5 tips to feed your hens well

Choose a varied and complete feed.

A balanced diet makes for a healthy hen.
But, how can I be sure I’m feeding my hens properly? Don’t panic! We have all the answers you’ll need. Hens eat grain (they are granivorous). You can choose an all-in-one pellet-based feed, or you can give them grain, such as wheat, oats, or maize, to which you can add dietary supplements. Gasco has selected produce to provide your hens with high-quality feeds, tailored to their needs and desires.
And what about organic feeds? If this subject is particularly important to you, organic feed can provide your hens with benefits. Gasco has also developed a range of 100% organic feeds. Whether you opt for conventional or organic feed, rest assured that Gasco sources quality grain to meet your hens’ needs.

The vet's advice

Contrary to common belief, hens are not just there to finish your left-overs. Obviously, they help cut food waste, but don’t take them to be dustbins. Your scraps are just an addition to their specific and balanced diet. Only a feed developed for their needs will keep them in good health, adapt to changes in their surroundings and lay tasty eggs.”

deux poules dans un champ d'herbe

Animal-based feeds

Just like people, hens need a varied diet.
Perhaps you’re wondering how they manage? Like lots of animals, hens make the most of what nature offers them. They search for any little bug or grub living in the soil. So, naturally, they dig to seek out their future victims. As they are always looking for food, this helps them supplement their diet with animal-based sources of food. They love unearthing delicious insects and worms. Nature subsequently fulfils its role by offering supplementary sources of energy and nutrition. Your hens need, or even demand, a varied diet to keep them in good health.

The vet's advice

“When hens look for insects, or worms, they do so for their own benefit. It might be easy to think that they do it to feed their chicks, but nothing could be further from the truth. If they don’t feed their chicks, it is not because they are selfish; chicks don’t need to be fed to grow. In fact, chicks are nidifugous species. This means they can cope by themselves as soon as they hatch. Chicks can therefore wander around the hen house freely to eat, without the help of their mothers.

How much food should you give them each day?

You shouldn’t give hens more than a certain daily amount. A few kilos too much could have a rapid detrimental effect on their health.
They need 120 to 130 grammes of food a day for their nutritional needs. The way you feed them depends on your lifestyle. If you have time, throw them a few scraps. This encourages them to seek out their food in the hen house and matches their natural behaviour to peck at things. If you are pushed for time, put some food in a feeder and they’ll eat when they want. This is a useful solution when you go on holiday. So don’t worry, you can go away for the weekend! If you need to go away, you can fill a feeder with the right quantity of food. Your hens will automatically eat what they need based on their needs. On the other hand, if you go away for several days, get a friend or relative to check the hens have enough to eat and that everything is fine in the hen house.

The changing seasons, a key factor

For both people and animals, the start of a new season can have physical effects. So, its best to keep a close eye on things.
In winter, colder temperatures require specific attention to details. You need to make some changes, but don’t worry, you don’t need to move the chicken coop in your house. Hens can live outside even in winter. That said, colder temperatures mean that hens use more energy and this can make them more sensitive to things. To make up for this, you can either up the quantity of their food, or feed them more often during the day. However, you mustn’t forget the energy they use when laying. As a result, you can easily see the importance that diet has during the winter.
In summer, your eyes need to be on water. As it is drier, your hens need to drink and cool down. So, you need to give them plenty of clean water.

Water, exactly, but how much?

Water is just as vital for animals as it is for us. Hens are thirsty animals. They drink a lot of water each day. Make sure your hens have access to good, clean water to enjoy all the benefits. What’s more, they need to enough water and reach it when they want. Above all, make sure you change the water regularly so that it remains cool for long enough.

The vet's advice

Hens need lots of water because they are granivorous birds. Grain is made up of dry matter that can alter certain body tissue or organs involved in the digestive process. Hens instinctively feel when they are thirsty when digesting and consequently hydrate more. And the only way to be better hydrated is to drink more water. “