Is Corn Good for Chickens? Benefits & Risks
Corn is among the best grains for chickens. This grain is easy for chickens to digest, and it is also low in fiber. Corn is also among the most affordable and accessible food options for chickens. Organically grown corn is a naturally healthy food option for chickens.
Corn has decent nutritional content, although the grain doesn’t have many minerals and nutrients compared to vegetables. Corn is safe for your chickens if you give this grain to your birds in moderation.
What are the Benefits of Feeding Corn to Chickens?
Corn comes in different varieties, all of which are beneficial for chickens. Besides corn being a crucial ingredient in most commercial chicken feeds, corn packs numerous benefits for chickens. These are among the many benefits of feeding corn to your chickens.
– Corn Can Help Prevent Constipation and Other Digestive Issues in Chickens
Corn has a higher fiber content than most food items we feed to our chickens. This grain has approximately 18.4% of fiber. Such a high amount of fiber helps alleviate chicken digestive issues, such as constipation.
Since corn is a whole grain, it has more fiber than wheat, which is an expensive food option for chickens. Although vegetables have plenty of minerals and nutrients, they have lots of fluid, which can make your birds experience diarrhea. Combining corn and vegetables will bulk your chickens’ stool, ultimately preventing the birds from experiencing diarrhea.
– Corn Can Provide Your Chickens with Essential Minerals
Corn contains multiple minerals that help ensure proper growth in chickens. For instance, this grain contains crucial trace minerals such as selenium, which is difficult for chickens to get from commercial feeds and most food items. Selenium helps chickens’ bodies absorb and retain vitamins
. Corn also packs phosphorus, which helps regulate growth in chickens. Phosphorus also helps promote bone health and kidney functioning in chickens. Magnesium is another crucial trace mineral in corn. It helps chickens maintain normal heart rates. The mineral further increases bone mineral density in chickens.
– Corn Keeps Your Chickens Energetic
Being high in carbohydrates, corn is an excellent energy source for chickens. One kernel of corn has approximately 62% starch, which is sufficient to keep your chickens energetic. Since they are usually active all day, chickens need energy-rich foods such as corn to keep them energetic.
That’s why poultry diets have corn because of its energy-rich benefits. Because corn is rich in carbohydrates, this grain is perfect for chickens in the winter.
Whole or Cracked Corn, Which Is Better for Chickens?
Both cracked and whole corn is good for chickens. Whole corn is perfect for adult chickens. Cracked corn, on the hand, is excellent for smaller chicks since it is easy for smaller birds to swallow and digest. Younger chickens can choke from eating whole corn.
Although cracked corn is easy for chickens to eat and digest, it doesn’t have substantial nutritional value compared to whole corn. Cracked corn undergoes cracking and drying, which can suppress the nutritional components in the corn.
Cracked corn has fewer calories, protein, fiber, and essential oils than whole corn. Chickens enjoy pecking at whole corn other than scratching and pecking at the tiny particles in cracked corn.
Overall, both cracked and whole corn is good for chickens. For instance, cracked corn is perfect for smaller chickens because of its ease of eating and digesting. Whole corn is excellent for adult chickens since it provides them with complete nutrition. Either way, neither cracked and whole corn is better than the other since they are healthy and safe for your chickens.
How Much Corn Should I Give My Chicken?
Excess amounts of anything aren’t good for chickens. This statement is applicable when it gets to feeding your chickens with corn. Corn should be a snack or a treat for your chickens. Poultry enthusiasts and veterinarians discourage chicken raisers from making corn integral to their birds’ diet.
Moreover, it would be wise if you didn’t substitute chicken feed with corn because corn doesn’t have all the vital nutrients poultry birds need for development and growth. It’s best to give your chickens corn in moderate amounts. Ideally, your flock should have a few tablespoons of cracked corn per week.
You can substitute corn with various fruits as treats and snacks for your birds. Doing this ensures your chickens get multiple types of minerals and vitamins. The primary issue with feeding your chickens too much corn is that corn can lead to fat build-up in chickens, ultimately making your chickens obese over time.
What Other Foods Can I Feed My Chicken Along with Corn?
While corn can be a good treat or snack for your chickens, it doesn’t have the complete nutrition that chickens need for healthy growth. For instance, corn doesn’t have substantial protein, which is imperative for meat and egg-producing chickens.
The calcium in corn can’t be enough for egg-laying hens to help them lay good-tasting eggs. That’s why it’s best to give chickens corn and other foods.
Vegetables pair well with corn because they can compensate for the essential minerals and nutrients lacking in corn. Vegetables have various vitamins your chickens can’t get from corn. For instance, vegetables contain vitamins K, C, A, and D. These vitamins play a crucial role in a chicken’s development.
Apart from vegetables, chickens also enjoy eating corn and scratch feed, a mixture of different grains, including wheat. The advantage of feeding chickens corn and scratch feed is that your chickens will enjoy pecking at the grains, ultimately helping the birds remain busy all day.
Furthermore, a scratch feed can provide your chickens with additional nutrition that they can’t derive from corn alone.
Combining corn with protein-rich foods like mealworms can make a healthy snack for chickens. It will make corn more enjoyable and delicious for your chickens. Fishmeal is another superb protein-rich food to combine with corn to give your birds a nutritional boost.
Corn is good and safe for chickens. Corn is a wonderful treat for chickens, whether whole or cracked because chickens love pecking at corn. Corn also has many benefits for chickens. As good as corn is for chickens, it doesn’t, however, provide the birds with complete nutrition.
It’s best to combine corn and other nutritious foods to complement your chickens’ diet, other than making the grain the primary food for your birds.