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Feeding your Poultry

Chickens will enjoy a mixed diet: feedstuffs should contain all the necessary protein, vitamins and minerals and left to their own devices they will scratch for seeds, berries, worms and grubs.  They also enjoy mixed corn, oats, grain, sunflower seeds and barley to name but a few.  These are usually fed as a scratch treat during afternoons and should not be confused with a main diet.

If you are keeping birds for egg production a good feeding regime is imperative, so that you are getting the correct amount of good quality protein; vitamins; minerals etc.  Lack of certain nutrients can effect egg production, shell quality and even the bird's health.

Poultry feed comes in various forms; pellets, mash and crumbs that are used mainly to feeding chicks.

There are many types of containers that can be made suitable for use as a feeder.  Plastic drinkers and feeders work perfectly fine for indoor use and are reasonably priced.  One with some weight in will work better as it won't tip over.

Commercial feeders will also not tip up and also release a steady supply of feed without waste.

Galvanised feeders are hardwearing and durable, they will be unaffected by sunlight and resistant to strong winds.

Feeding stages

Replacement Laying Birds
Day old - 6 weeks Farmgate Chick Crumbs ACS    Ad lib / approx 1kg / bird 
6 - 17 weeks (point of lay) Farmgate Rearer Pellets ACS  Ad lib / approx 5kg / bird 
Point of Lay  Farmgate Layers Pellets / Mash Ad lib or 1kg / bird / week
Table Birds
Day old - 3 weeks Farmgate Chick Crumbs ACS  Ad lib / approx 1.2kg / bird 
3 - 9 weeks Farmgate Rearer Pellets ACS  Ad lib / approx 7kg / bird
From 9 weeks to slaughter Farmgate Chicken Finisher Pellets ACS  Ad lib 
Birds prior to slaughter Farmgate Poultry Finisher Pellets Plain
(7 day withdrawal diet) 
Ad lib / 1 week before slaughter 
  Farmgate Mixed Poultry Corn As an afternoon scratch or treat 

Note: when feeding birds in numbers, just because there is food available, doesn't necessarily mean each bird its getting its daily requirement.  Some birds are meeker than others and remember the "pecking order", you  may find that others are being greedy and some going without.

Most laying birds will only require a 16% protein diet, whether it be in a pellet or mash form.  Feed should be fed to birds inside as if left out it can get wet, damp and develop mould.  Feed can develop mould quickly and cause botulism, showing up as Limber Neck.

Insoluble grit is a very useful aid in a laying hens digestive system, and can also be of benefit to young pullets.  You should supply an appropriate quantity of insoluble grit to birds from approximately 3 weeks of age.

Please note: Farmgate Layers feeds do not require any additional limestone or oyster shell grit.  The diet is fully balanced for optimum egg production, consistent shell quality, good yolk colour and excellent egg size.

Chicks (3 weeks old) 1g / bird once a week with food 
Pullets (6-11 weeks old)  2g / bird once a week with food 
Pullets (11 weeks to point of lay)  4-5g / bird once a week with food 
Laying Hens (throughout lay) 28g / bird / month sprinkled with food 

Please note: the proportion of the nutrient in the diet, is irrelevant unless you are getting the right feed intake into each bird.  Listed below are a list of vital nutrients and their requirement.

Carbohydrates, Fats & Oils Energy 
Protiens  Growth, Repair & Body Building 
Vitamin A  Normal growth, disease resistance
Vitamin B Optimum growth rate & production
Vitamin D  Strong eggshell, healthy growth, rickets prevention 
Calcium & Phospherous  Healthy bones & Strong shells
Zinc Healthy skin & feather development


Water, water, water................. drinkers should be filled with fresh water daily and cleaned thoroughly. Bugs and germs can quickly develop in unwashed, dirty drinkers, causing no end of problems.