Chickens are omnivores with simple stomachs. They can and will eat both animal and vegetable products. In addition to foraged plants and insects, it is important to provide them with adequate protein in a form that is easily digested. Heritage Chickens need more protein than is in rations prepared for commercial chickens. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy recommends feeding for the first 16-18 weeks of age a ration containing 28% protein, most often found in Game Bird rations or Flock diets for turkeys and waterfowl.
For adult birds, the feed protein level can be backed off to 18-20%. For breeding birds, make sure their diet consists of a quality diet formulated for breeders. Note that the typical layer pellet is an industrial breed ration that contains minimal calcium and often does not include sufficient vitamins and minerals to ensure high fertility and hatchability of eggs. If you are growing for market do not skimp on the food – ever. Provide fresh food and clean water throughout the day to ensure healthy, productive birds.
For more information on raising productive, healthy birds, visit ALBC’s Heritage Chicken site.
i got my first 5 chicks two weeks ago. and got 3 more on 6-5-15 . i have’nt had chickens since 1978 when my mother died. i have enjoyed them a lot . They are so funny to watch , all have their own personality. I cant wait when I get my first egg. I have chicks from 8 weeks to 3/12 months. I have 2 barred rock , 1 lavender and 1 splash orpington, 2 rhode island reds ,1 golden laced wyandottes and 1americana .. My husband and i built a 8×6 house with 2 house windows and a house door. We put hardware cloth over the windows and made a screen door (with a pull up ) and a solid door too (their door) .The lot is 8×16 with 2×4 fence and 12″ in the ground all the way around. The house is 2′ off ground so they can go under it.