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When & Why To Feed Your Chickens Calf Manna

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As chicken keepers, we want to provide our flock with nutrition that will keep them healthy and laying lots of eggs! How and when to supplement chickens with additional vitamins and extra protein.

We’ve talked about supplementing our chicken’s diets for health benefits here before. We’ve gone over the benefits of apple cider vinegar, garlic and brewers yeast, and today we are dicussing adding Calf Manna to our backyard flock’s care regimen. Calf Manna offers many health benefits farm animals, and is an easy way to keep your backyard flock healthy and happy.

What is Calf Manna?

Calf Manna is a concentrated livestock supplement, that is typically used as a supplement to calves who have to be raised on a bottle by the farmer. Calf Manna is non-medicated and doesn’t contain any parasitic medications, antibiotics, or antifungal medications, and is safe to offer to laying hens and meat birds without a withholding period.

The protein, vitamins, and minerals found in Calf Manna offer a wide range of nutritional benefits to almost every type of farm animal, from horses, cattle, rabbits, and goats to poultry, pigs, and deer. But today we are talking about how Calf Manna can help support your chickens health.

Why Supplement Your Flock’s Feed With Calf Manna?

Most commericaly available chicken feeds are complete feed options, meaning all the vitamins, minerals and calories your birds need are contained in that one product. But there specific times when supplementation with additional products may benefit your flock.

So when should you consider feeding your chickens Calf Manna? Here are a few specific situations when yours chickens could use a bit of help, and adding Calf Manna to their diet is worthwhile.

To Provide a Nutritional Boost During Times of Stress

Introducing new chickens into the coop, predator attacks, and new environments can all be stressful situations for chickens.

I know, chicken stress sounds doesn’t sound like a big deal. But a flock of stressed chickens can have pretty severe consequences. Just like us, when under stress birds can begin to deplete their bodies reserves of nutrients in an attempt to restore balance and maintain health.

While you are working to eliminate the flock’s stressors, you can encourage stressed out chickens to stay on course nutritionally. Offering a supplement like Calf Manna can help birds to replenish their reserves, regain their health and wellbeing and reverse the effects of stress.

Give The Flock Extra Support During Extreme Weather

Here in Upstate New York our winters can be downright frigid and our summers hot and humid, these types of extreme weather can be difficult on chickens.

According to Poultry World, during the summer months increased mineral excretion is one of the major consequences of heat stress in poultry. I personally prefer vitamin supplements that can be offered in a waterer during the summer, but Calf Manna does include a broad range of vitamins that are useful to backyard poultry during periods of extreme heat, and the pelleted form may be easier for some chicken keeper than mixing vitamin powders in water.

During the winter months, chickens are unable to forage in the same way they do during the Spring, Summer and Autumn months, and the usual supply of high protein bugs, worms and frogs are eliminated from their diet. But your chickens need more protein in winter. They will expend a considerable amount of energy to stay warm, and will therefore, require more calories and protein. Because of this, it’s important to supplement your flock’s feed with quality, high-protein options from November to March.

To Provide Extra Protein When Chickens are Molting

If you’ve had a hen who has molted before you know it can take a lot out of her.

Molting is a process that all birds go through to shed worn or damaged feathers, and replace them with new plumage. Molting usually starts as autumn sets in to help provide a new set of feathers to keep the hen warm all winter. Molting is a normal and natural process, but is thought to be uncomfortable for the hen, and will require a tremendous amount of energy.

Feathers are made up of between 85% and 90% protein, so the chicken puts all its protein resources into feather-making for the duration. Egg-laying will slow down or stop and the hen can become seemingly moody or temperamental.

The elevated levels of protein as well as a mix of vitamins, minerals and amino acids in Calf Manna will help maintain your hens nutritional reserves, and develop strong and beautiful new feathers.

To Help Heal Chickens with Illness or Injuries

I initially bought my bag of Calf Manna after a fox attack on my flock. Last summer an emboldened fox did a number on my flock everytime my birds were allowed to free range. On his last visit to my yard, the fox did manage to grab a chicken by the tail before I scared it off. The chicken went into hiding for two days, but she did reemerge a little traumatized, and minus a tail. Since a large amount of feathers were ripped from the chicken I did some wound care, and decided to offer my poor hen extra protein to aid in her recovery by mixing the recommended amount of Calf Manna into her feed.

Calf Manna supplies high-quality protein that is essential for growth and repair of animals bodies and maintenance of good health. The amino acids in the protein help repair injuries by regenerating tissue and speeding up wound healing.

The same principle applies to sick birds. Generally speaking, protein needs are higher during periods of illness. Well cared for chickens are usually pretty healthy, although there are illnesses that can pop up that require care, along with the required treatment, add Calf Manna to help nurse your hen back to health.

Molting Buff Orpington Next to a bag of Calf Manna

How To Feed Calf Manna To Chickens

Remember that Calf Manna is a supplement, not a complete feed!

This supplement is made up of a whopping 25% protein. Chickens do not need a lot of high protein foods normally – in fact overfeeding protein can cause serious health issues.

Follow the guidelines on the bag of Calf Manna for supplementing your flocks feed during hard times. 1 tablespoon per day, per bird is what is recommended by Manna Pro. If you choose to mix it into your feed ration, Calf Manna should account for 5-10% of your flock’s daily ration. So, for example, if you have a feeder that holds 10 pounds of your regular feed you will want to mix in 8 ounces (5%) of Calf Manna.


As chicken keepers, we want to provide our flock with nutrition that will keep them healthy and laying lots of eggs! From time to time it is appropriate to supplement chickens with additional vitamins and extra protein, Calf Manna is a great option for those times when our feathered friends could use extra support.

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