Free Range Backyard Layer Range

Feeding backyard layers?

Avigrain is here to help with a range of feeds to suit different conditions.

Grain supplemented by household scraps and pasture foraging is the traditional diet and this style of feeding remains a great option, especially as it encourages optimal gut- health. While birds love grain is critical to understand that grains alone are deficient in vitamin and minerals so a grain-based diet must be supplemented to ensure good health and production. Access to green feeds and pasture is often sufficient.

Avigrain Pro Grain and Scratch Mix are supplemented complete grain based feeds.

Mixed Grain and All Grain are high energy mixes which must be supplemented.

For more info click here for our Product PDF   Avigrain Layer Range

Manufactured feeds in the form of pellets, crumbles or mash are used in commercial poultry production. A complete and balanced ration is provided in a controlled environment with the aim of maximising egg or meat production at the lowest cost. These rations typically include medicines, vitamin and minerals and RAM based protein supplements to ensure health and nutrition is balanced and complete.

Some disadvantages with manufactured feeds are that the gizzard does not have to work to grind the feed leading to the risk of gut health issues. In a free range backyard situation manufactured feeds deteriorate and are less palatable and appetising than whole grains.

Q. What is RAM?
A. Restricted Animal Materials are any material taken from a vertebrate animal other than tallow, gelatin, milk products or oils. It includes rendered products such as blood meal, meat meal, meat and bone meal, fish meal, poultry meal, feather meal, and compounded feeds made from these products.

Many manufactured poultry feeds contain restricted animal materials in order to provide cheap protein. These feeds cannot be fed to ruminants due to the risk of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, often called ‘mad cow disease’) a disease of cattle that causes brain changes and death. Small holders with poultry and ruminants must take care to keep feeds separate if using products with RAM.

Avigrain feeds do not contain RAM

People keeping poultry at home can choose between manufactured or natural grain based feeds. A good manufactured feed will provide a complete diet so it is simple and easy but bland for the birds who generally far prefer grain. A supplemented grain based diet for free range backyard birds will provide the energy and protein the birds need plus encourage natural foraging which will provide the birds with vitamins, minerals.

With access to fresh water, pasture, household scraps, calcium grits and a safe, clean roost, these birds will lay well – as they have done for thousands of years.

As with birdseed our philosophy is that a varied balanced diet provided by well informed fanciers will lead to happy hens and lots of eggs.

Avigrain layer feeds cater for all these feeding options so you can choose which product best fits your circumstances.

Nutrition

A balanced poultry ration must include

Water. Clean, cool water is vital for layers well-being and survival.
Protein is essential for growth, reproduction and maintenance. Requirements vary depending on stage of life. For example growing chicks or moulting birds require more protein. Layers require about 15% protein in a balanced diet. Avigrain uses plant based proteins such as peas and lupins and does not use restricted animal materials.
Energy provides the body’s fuel through carbohydrates and fats. Along with cereal grains Avigrain uses a wide variety of oilseeds to provide fats and oils.
Vitamins and Minerals are essential in small amounts to maintain bodily function. Calcium is provided through soluble limestone chips and methionine in canola. Free range birds with access to pasture will naturally pick up adequate V&M. Layers in other environments will require supplements using grain based feeds.
Breakdown of the grains used in Avigrain poultry feeds:-
Wheat, Corn, Sorghum, Millets – the cheapest energy grains – high in carbs but lower in protein than layers require.
Lupins, Peas – legumes high in plant proteins.
Canola, Safflower, Black and Grey Sunflower – oilseeds the birds love to eat plus high in fats and protein – low in carbohydrate. Canola is a source of methionine.
15% free range layer pellets contain vitamin and mineral premix, yolk colorant, do not contain antibiotics, growth promotant, hormones, RAM or urea.
Hi Protein Layer Crumble contains vitamin and mineral premix and a natural herbal coccidostat (Regano) which is ideal for mixed aged flocks as there is no withholding period.
Soluble Grits – all our grain mixes have calcium carbonate or limestone chips which provide calcium for good shell structure.
Insoluble grits – grain mixes require grinding grits for digestion of whole or cracked grain in the gizzard. We use an insoluble shell grit plus birds will naturally pick our small stones while foraging.