Mash is just a type of feed. Feed can come in crumbles, pellets, or mash. Mash is just a really finely ground feed. (At least when it comes to chicken feed.)
Mashes can also refer to a kind of hot feed you make to give to horses, or chickens when they're sick, but that's another thing altogether.
Chickens generally do not need you to make them a mash, unless you are making it to enable you to give them something like herbs or probiotics. So as a general rule, no, you don't need to make a mash for your birds.
Make an herbal mash for sick chickens
to boost their immune systems.
What you'll need:
Oregon Grape powder or Goldenseal
Apple cider vinegar
Probiotic powder (acidophilus in a variety of forms)
I like to get my herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs, and
choose organic when I can.
This recipe is per bird, mix a batch according to how
many birds you are trying to feed, and increase as needed.
Make a hot mash with about half a cup of corn, oats (or
oatmeal), and/or barley or a mixture of the three. Add a
given amount of grains to cold water and cook according
to the type of grain used, as times will differ depending on
Cook the grains well, until they are soft and mushy. Let
cool, (not cold), then stir in the herbs and other
Use ½ Tsp of the herbs, 1 tablespoon of apple cider
vinegar, and 1 heaping tablespoon of Probiotic powder
The mixture may become stiff after adding the herbs, add
more warm water if you need to in order for the mash to
be mushy but not too soupy.
Feed the mixture to your birds once per day for three
days, then rest for one. Then three more, one off, as
needed (this is called "pulsing" the herbs.)
You can still eat the eggs while using the herbs, but be
aware they may give the eggs a slightly earthy taste.
This will boost your birds immune systems and help them
get over any viral diseases they might be struggling with.
If you wish, add in some hard boiled, mashed-in-the-shell
eggs, it's great for them!
Feed once per day for three days, then take a day off.
The way most of the commercial chicken feed we buy is made, they get all the ingredients and grind them up into a powder. That is called mash.
Sometimes they take the mash, get it wet, extrude it through little round holes, and dry it. It breaks off into what are called pellets.
Sometimes they take the pellets and sort of crush them a little. This is called crumbles. Nutrition-wise it’s all the same thing, just in different forms.
Why do they make all these different forms if there is no difference in nutrition you ask? Good question. The commercial operations use different machinery to feed their chickens automatically. Some of those machines can handle mash better. Some can handle crumbles better. Some can handle pellets better. There are some other considerations but the machinery to feed it automatically is a really big one.