For many years, I only fed my chickens whole or cracked corn. I hoped they were getting all the nutrients needed from the bugs, seeds, fruit, and the surrounding pasture.
After a while, however, I noticed my chickens were hardly producing any eggs. Out of 14 hens, I was lucky if I got an egg a day!
I started to wonder if a little something extra in their diets would boost their productivity. Perhaps the corn just wasn’t enough?
That’s the main question we explore in this article. Is cracked corn good for chickens as a supplement, snack, or feed?
And, does it impact egg production?
Is Cracked Corn Good for Chickens?
Yes. Cracked corn is excellent for adult chickens. But – only as a snack! Cracked corn isn’t suitable for baby chicks – nor is it a reliable source of nutrition for your roosters and hens. Instead of consistently feeding cracked corn, we recommend purchasing chicken feeds with balanced nutrition for your adult flock.
Cracked corn isn’t all bad, though. Feeding your chickens cracked corn mixed with wheat before bedtime is a great way to keep them warm during winter. Scratch also helps keep your entire flock entertained, active, and happy. Having a full stomach during the cold winter nights always helps too!
We also recommend consulting with a trusted veterinarian or animal nutritionist to help find a suitable diet routine for your flock. Remember that all chickens, coops, and environments are different. At the very least – always carefully read the instructions of the chicken feed you use! Your happy chickens will thank you later.
Your chickens, ducks, birds, and rabbits will love this 50-pound bag of cracked corn. The cracked corn comes from a 7th generation family farm in Clear Spring, MD, USA. It's also non-GMO!
The Benefits of Feeding Cracked Corn to Chickens
When fed as a supplementary feed, cracked corn has many benefits.
Corn is a good energy source that’s high in carbohydrates. A kernel of corn contains roughly 62% starch, 19% fiber and protein, 15% water, and 4% oil. Starch is the primary energy source in poultry diets – and for a good reason!
Feeding chickens whole or cracked corn keeps them energetic and alert. And I’ve never found a hen who didn’t love cracked corn!
Cracked corn is also an affordable feed supplement, making it as tempting to the struggling homesteader as it is to their backyard chickens.
It’s also easy to distribute and can be thrown on the ground for the chickens to scratch through. As your flock scratches through the earth looking for cracked kernels, they will also swallow small pebbles and grit that help facilitate the digestive process.
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Is Cracked Corn Better than Whole Corn?
There are as many differing opinions on this subject as there are chickens. That’s 33 billion according to the last count!
(Seriously. There are 33 billion chickens in the world! Getting them to agree on which feed supplement tastes the best is tricky. But – we’re trying!)
Some people believe chickens find cracked corn simpler to digest than whole corn. Others say cracked corn loses some of its nutritional value during processing, and therefore whole corn is better.
Yet other chicken enthusiasts feel their hens struggle to accumulate enough grit to break down whole corn effectively.
At the end of the day? Corn is corn. And chickens love it regardless of how you serve it. No matter what humans say – your chooks will still love to eat it by the handful.
Don’t forget – you can also ferment or sprout corn kernels. That will increase the palatability and digestibility of the grains and make additional nutrients available.
Whether cracked corn or whole, the contents remain much the same. And when fed as part of a balanced diet, corn has its benefits.
Also, remember that all chickens – and coops are different. Your chickens may love some cracked corn feed supplement varieties – and dislike others.
The Cracks in a Cracked Corn Diet
The biggest issue with a corn-only diet is that it’s primarily starch. That means it lacks other essentials, including protein.
Corn has a protein content of around 10% and 15%, whereas chickens need between 18% and 24% protein, depending on their age.
One study found that a low-protein diet directly impacted egg production, feed efficiency, and egg weight. Also – chickens eating a high-energy diet containing only 11% protein produced small eggs more frequently.
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Cracked Corn for Chickens – FAQs
We know you raising a healthy and happy flock is a lot of work.
You may have also amassed quite the list of cracked corn for chicken questions.
So – we put a list of our top cracked corn for chickens FAQs below.
We hope these help!
Yes! Cracked corn gives your chickens energy and helps to keep them warm. It also gives their egg yolks a deeper yellow hue. As part of a balanced diet, it’s a good source of carbohydrates. Broadcasting cracked corn outside the coop also gives your chickens plenty of exercise and entertainment. For best results? Your flock’s primary diet should consist of commercial chicken feed to help guarantee the highest nutrition and productivity.
Corn is an energy concentrate but lacks the protein levels a chicken needs to maintain its health and productivity. While corn can help bulk up an underweight hen, as the sole source of nutrition, it may lack various fatty acids, protein, vitamins, and minerals that a chicken needs to maintain its health.
The jury’s still out on this one. Some argue that cracked corn loses some of its nutritional value during processing. Others claim that chickens struggle to digest whole corn. Chickens, on the other hand, love corn in any form. You can make corn more nutritional and digestible by fermenting or sprouting your corn kernels before serving.
Chicks can start eating cracked corn at the age of five or six weeks, although some consider this too early. At this age, the chickens may struggle to digest the corn. They’re not yet consuming the amount of grit needed to break it down. Follow the recommended feeding instructions for any commercial feed or chicken treat you buy to ensure that it’s safe for your entire flock.
This purple corn treat is non-GMO and comes from the USA. It contains no cholesterol, artificial flavors, trans fats, or MSG. It also makes a satisfying snack for adult chickens and ducks!
While corn’s calorie content means chickens bulk up quickly, it lacks other vital components, including fatty and amino acids, vitamins, and minerals!
If feeding a corn-only diet, you’ll need to add these elements into your chickens’ diet if you want them to develop and maximize productivity.
We would also love to hear about your experience regarding cracked corn and chickens.
Do your chickens love cracked corn as much as ours? Or – maybe your flock are picky eaters? We’ve seen chickens from both camps!
We thank you again for reading.
Please have an excellent day!
If there's one thing that chickens love more than cracked corn - it's mealworms! Scatter a handful of these mealworms in your yard, and watch the hungry hens come clucking - and scratching!