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Have you decided to start a poultry farm? You’ve done your research, built a pen, and bought the necessary things but you’re not sure what feeding equipment you should have on your farm for the chickens.
This article will guide you on what feeding equipment you should buy for your chickens.
Poultry feeding systems are designed to function in tandem with poultry cage systems, ensuring that feed is distributed evenly throughout the cages. To provide feed for hens, the automatic poultry feeding system may be used in various poultry cage systems.
Even though a chicken’s requirements are pretty basic, the correct kit may make life easier for the owner.
It might be tough to choose chicken equipment from the large array of accessories available. Still, I have compiled a list of the items you’ll need to get started on your chicken-keeping adventure.
Feeding Equipment For Chickens
1. Chicken Feed
Modern chicken feeds are designed to give a comprehensive and balanced meal for laying hens, breeding stock, chicks, and growers, among other things.
Pellets or mash are the most common types of feed, although crumbs are also offered for chicks and ex-battery hens.
Pellets are simple to feed and keep clean, whereas mash may be fed moist or dry. Wet mash should be given in a trough since it quickly spoils and must be withdrawn if not consumed. Dry mash takes longer for hens to consume than pellets, so it’s good for keeping caged chickens engaged. However, it can be untidy, and it is not recommended for hens with crests or face feathering.
You’ll also find grain for hens in the feed store, mainly whole wheat or mixed corn. Grain is a heating meal for chickens (helpful in the winter) and should be provided as a treat in the afternoon after they’ve eaten their balanced diet.
Check the use-by dates on chicken feed because it has a shelf life. Strike a balance between having enough feed on hand (particularly during the holidays) and storing so much that it expires before the hens can consume it.
If you need to switch your hens’ feed, do it gradually to minimize upset stomachs.
2. Chicken Feeder
Chickens are messy eaters, so a well-designed feeder will prevent food from becoming sour and attract vermin by keeping it from being spread.
Choose a cylinder feeder with a partitioned trough to minimize waste. Feeders put outside require a leak-proof ‘hat’ to keep the feed from being destroyed by the weather.
Raising the feeder allows detritus to fall away from the food. Some feeders have legs or maybe hung up; if not, a feeder stand or a couple of bricks would suffice.
Is it better to use metal or plastic?
Metal feeders are more costly than plastic feeders, but they are more durable in general. Good-quality plastic is likely to be sufficient for the first-time keeper with a few hens — choosing the cheapest is typically a false economy. Lightweight feeders are easily knocked over and broken. Simple ones don’t always have enough room for the feed to flow freely into the trough.
What is the size of the feeder?
The average chicken consumes 120-150 grams of food each day, but you should allow for more per bird to ensure that those at the bottom of the pecking order get their fair portion.
Choose a size that will comfortably accommodate your flock’s daily demands. For example, it is advisable to provide fresh food every day rather than filling a large feeder with enough food to last a week.
If you have a bigger flock, two feeders rather than one huge one will help you prevent feeding squabbles.
3. Bins for storing feed
Dry, rodent-proof containers keep food fresh and keep unwelcome guests away. Although galvanized storage bins are best, a metal trashcan with a tight-fitting cover would suffice. Although rats have been known to eat through plastic dustbins, they are less expensive. The leftover feed can be stored overnight in a spare container. Always remove the feeder at night; there’s no need to keep food or water in the henhouse because roosting birds don’t eat or drink.
A feed scoop (or an old cup) can transfer food from the bag to the feeder.
Free-range hens pick up small stones to aid in the digestion of their diet. If your hens are restricted in any way, flint (insoluble) grit should be provided. Put it in a little dish or hopper for them to take as they want.
Soluble grit (shown) is a calcium supplement that aids in the formation of robust eggshells. Commercial diets should provide adequate calcium, but soluble grit may be served the same way as flint grit, and the hens will eat what they require.
Mixed grit is a mix of the two sorts and is convenient to keep on hand.
It’s easy to keep your hens supplied with clean water using a suitable drinker.
Choose an easy-to-fill drinker, especially if you plan to keep multiple hens. The center section of most tower drinkers is turned upside down for filling, then the base is reattached, and the drinker is set upright again. Although filling a big drinker from the top might be difficult, several varieties can be done.
Drinkers with a locking base are better than push-on bases, common on inexpensive plastic versions. These are not only difficult to fill, but they can also become blocked, leaving thirsty birds.
The drinker, like the feeder, should be elevated above ground level. It should be placed away from direct sunlight to avoid toxic algae growth and keep the water cold.
Is it better to use metal or plastic?
If you plan to drink Apple Cider Vinegar, use a plastic drinker instead of a metal, as the metal will rust.
On the other hand, metal is tough, long-lasting, and, unlike plastic, does not shatter in cold temperatures. A glass top on certain metal drinks aids in checking water levels.
What is the size of your drinker?
During the day, chickens must have access to fresh water, and dehydrated hens will cease producing eggs.
In hot or cold conditions, provide at least 500ml per bird and check the drinker frequently.
When purchasing chicken equipment, keep in mind that a huge container full of water is heavy, so a pair of medium-sized drinkers may be more doable for a little person with a large flock!
6. Material for bedding
Although chickens do not sleep on their ‘bedding,’ the henhouse floor should be protected with a dust-free material to absorb water, provide insulation, and make cleaning easier.
Wood shavings that have been dust-extracted are widely known. Still, several other choices, including hemp (which is more absorbent) and even chopped cardboard. If you have the room, larger bales are more cost-effective.
7. The dust-bath
Hens allowed to roam freely will create their own arrangements, while caged chickens require a dust bath to clean their skin and feathers.
Virtually anything that will hold fine dry soil or soft sand might be utilized, such as a plastic box, washing-up bowl, or sandpit tray. However, don’t use a cardboard box since it will decompose and be eaten by the chickens.
8. Cleaning Out Kit
A little shovel, a stiff brush, and a pail are all you need to get started. Scraping dried-on droppings with a scraper can help. To clean drinks and feeders, keep a washing-up brush by the yard tap. When dealing with mucky chores — and cranky broody chickens! – heavy-duty rubber gloves come in handy.
9. First-Aid Kit
Internal parasites are common in chickens, and a worm test followed by a worming regimen may be necessary to keep them under control. Check for worms at least twice a year, in the spring and fall, but depending on how your hens are housed (chickens in a static run are more challenged), you may need to check more frequently.
Flubenvet is a licensed (tested) chicken wormer that is mixed into the feed. Only a Suitably Qualified Person (SQP) should sell it. It should be purchased online (you should be required to fill out a form), at some feed stores, or through your veterinarian.
Herbal treatments can also be used to deworm hens naturally. These can help prevent the growth of worms, but they must be tested regularly to confirm that they are effective.
If you’ve chosen to raise chickens, one of the first things you’ll need to do is find an appropriate home for your new feathered family members. There are many choices to be made when feeding your flock, but the essentials stay the same. We’ve listed the basic chicken coop equipment you’ll need to keep your hens secure, happy, and healthy.
If you are confused about where to start your journey to poultry farming, I have an article that will guide you to achieving this dream.
You can read it HERE