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Adult male chickens are known as roosters. Although roosters and chickens commonly peck around yards in search of seeds, grasses and insects, they require a specific diet that often involves supplemental feed. When caring for roosters, there are several things to consider to ensure that your roosters are consuming a healthy, balanced diet.
Roosters are omnivores. This means they eat both animal and plant foods. If roosters are fed a complete diet, such as from a feed store, they do not need any supplemental foods. This type of commercial feed provides roosters with all of the nutrients they need. If roosters are fed a variety of foods, such as grains, fruits, vegetables and insects, they should receive specially formulated supplemental feed to balance their diet. To help roosters with digestion, grit should be available in excess at least two days each month.
On the Menu
These feathered friends enjoy feeding on items such as berries, carrots, lettuce, cracked corn, stale bread, cauliflower, pumpkins and cooked oatmeal. Roosters consuming a complete diet from a feed store, such as mash, pellets and crumble feed, do not need supplemental foods. Roosters can forage around your yard for greens and insects, but this may not be enough to meet their nutritional demands. Roosters should not be fed avocados, uncooked or undercooked beans and raw green potato peels, as these items are toxic to them.
There are five types of nutrients essential to a rooster's diet: carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals. The amount of each nutrient (especially protein) varies as roosters age, as well as if you raise roosters for meat or for mating. For example, mature roosters raised for meat production should be fed a diet between 14 to 16 percent protein, while breeding roosters should be fed between 14 to 18 percent protein.
Attention to Quality
Feed quality is important when caring for roosters. If feed is moldy or stale, roosters likely will not eat it. Or, if they do eat it, they may not get enough vitamins from the feed since it is no longer fresh. Roosters also may fall ill if they consume moldy feed, which contain toxins. Always ensure that all previous feed is eaten before filling with new feed to avoid waste and prevent the growth of mold. New food should be purchased at least every two months. Additionally, feeding areas should be kept clean.
A rooster weighing 6 pounds eats approximately 3 pounds of food each week. Once roosters have obtained enough energy from food, they stop eating. Ensure that the amount of food they're eating contains the proper nutrients they need. Also consider that portion sizes change when the seasons change. During the winter, roosters may require more feed than they do during the summer since they use more energy to keep warm. Continual access to clean water is also essential, especially when temperatures are higher.
- Alabama Cooperative Extension System: Nutrition for Backyard Chicken Flocks
- University of California, Davis: Feeding Chickens
- University of Minnesota: Backyard Chicken Basics
- The Humane Society of the United States: Adopting and Caring for Backyard Chickens
- Utah State University: Principles of Feeding Small Flocks of Chickens at Home
- Northwestern University: Chicken
- Backyard Chickens: Chicken Treat Chart
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