Hank Will, Editor-in-Chief of GRIT Magazine, and Dr. Gordon Ballam of Purina Animal Nutrition explain proper diet through each stage of growth in a chicken’s lifespan.
Starting chicks and laying hens have their own unique nutritional needs. A chick’s diet should be optimized for growth with a blend of 18% protein and 3% fat; whereas, a laying hen’s diet should be optimized for egg production with a poultry feed that contains 16% protein and 2.5% fat along with added calcium.
While many people free-range their chickens, Dr. Ballam and Purina recommend that no more than 10% of a chicken’s diet come from table scraps or foraging. However, oyster shells can be added to their diet in the foraging summer months in order to produce stronger egg shells.