Winter is the perfect time to add corn to your flocks diet.
Cracked corn is an important part of a chicken’s diet but should be consumed in moderation or as a treat. Because it is high in calories, corn is best for your flock in Autumn and Winter and helps keep the hens warm.
Chickens have a unique digestive system. Even though they don’t have teeth to crush their food into tiny pieces, many parts of their digestive tract are built to do food breakdown.
In fact, they have the gizzard — an organ that basically serves as the machine that further breaks down particles into tiny pieces.
Cracked or sliced corn is often used by chicken owners to help make their bird’s egg yolks richer in colour and taste. Cryptoxanthin is a colour pigment present in corn that helps give egg yolks a yellow colour.
Corn tends to be lower in protein but a higher energy source than other grains. It is cracked or ground to improve digestion.
Cracked corn: A split or cracked maize bulk product added to chickens’ scratch which can contribute up to 10% of the diet.
Fresh corn: Absolutely, if you give your flock an ear of corn on the cob, they are going to be more than happy. It’s fun to watch them strip a cob and eat it by pecking away. Raw or cooked is fine.
Tinned sweetcorn: Salt is added to tinned sweetcorn, which can be problematic for chickens. When feeding to chickens, limit to a teaspoon per chicken twice a week.
Popcorn: Chickens can have popcorn, both raw and cooked. However, avoid giving chickens buttery, sweet or salty popcorn.
Frozen sweetcorn: Use frozen corn as a summer treat to help cool your flock down.
Creamed corn: Creamed corn can be fed to chickens however it contains salt and is both high in carbohydrates and low in protein. Creamed corn is also higher in fibre which can cause digestive problems in chickens.
Corn chips or tortilla: Tortillas and corn chips are fine in small quantities if unsalted and unflavoured.