcium which is the main component that makes up the shells.
Free ranging chicken can easily get grit from the backyard as they search for food.
What do chickens eat naturally?
Chickens that are allowed to range have the advantage of feeding naturally. Here they roam in the backyard and scratch the ground looking for food. Hamburg chickens are a perfect example of chickens that do well when free ranged.
On the backyard, chickens are able to supplement their diets with insects, grubs, worms and small plants like weeds. In the rainy season, there are abundant of termites that come out and dance in the air to look for a mate. Here your girls collect a lot of free protein treats.
They also get a chance to venture into the fields and are sometimes lucky to collet extra grains that remain after harvesting. However, this makes them prone to predation as there are hawks, raccoons and wild dogs out there looking for such opportunities to steal from the flock.
Chickens can be given a number of treats. Among those treats are peanuts. They are nutritious and healthy for chickens but should be given in moderation as they are not their main diet.
Feeding your birds with healthy feeds is important for their health and well-being. They are able to lay well and offer much meat translating this to bountiful profit. Am sure it feels good for you to smile all the way to the bank. I wish you success.
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