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MM 29

Winter Feed

by | Nov 3, 2020 | Meyer Moment

Let’s take a Meyer Moment to talk about winter feed! The cold is setting in and many of our northernmost states are already seeing snow. If this is your first time raising chickens, you may be caught off guard by just how much feed your flock will go through in the winter months. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you prepare in keeping your flock well-fed and healthy this winter season. 

Read Full Episode Transcript

Hey everyone! Welcome back to The Coop with Meyer Hatchery – where we talk all things poultry in hopes of inspiring crazy chicken keepers and educating future flock owners. Each week we like to take a Meyer Moment to cover relevant happenings. 

Let’s take a Meyer Moment to talk about winter feed! The cold is setting in and many of our northernmost states are already seeing snow. If this is your first time raising chickens, you may be caught off guard by just how much feed your flock will go through in the winter months. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you prepare in keeping your flock well-fed and healthy this winter season. 

First up, your hens will eat a lot more! Why exactly do their dietary requirements change in the winter? As summer slows down, you’ll notice your hens move from a state of production to a state of repair. When in production your flock requires a lot of protein to help build those eggshells – remember when we chatted about shell development in Episode 26? If not check it out- it’s a highly informative episode! Now that your hen is in repair mode, they require more carbohydrates. Staying warm burns a lot of calories after all! 

You can expect hens to eat one and half times more feed than they did throughout the rest of the year. Especially for those of you used to free-ranging your flock. When the snow rids their source of fresh grass and bugs, they’ll rely on you for a well-balanced diet. 

You’ll want to stick to your normal 16% protein layer ration but in addition, you may want to consider adding scratch or cracked corn. This is also a great time to provide kitchen scraps and leafy greens as a supplemental treat! 

Cracked corn is a great carbohydrate for your flock. We often hear of flock owners feeding this additional supplement before locking up for the night. The extra boost before bed gets their digestive system working, which helps to produce heat. While scratch grains don’t provide as much nutritional value, it sure tends to be a flock favorite. Helping to keep your chickens active in the winter months.

Lastly, to help your flock with digestion be sure to provide grit. Your poultry is used to pecking the ground to find small stones. Without teeth, food travels to their gizzard where it is digested along with small insoluble materials, like rocks, to break the food down into a digestible paste your chicken’s body can absorb. With the ground frozen or possibly covered with snow, it’s important to offer grit as a free choice. 

Now, most of you will be moving your feeding routine from outdoors, into a covered run or inside the coop. During this season, some chicken owners prefer a crumble or pelleted feed to help reduce waste. You’ll want to make sure your feeder allows enough room for each chicken to have access. If you have a larger flock, you may want to consider several feeders spaced out. 

We hope this information better helps you prepare for feeding your flock this winter! 

Enjoy the rest of your week and as always, thank you for listening to The Coop!

Hosts & Guests

Kendra
From Meyer Hatchery

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