When breeding hens for meat, many farmers look to speed up the rate of growth of the animal to improve production -- the faster the hen grows up, the faster they will reap the benefits. Adjustments to the birds’ diet will increase the rate of growth, such as by feeding them certain high-protein foods that will help them grow stronger. When attempting to grow a bird as fast as possible, you need to consider the overall well-being of the animal -- sometimes growing your hens too fast can result in pain for the animal.
Feed your hens a diet that consists of whole grains, instead of the typical ground grains found in most chicken feed. The nutrients found in whole grains last longer than those found in ground grain. The extra nutrients will stimulate growth.
Feed the animals treats alongside their usual diet. There are many treats you can feed hens that will not only enhance the quality of their life, but will also help fatten them up before harvest. Live crickets are an enjoyed snack that contain lots of protein to stimulate growth. Cheese can also be fed in moderation -- it is a bit fatty but is also high in protein and calcium.
Alter the hen’s diet based on their age. It is important to understand the different stages, and what you need to feed your hens depending on their age. From birth, feed them a starter feed that is small enough to accommodate their small beak size. Move the birds to a grower feed combination when they are large enough to pick up the pellets and, 25 days later, move them to a finisher feed before harvest.
Provide your birds with antibiotics that are mixed in with the animal feed. In 1950, it was discovered that low doses of antibiotics makes chickens grow faster. Always check with the FDA before administering any antibiotics to your livestock as some types are banned in various countries. The choice to feed birds and other livestock antibiotics is an ethical dilemma faced by many farmers, and you should thoroughly weight your options before choosing this route.