Hemp Seed as a Supplement
The rule of thumb is starter crumbles or pellets until the first egg. Young birds are often uninterested in table scraps, but there are a few other nutritious feed sources they will eat… and actually like. After the first 3 weeks it’s just fine to introduce a bit of grass, this is a good way to keep chicks busy, especially if they are beginning to peck each other. Just make sure to sprinkle grit around to help with digestion.
At about 4 months old, I introduce hemp seed and rolled oats just to add a little extra nutrients to my young pullets diet. For no particular reason other than they like chicken scratch, I add that too. I don’t recommend adding this mix to their starter feed, they will only make a mess trying to pick out all the good stuff. I always feed supplements and treats in a separate hanging feeder.
Liquid supplements mixed in their feed is certainly a plus, and I do use them for my Silkies, but they definitely like hemp seed better and it’s a great source of protein containing a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. However, it should be feed sparingly because of the high fat content.
As a feeding guideline, I feed four young pullets hemp seed, rolled oats, and scratch in these amounts…
2 heaping tablespoons of rolled oats per day
2 heaping tablespoons of scratch per day
2 tablespoons of hemp seed every other day.
Hemp Seed is usually sold by the pound at feed stores that sell lose bulk feed, rolled oats too!
My pullets are now 7 months old and laying daily. This is the only flock I’ve supplemented with hemp seed and the first time I’ve had flawless perfect first eggs.