In the process of raising chickens, feeding chickens is one of the very important steps. Therefore, it requires the chicken feeder to have a good grasp of what the breed can or cannot eat.
At the same time, farmers must also make sure that the meal is nutritious enough for the chicken to grow healthy and avoid some common intestinal issues, reduce egg production, ovulation,…
So, can chickens eat wheat? Yes, they can. This healthy treat can also benefit chickens. But how to properly feed chickens? Let’s find out.
What is wheat?
Wheat is one of those poultry foods. Wheat is harvested after peeling high-fiber wheat hulls. Wheat has three main types: hard wheat, soft wheat, and durum wheat.
Hard wheat is often fed to chickens because it has a very high amount of gluten and protein content of over 10% while soft wheat is typically less than 10%.
Essential nutrient for chickens
Compared with ruminant animals such as pigs or cows, chickens have more meticulous nutrient requirements. Chicken needs a lot of amino acids in protein intake, especially methionine.
Methionine is restricted in natural protein sources. Meanwhile, poultry needs a high methionine requirement in fatty foods for feather development and egg quality.
Therefore, methionine has always been considered the first essential amino acid for poultry diets.
The percentage of protein and gluten in chicken diets is from 30% to 60%.
In addition to protein, healthy chickens also need fresh water, probiotics, minerals, and vitamins such as vitamin D, vitamin A, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and carotene. The percentage of minerals in birds’ diets is 2 to 4%.
A favorite treat for pullet has lots of food combinations in-trays, such as wheat bread, flour, kelp, alfalfa, pasta, onion, insects, weeds, garlic, sunflower seed, chickens kitchen scraps, fish bone, mice, oyster, or bananas.
If the flock owners only breed the flocks in the yard or barn and do not allow them to hunt in the wild like wild birds or free-range chickens, they will likely suffer digestion damage, muscle gain, feather development, and egg production.
As such, you not only lose the cost of raising baby chickens from a young age but also cannot sell pounds of chickens at a high price.
Can chickens eat wheat?
Because chickens are omnivores, they can eat wheat. Wheat or wheat bread is wholesome food. But the chickens cannot just eat wheat or eat wheat at a level that exceeds the chicken nutrient standard about qualities and quantities.
Because chickens will lack and excess some of the following substances:
Low in protein
Wheat has very little protein whole source for chickens extremely needs the amino acids present in animal protein to grow rapidly.
According to scientifically proven, the minimum level of protein in the food source of chickens is 16% protein. Whereas the percent of wheat only has about 14% protein.
Less essential minerals and vitamins
According to the study, wheat is also lacking in minerals and vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, K, B) needed to meet the essential nutrition in the source of food of the chicken. The percent of the calcium in wheat is only 0.05%.
Phosphorus in durum wheat grains was only 0.41% and soft wheat was only 0.30%. While the percent of minerals and vitamins that chicken pellet needs from 2 to 4%.
High fiber content
Because the grain-rich shell is removed from the harvested wheat, the hens that eat the hulled wheat will be lacking in fiber, unlike the grain where the shell is intact, unlike the grain where the shell is intact.
As such, wheat grains is not food for chickens because it is high in fiber, low in protein, vitamins, and minerals. The wholemeal breed is best suited for horses on farms instead of chickens for a long period.
What will chickens look like after eating wheat only?
Reduced egg production
If chickens are deficient in the amino acids as Omega-3 Fatty Acids present in animal protein for a long time, a reduction in egg production is apparent. Because pullets need a lot of phosphorus and calcium to create eggshells.
Also, due to the lack of vitamin B5 when eating wheat, the epidermis of the skin and mucous membranes of the digestive and respiratory tract of the chickens were damaged, the incubation rate was poor.
Pick up the feathers
Regular wheat-eating chickens will be able to peck their tail feathers to eat. When lacking vitamin H (also known as biotin), chickens will lose feathers, skin inflammation, and tail feathers, specially in summer.
If farmers do not provide enough vitamins and minerals in green potato peel, berries, potato, flax seeds, or soybean, the chicken is very susceptible to intestinal distress, becoming impatient and pecking each other.
When eating wheat too long, the chicken will become more aggressive than any other in the chicken trough.
Easy to get sick
Without minerals, chickens will be susceptible to disease because of the weak resistance and the difficult metabolic processes in the body. Besides, chickens also will not be full of beans.
Affect the whole body and the development of the chicken
Wheat grains are rich in B vitamins and provide adequate amounts of amino acids compared to other quality grains.
However, what should not be used as a direct feed with relatively high levels of non-starchy carbohydrates, overfeeding will cause indigestion, affecting chicken growth.
Also, in wheat, there are no B vitamins that chickens need, so chickens will be susceptible to hydrostatic tissue disease, causing edema, tender meat, stunting, and inflammation in the eyes and mouth.
The internal health of the healthy flock will also be severely affected.
If feeders only need chicken eggs, feeders should be satisfied with light egg-laying hens like the White Leghorn and wheat feeding.
But if farmers have higher requirements, never let the backyard chickens eat wheat for a long time or the amount of wheat mixed with other food is 20% higher and 16% lower.
Other healthy treats
Instead of using wheat to feed the chicken regularly, the breeder can mix it with corns, barley, insects, shrimps, flesh, animal organs, worms, salt, bread, kitchen scraps, oyster, mussels, carrots, fish bones, soybean, turnips, pumpkins, broccoli, lettuce, a mixture of grain, greens, or wine residue that contains vitamin B. Depending on the age, the chicken will have a variety of methods in the source for chickens and snacks to chickens.
For example, a 1 to 2-months old chicken usually has the following source for chickens: 20% protein, 62% Grains, 15 Vegetable, 3% fish, 3% Pasture, 2% phosphorus and calcium, 1% salt, and 4%vitamins and minerals.
But for chickens between 2 and 5 months, protein percentage will drop to only 16%, and grains, fish, and pasture percentage increase by 1 to 2%.
In general, chickens can eat wheat but cannot just eat wheat or eat it for a long time because wheat does not have a sufficient percent of protein, gluten, vitamins, and minerals. Instead of just the wheat, consider our other options above. We hope this article gives you helpful experiences.