Carbohydrates are the largest part of the chicken diet. These are used as quick energy and fuel sources. Common carbohydrates in chicken feed include corn, barley, wheat, and millet.
There are two types of minerals: trace minerals and bulk minerals. Trace minerals include copper, iodine, iron selenium, zinc, etc. Numerous minerals include calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium. Both minerals help with bone formation, muscle and nerve function. Grains often lack the minerals needed for a healthy poultry diet, so supplements can be used. For example, the recipe below contains a nutritional balancer. Alternatively, another excellent source of calcium is freely chosen oyster shells.
Vitamins play an important role in the growth and reproduction of chickens. Some vitamins can be produced by chickens, while others are provided by natural foods and supplements.
Chickens require fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K for normal skin and internal tissue development, bone development, blood coagulation, and eggshell production.
Water-soluble B vitamins such as biotin, nicotinic acid, riboflavin, and thiamine are essential for metabolism.
Protein is an important part of the chicken diet as it contributes to the development of the chicken body (muscles, skin, feathers, etc.). Animal-based proteins include fishmeal and meat-and-bone meal. Vegetable proteins include soybean meal, rapeseed meal, and corn gluten meal.
The feed contains more than 20 amino acids. Half of them are essential, including methionine and lysine, which are essential for egg production and overall health.
Poultry feed consists of a variety of plant proteins, such as soybean meal and corn protein, because no single protein can provide all the essential amino acids that chickens need. Sometimes, manufacturers use animal-based proteins such as bone meal and fish meal in their chicken feed. However, the latter tends to produce a fishy odor in poultry and eggs.
Fats, also known as fatty acids, produce more calories and help chickens absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Adding fat to chicken feed can also help with cold winter climates. Saturated fats that can be added to a chicken diet include lard and tallow.Researchers have confirmed that egg yolk fatty acids are affected by the fatty acids found in chicken food. Humans who eat these eggs have high levels of omega-6 fatty acids that can cause cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer.