Alter rations for the show world
QI’m thinking of showing some of my chickens later in the year. Do I need to feed them differently to my laying flock?
AAndy Cawthray says: Feeding chickens that are used for showing is rather different to feeding those intended to produce eggs and meat. The objective revolves primarily around the look of the chicken and ensuring that its plumage is as good as it can possibly be.
There is a variety of exhibition feed rations available from manufacturers. However, most experienced and successful exhibitors will have their own concoctions, the precise ingredients of which will be a closely guarded secret. Being placed at a show is, after all, as much about the exhibitor’s ability to get the chicken looking its best for show day as it is about the chicken performing and being selected.
A few of the better known tricks of the trade are increasing corn intake to reduce laying, improve feather quality and add weight; using sunflower and linseed to increase the bloom of the plumage and enhance natural oil production in the preen gland; and avoiding the use of yellow corn on white plumaged birds as its pigment can give the plumage a hue.
Feeding chickens that are used for showing is rather different to feeding those intended to produce eggs and meat