Have you ever wondered about feeding whole wheat for chickens? Learn why this grain is a part of the answer, “How to take care of chickens.”
Even though chickens are foragers, they have a pretty meticulous diet.
If their diet does not include all of the vitamins and minerals they need, your chickens will experience health problems, changes in appearance, and infrequent eggs.
Needless to say, it’s imperative to feed your chickens a well-balanced diet.
So today we ask ourselves the question – can chickens eat whole wheat? Is whole wheat good for chickens to eat?
To learn how to feed whole wheat to your chickens, its benefits, and drawbacks, keep reading. This article dives into what you need to know about whole wheat for chickens.
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Can Chickens Eat Whole Wheat?
Simply put, chickens can eat whole wheat.
One ingredient that many homesteaders add to their chicken feed is whole wheat. Whole wheat certainly is healthy for chickens, but it has to be fed with other foods in order for chickens to have a comprehensive diet.
In other words, you have to feed whole wheat to your chickens correctly to see the benefits of it.
There is nothing dangerous about whole wheat, and it contains a number of vitamins and minerals that your chickens need to be happy.
For example, whole wheat has a super high fiber content. It’s certainly a good idea to incorporate whole wheat into your chicken’s diet.
That being said, whole wheat cannot be the exclusive diet of your chickens.
Wheat is low in protein and does not include all of the essential vitamins and minerals that chickens need.
You will see reduced egg production, picked feathers, and changes in personality if you only feed whole wheat to your chicken.
Read Also – When Do Chickens Get Their Feathers?
You have to find a balance in your chickens’ meals. You can incorporate whole wheat into your chickens’ feed, but you must mix in other ingredients to ensure your chickens get all of the vitamins and minerals they need for sustained health.
Can Ducks Eat Whole Wheat?
Ducks can certainly eat whole wheat, and it can even be beneficial for them. Whole wheat is a good source of fiber, which can help ducks maintain their digestive health.
However, it’s important to make sure that ducks also have access to other healthy foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. And as always, make sure your ducks are getting plenty of niacin (from sources such as brewer’s yeast). Ducks who only eat whole wheat may miss out on important nutrients that they need to stay healthy.
So, while ducks can eat whole wheat, it’s important to give them a well-rounded diet.
Nutritional Benefits Of Whole Wheat For Chickens
Whole wheat comes in two varieties: hard and soft. Hard wheat has a higher protein content, whereas soft wheat has a higher starch content.
Hard wheat is best for chicken simply because it has a higher protein amount.
Some experts today believe that feeding hard whole wheat to your chickens improves their digestive tract. More specifically, it can help increase your birds’ ability to resist coccidiosis.
Of course, it has a lot of carbohydrates that can power your chickens through the day.
Here’s a look at the nutrition content of both hard and soft wheat:
|Metabolizable energy||3170Kcal/kg||3210 Kcal/kg|
|Metabolizable energy||1440 kcal/lb||1460 kcal/lb|
Drawbacks Of Whole Wheat For Chicken
As we’ve already touched on, the biggest drawback of whole wheat for your chickens is that it does not contain all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that your chickens need to survive. You cannot feed whole wheat to your chickens exclusively.
For example, whole wheat does not have a high enough protein content to be the only source of protein for chickens. It also does not contain enough methionine, which is a mineral that chickens need a lot of but have difficulty getting.
Because whole wheat does not provide a comprehensive diet for your chickens, you will have to purchase other ingredients and nutrients for your chickens.
For most chicken owners, this is not a big deal since chicken feed typically includes many ingredients anyways.
How To Feed Whole Wheat To Chickens
The best way to feed whole wheat to your chickens is to mix it into their homemade feed. Feed typically includes a handful of different ingredients to ensure chickens have access to all the food they need to be happy and healthy.
If you are wondering how to mix your own chicken feed, we recommend mixing the following ingredients:
- Field peas
- Whole wheat
- Oats or barley
- Fish meal
- Oyster shell
- Diatomaceous earth
Another fun and easy (not to mention inexpensive) way to feed chole wheat to chickens is by growing your own fodder. Simply put, growing your own fodder for chickens means you soak and sprout your whole wheat before feeding it to your backyard flock.
In addition to your chicken feed, make sure your chickens have areas to forage for insects and weeds. You can also feed your chickens dry mealworms as a treat.
Together, all these ingredients and food sources will provide your chickens with the comprehensive dietary requirements they need.
Read Also – Simple Homemade Chicken Feed Recipes
Whole wheat is a good ingredient to incorporate into your chicken feed. However, whole wheat cannot be the only ingredient you feed to your chickens.
Instead, you will have to concoct a chicken feed that uses a variety of ingredients to ensure your chickens get the nutrients they need.
Even if you have a healthy feed, make sure that your chickens can forage and has access to insects, seeds, and plants.
By using all of these food sources, you can trust that your chicken is getting a comprehensive diet in addition to the whole wheat.
Charlene has been dabbling in and learning about the homesteading lifestyle for almost 20 years. She recently started a real-world homestead with her extended family and is excited to share 20+ years of knowledge and experience with the world!
While she certainly doesn't know everything about homesteading and is learning more every day, she is excited to learn and grow along with YOU!
Charlene blogs about about homesteading at https://secretlifeofhomesteaders.com/.