The golden crumble your new baby chicks are devouring these days was carefully formulated for their unique needs.
You won’t be surprised to hear that a large component of chick starter is grains. Poultry have a unique digestive system that you can learn more about here. Their digestive system is suited well for taking advantage of the nutrients found in these grains. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common grains found in poultry feed. These ingredients are carefully selected in order to support a baby chick’s nutritional needs:
- Energy to support daily needs and growth
- Protein (including critical amino acids like Lysine) to support muscle growth and development
- Fiber for optimum digestion
- Vitamins and minerals to support rapid skeletal system growth and other essential functions.
Soybean meal: Dried and crushed beans from the soybean plant, soybean meal offers the highest concentration of protein of plant proteins. Often 44 to 48% protein.
Canola meal: Also dried and crushed seeds from the canola plant (noted for their beautiful yellow blooms). Canola meal also is very dense in protein. It is often used in conjunction with soybean meal, or as a replacement, when soy is not desired in a formulation. Nutrena NatureWise Hearty Hen, our soy-free, omega-3 from flax poultry layer feed, contains canola meal.
Corn: Corn is a go-to source for energy in poultry feed. Cracked corn is often viewed as a pastoral, traditional form of poultry feed. However, as nutrition research has advanced, we now understand that a diet made entirely of corn is lacking in protein as well as essential vitamins and minerals.
Wheat midds: Never heard of it? We’re not surprised. Wheat midds are a byproduct of the wheat milling process. Byproducts can sometimes be viewed as a filler or leftover, but, in the case of poultry feeds, wheat midds make a great addition to poultry feed. Midds are a good source of energy, protein, and fiber. They also help create a nice pellet that holds together and reduces dust.
Besides grains, premium poultry feeds often contain value-added ingredients. Nutrena NatureWise poultry feeds, for example, contains the following:
Pre and probiotics: These feed additives benefit both microbes in the chicken’s gut and adds beneficial bacteria to the existing population in the chicken’s digestive tract. To learn more about prebiotics and probiotics, click here.
Vitamins and minerals: Just like humans, supplemental vitamins and minerals help poultry stay healthy and preform regular body functions like seeing, growing, and eventually, laying eggs.