How to feed chickens in winter so that they can lay eggs well
The correct and balanced nutrition of laying hens is the key to their high egg production, and, accordingly, the productivity and profitability of poultry farming. The issue of the diet of birds is aggravated during the period of cold weather, when they need special care: often chickens lose weight and become sick, as a result of which their egg production decreases. This article discusses the features of winter feeding of chickens and caring for them.
What is the difference between feeding in winter
Winter is a difficult time of the year for chickens, so a poultry breeder should carefully take care of the living conditions of their pets in the chicken coop and their diet. When colds come, the productivity of laying hens drops sharply.
The low temperature regime and the lack of useful nutrients provoke stress in their body: chickens spend a lot of energy and energy on warming themselves, and, accordingly, there are very few resources for egg formation. Egg production is rapidly declining.Beginner kufurod should not save on bird nutrition. In the winter diet of birds you need to include the necessary amount of green and succulent food, since birds do not have such access to greenery as it was in the summer, and cannot provide themselves with useful substances on their own.
Also in winter there are no insects that chickens adore to hunt, and which are the main sources of protein. All the missing substances must be compensated by organizing the proper nutritional diet, which is recommended to include meat and bone meal and fish meal, fish waste, grass, insects, etc.
The daily dose of food for birds in winter is slightly larger than the summer and birds should be fed more often during cold weather: in the morning and in the afternoon they should be provided with succulent forages and mash mashines, and in the evening - with dry forages. We offer an indicative comparative table of summer and winter diet for laying hens.
Did you know? The chicken is able to recognize its owner from a distance of 10 meters.
Feeding chickens in summer and winter:
|Flight norm (gram / day)||Winter rate (gram / day)|
|grain components - 50||grain components - 50|
|flour mixes - 50||mishmash - 30|
|vitamin hay flour - 10||boiled potatoes - 100|
|juicy solid food - 30-50||meal, oilcake - 7-10|
|protein sources - about 15||hay flour (can be replaced with dried nettle) - 10|
|mineral additives - 5–6||mineral additives - 5–6|
|bone and fish meal - 2–5 each||bone and fish meal - 2–5 each|
|vegetable components, herbs - 60||dairy products, yogurt - 100|
|additives of animal origin - 6||additives of animal origin - 6|
Winter chicken diet
One of the easiest and most effective ways to increase the number of eggs at home in winter is to organize the proper feeding of laying hens. The result will be visible in a few days.
To provide the chicken body with the necessary amount of microelements in winter, it is necessary to include in its food a complex of cereals, consisting of corn, wheat, oats, barley.
- Wheat is most effective for increasing egg production; therefore, it should make up the lion's share of the nutritional complex (70%). In winter, the amount of wheat can be reduced by 30% and replaced with crushed corn, which contains a lot of carbohydrates.
- About 10% of the grain mixture can be oats (rich in proteins), but no more: grain consists of fiber, which requires a lot of energy to digest.
- Large reserves of proteins and vitamins are found in rye, but poultry farmers often abandon this type of grain because of its considerable cost.
Important! You can’t feed the chicken with corn: in its grains there is a lot of fat, which can provoke obesity of the bird.
In the winter diet of chickens, it is important to maintain a balance, so vegetables must be included in the diet. Procurement of some necessary food products is advisable to do in the summer.
- First of all, we are talking about root crops. It is useful to introduce carrots into the diet - for this, feed varieties of this vegetable are best suited. Make sure that in your garden there are several beds of carrots planted specifically for chickens.
- It is useful to feed the beetroot with layers. In terms of yield, fodder beets are in the lead, but the dining room wins in terms of nutrients and taste. In addition, the feed grade is quite difficult to store: root crops dry out quickly. Which variety to grow for your chickens is up to you. For introduction into the diet, it is advisable to give root crops in grated form with grain or bran.
- Chickens are very fond of melons and gourds: pumpkin, zucchini. Melon vegetables can be cut, and birds will peck them, and you can grind and add to the grain.
- One of the favorite chicken vegetables is potatoes. It needs to be "served" to chickens only boiled. You can boil both the potato itself and its peeling.
Chicken dishes should be varied: you can’t feed your pets exclusively with grain or vegetables. It is appropriate to make a blender (wet food), both from solid feed with grain (the already mentioned mixture of vegetables and grain crops), and from soft - grass, fish and meat additives, bran, vegetables, flour products.Usually, the poultry breeders themselves make the mash. For its preparation, the following ingredients are used (portion for one chicken):
- boiled potatoes, grated raw vegetables, chopped greens - 50 g;
- grain component - 45 g;
- bran or oatmeal - 20 g;
- fermented milk products - 10 g (you can use cottage cheese, yogurt);
- chalk - 3 g;
- fish oil - 1 g;
- oilcake, meal, yeast - 7 g;
- bone meal - 5 g;
- fish meal - 5 g;
- boiled and chopped legumes - 5 g;
- salt - 0.5 g;
- water - to achieve a loose consistency.
It is also important that poisonous plants, for example, leaves and stems of celandine, wormwood, and horsetail, do not get into the feeder. You can add a little bakery products to the blender, but just not baking.
Important! Feed the birds 3 times a day. Bird eating should last 30-40 minutes. If your pets dealt with food faster, then there was too little food.
In winter, laying hens need calcium especially, so it’s worth providing them with this microelement, as well as other vitamins. For this, birds need to be constantly pampered with useful additives:
- Fish oil, meat and bone meal and fish meal are rich in amino acids that will help chickens stay in good shape in the cold season. Also, fish oil contains fatty acids, which are necessary for chickens for normal life.
- The needles supply the chicken body with vitamins and minerals.
- In order to increase the immunity of birds, improve their health, ensure proper development, growth and metabolism, yeast is added to the feed, but not more than 7% of the total diet. This product is rich in proteins, proteins, acids (pantothenic, nicotinic), B vitamins (B1, B2) and trace elements. Different types of yeast (baker's, fodder, brewer's) can be used as a feed additive for layers.
- Nutritional supplements for laying hens also include feed shells. They are rich in calcium, magnesium, iodine, vitamin D - substances that are responsible for metabolism, egg production, prevent problems with the musculoskeletal system, bone tissue and cannibalism, and improve the quality of eggs and shells. Shredded shells can be purchased at agricultural stores.The supplement purchased there underwent the necessary heat treatment and does not have sharp edges, and, accordingly, will not harm the chicken when eaten.
- In order to increase the winter egg production of chickens, it is effective to feed the feathered germinated grains of wheat, barley, oats. Such an additive can increase the immunity of birds, prevent problems with the musculoskeletal system, bones and joints, and the digestive system. Some poultry farmers pour sprouted grain into the litter so that the chicken, combing, finds it and eats it.
Important! In chicken diet, sprouted grain should be no more than 30%. If the amount is higher, the supplement can cause harm: the body is oversaturated with iron, which is harmful to the proper functioning of organs and systems. Digestive problems may also occur.
In the chicken coop, in addition to feeders, there must be a container with river sand, which helps to improve the digestion of layers. Along with sand, you can give chickens and wood ash, which performs similar functions.The advantage of ash over sand is its ability to absorb odors, in this case, the smell of chicken droppings. But it is worth remembering that such an additive provokes a strong thirst, so you need to provide your pets with the necessary amount of water.
In addition, chickens are not very willing to peck ash. It’s best to add a little of this to your main feed.
Important! Keep the chicken feeders clean: they need to be washed after each feeding, especially if the birds fed on a mash. The remaining products quickly begin to ferment and create a favorable environment for the growth of bacteria, and this is fraught with diseases of your pets.
A feeding trough and a drinking bowl are two containers that should be in each chicken coop. After all, the chicken, having eaten well, immediately wants to drink food, regardless of the season. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the birds constantly have fresh water.
It is recommended to change it daily; This is best done in the morning, as the temperature usually drops on a winter evening and the water can freeze quickly.Water can be replaced with snow, but it is a mistake to assume that the liquid obtained from thawed snow will be enough for birds to quench their thirst. From time to time, in order to disinfect and disinfect the feathered organism, a little potassium permanganate can be added to the water: the liquid should have a light pink tint.
So that the chickens, while rowing, do not contaminate the drinker, it must be put on a stand. The height should be comfortable for your pets, that is, they should easily jump onto the edges of the drinker.
Did you know? Chicken is able to remember the appearance of more than a hundred people.
Conditions for good egg production
Not only food affects the egg production and quality of eggs, but also the living conditions of laying hens. Consider what conditions for keeping birds need to adhere to:
- Spaciousness. The chicken coop should be arranged in such a way that approximately 0.2–0.5 m² of area is allocated to each bird. This is comfortable not only for pets, but also for the poultry breeder, since it is easier to clean in a spacious chicken coop.
- Wall insulation. One of the important stages of preparation for winter, which is aimed at maintaining the optimum temperature regime in the chicken coop, as well as protecting birds from drafts and cold weather. Warming should be done in the fall - for this they use heat-insulating materials, which sheathe not only the walls, but also the doors. It is also recommended to insulate the windows with polyethylene film and foam for installation.
- Purity. The chicken coop should be clean and tidy. Cleaning should be done often. It includes several types: once a week cleaning of perches and nests should be carried out, and once a month it is necessary to carry out disinfection in the chicken coop, which should be preceded by general cleaning of the room (including cleaning windows, gathering cobwebs, etc.). As for drinkers and feeders, they need to be cleaned every day.
- Lighting. One of the guarantees of high egg production. The fact is that light affects the functionality of chicken ovaries, and, accordingly, productivity. Therefore, it is important that the coop has large windows through which the amount of daylight needed by your pets can enter. In the autumn and winter, when the duration of daylight hours sharply decreases, it is necessary to equip the chicken coop with artificial lighting; can be used for this purpose fluorescent lamps, the light of which is very similar to daylight. Ideally, the chicken should receive light from 6–9 a.m. to 5–20 p.m.
- Temperature. The optimum temperature regime in the chicken coop for good egg laying in hens in winter is approximately 15ºС (fluctuations within 12–18ºС are allowed). A sharp drop in temperature leads to the fact that birds lose their plumage and stop laying eggs, so in winter it is advisable to take care of how to heat the chicken coop. You can use a heat gun, heating lamp, radiator, air conditioning.
- Litter. It is recommended to change the litter every three days. In its quality, you can use straw or sawdust. The optimum thickness of the litter is from 7 to 15 cm.
Important! Keep the litter dry. It is impossible to prevent an increase in humidity in the chicken coop, as this is fraught with decay of the litter and the formation of microbes and bacteria in its thickness, which can provoke bird diseases.
To make poultry farming profitable, you should work hard and take care of the birds. They need to create all the conditions for normal life and productive egg production. This includes the arrangement of the chicken coop and the selection of the right nutritious diet, which is especially true in the winter.