Can Chickens Eat Cracked Corn

Chickens have historically eaten cracked corn as part of their diet. It’s cheap and easy to find and Non-GMO, but there are questions over whether cracked corn is good for hens. Like any other domesticated animal, Chickens require a well-balanced diet of proteins, carbs, and vitamins.

When you look at what cracked corn offers, you’ll notice that it lacks many benefits of nutrients chickens require to keep healthy. Chicken behavior and the quality of the eggs your hens lay can be influenced by nutrition.

Cracked corn for chickens is beneficial to adult chickens when adequately balanced with other nutrients. However, it’s not intended to be a chicken’s primary source of vitamins and minerals when feeding chickens in winter. In our guide, you can learn more about the answer do chickens eat corn and what it does do to their diet.

Feeding Chickens with Cracked Corn

By the end, you’ll know enough about how to use chicken corn feed to keep chickens happy without lowering their protein levels and affecting the eggs they lay. (Read Can Chickens Eat Mango)

What Is Whole Corn?

Whole corn is unprocessed corn that hasn’t been altered in any way.

So, think of corn on the cob, corn in tins, frozen corn, or any other whole corn that still has an outer shell or hull.

A cheap and nutritious diet, whole corn is one of the most commonly fed animals. But unfortunately, many animals cannot digest components of corn, namely the hull.

It is easier to digest, so most farmers and pet animals feed cracked corn to their cattle and poultry.

What Is Cracked Corn?

Cracked corn is, as the name implies, cracked corn. More particularly, dried and broken corn kernels. A healthy, long-lasting snack meal for birds and animals is created.

It is a favorite food for smaller birds such as baby chicks because it’s easy to peck at and eat from feeders.

There is a lot of information that shows cracked corn is easier on the digestive system of animals, although the short answer is that the nutritional value of cracked corn on a chicken’s diet is less than whole corn. That makes sense as it’s processed.

Cracked Corn vs. Whole Corn for Chickens

To give chickens the most nutrient value out of cracked corn and whole corn, use whole corn.

When feeding corn to hens, offer them something to scratch and forage for on the ground.

This is a natural habit for hens, and they will do it whether or not they locate food. So it’s always satisfying to see them find corn.

Keep the ‘90/10 rule’ when feeding chickens. Chicken owners’ common rule is that 90% of a chicken’s diet should be commercial feed.

While 10% can be table scraps, snacks, and foods like corn to give diversity to their diet, they still keep a proper nutritional balance. (Read Can Chickens Eat Papaya)

Should You Feed Chickens Cracked Corn?

Cracked corn is a great all-day treat for your hens; although with chickens, corn type will be chickens prefer whole corn rather than cracked corn.

Free-ranging hens require a lot of energy to roam around. Cracked corn is abundant in carbs but low in protein and minerals. So give your free-range chickens simply a small amount of crack corn to treat your hungry hens.

The times you see chickens eating, soil, and bugs provide many of the hens’ requirements. Chickens will also eat plants and any chicken feed you give them, so give them plenty of leafy greens to ensure they’re receiving more than just cracked corn to keep up the nutritional value of their diet.

What Happens If Chickens Eat Too Much Corn

Birds that will be laying eggs require more protein than other chickens. Therefore, a diet with cracked corn as the sole source of nutrition will deplete the hens’ protein stores.

Not only will egg production decrease, but protein-deficient hens will begin pulling at each other’s feathers.

Providing adequate protein and cracked corn for chickens can prevent this before it becomes a problem. As long as it’s done correctly, feeding cracked corn to chickens is an economical and convenient food source for hens.

Consider applying these tactics when feeding chickens corn to avoid some concerns.

Scratch Feeding Chicken

Cracked Corn for Scratch Feed

Scratch feed causes chickens to scratch. As a general rule, if you scatter corn throughout the yard, the hens will dig it up. Scratch feed is both an exercise and a snack.

Scratching is also beneficial as it helps chickens digest their meal; hens swallow grit, which comprises small pebbles and stones. Grit is essential for chicks, as they need it to digest their food.

If your hens get little free-range time, give them more grit. You may find protein-rich natural foods online or in livestock and agricultural supply stores. Many chicken keepers suggest crushed oyster shells, though others reckon they are too soft to be of use.

Crushed gravel is a natural resource that is found in most soils. If your chickens are in a barren region, you may need to import some dirt or grit as a ground cover before laying the scratch feed.

Reasons Not To Feed Your Chickens Cracked Corn As Chicken Feed

The question, “Is cracked corn good for chickens?” has no clear solution. The answer is both yes and no.

Cracked corn is a healthy treat for hens when fed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. High-protein treats, such as dried Mealworms, are better, but cracked corn as a treat is small in moderation. (Read Can Chickens Eat Split Peas)

However, any site that claims you can feed your chickens cracked corn is incorrect. Cracked corn is not an integral portion of a chicken’s diet, and it does not contain all of the nutrients required for growth.

According to some chicken keepers, cracked corn should be the principal food source for your hens as it helps improve egg yolks and egg production. In contrast, chickens’ diets may have included cracked corn and foraging in the past.

Backyard chickens could survive on that diet, but they would not flourish on it, so it is best to give a little cracked corn an occasional treat.
You should never feed cracked corn exclusively, or even primarily, because:

  • Cracked corn for chickens lacks the proper quantities of nutrients required by hens.
  • Protein is a critical component for laying hens, and cracked corn is poor.
  • Modern chicken breeds have grown to consume a balanced diet comprising a complete feed.
  • A chicken would only lay a few eggs per week on a cracked corn diet.
  • Backyard hens live longer than traditional chickens and require a well-balanced diet to be productive and healthy.

Is Cracked Corn Good for Chickens?

A laying hen’s diet should contain at least 16 percent protein for optimal productivity and health. Calcium, omega 3 fatty acids, and various vitamins and minerals are essential.

Cracked corn has an average protein content of 9.5 percent, making too much-cracked corn bad as it can’t meet the dietary requirements of a laying chickens diet. It also has poor calcium and omega-3 fatty acid content.

Only a few vitamins, minerals, and elements that chickens require are found in cracked corn.

The high carbohydrate content of cracked corn can promote obesity and other health concerns in hens.

When is cracked corn good for chickens?

Chickens enjoy cracked corn as a treat. It’s ideal for the winter months because it’s strong in carbs. (Read Spiritual Meaning Of A Double Yolk Egg)

Cracked corn, like all sweets, should be consumed in moderation. Give your birds no more than they can consume in 10-20 minutes.

A handful of cracked corn strewn throughout the run can help to encourage foraging activity.

Can Chickens Eat Cracked Corn

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