Mak­ing the cor­rect feed choice

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QThere are two choices in layer feeds I un­der­stand, mash and pel­lets. What are the pros and cons of each?

AVic­to­ria says: All chicken feed goes ran­cid and toxic if it is damp. Feed al­ways used to be mash, a pow­dery mix­ture of all the ingredients, as it was the cheap­est way to make it. Once it was proven that some bac­te­rial con­tam­i­na­tion was re­moved by pel­let­ing the feed us­ing steam, the ma­jor­ity of feed is now pel­leted with dif­fer­ent sized screens pro­duc­ing vari­a­tions in pel­let size for the age and size of the chick­ens – broiler pel­lets are enor­mous, far too large for ban­tams to swal­low. Pel­lets look like feed when they are on the ground mean­ing lit­tle wastage. Mash is used by those who think their hens need to oc­cupy more time eat­ing. The down­side is that the ingredients can get lay­ered rather than thor­oughly dis­trib­uted and mash sticks to the beak of a hen who then drinks and de­posits some mash in the drinker, quickly mak­ing a ran­cid bac­te­rial soup.

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